President Muhammadu Buhari will today leave Nigeria for South Africa to participate in the Forum on China/Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg. He is expected to ask China’s President Xi Jinping to fund rail and power projects urgently needed to diversify an economy hit hard by a plunge in oil prices.
The meeting would be a continuation of his interaction with Jinping which began in New York during the last General Assembly of the United Nations, UN.
A statement by the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, stated that during the meeting in New York, President Buhari had indicated to Xi Jinping that “he wanted China to re-commence stalled rail projects under new terms that would see China providing nearly all the financing required.”
The President would be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; Minister of Transportation, Chubuike Amaechi; and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah to the forum which would commence on December 4 and end on December 5.
The statement added that “of particular interest is the coastal railway project stretching for 1402 kilometres linking Lagos in the West with Calabar in the East; a project that is expected to be financed with 12 billion U.S Dollars Chinese loan and which will create about 200,000 jobs.”
Another rail project that will be up for renegotiation is the $8.3bn Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernization project, of which only a segment, Kaduna-Abuja has reached completion stage.