It was also learnt that by the end of last year, China’s non-financial direct investment to Nigeria was $1.55 billion.
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Gu Xiaojie who spoke at the symposium of “China/Nigeria Diplomatic Relations at 45: Possibilities, Prosepct and Challenges” in Abuja at the weekend, said the trade volume between China and Nigeia almost doubled in the past few years.
The trade volume however is in favour of China, a development that has been a source of concern to the Federal Government.
“In the trade area, the trade volume between China and Nigeria almost doubled in the past few years. In 2015, our two countries were affected by the sluggish world economy, with trade volume between them last year standing at $14.94 billion, 17.2 per cent less than that of 2014.
“However, Nigeria remains the largest market for Chinese contracted projects and the second largest market for Chinese contracted projects and the second largest market for Chinese exports and the third largest trading partner in Africa.
“Nigeria is also a major destination for Chinese out-bound capital. By the end of 2015, China’s non-financial direct investment to Nigeria is $1.55 billion, 17.6 per cent more than that of 2014,” the envoy said.
He also said in the area of people-to-people communication and cultural exchange, China has established two confucius institutes and four Chinese language centres in Nigeria.
China, the envoy said currently issues about 100 government scholarships, while another 400 Nigerian students funded by their family study in China.
While stating that China-Nigeria cooperation has span 45 years, it has greatly benefited the two sides. Ambassador Xiaojie said the relations will see more opportunities than challenges in the coming years.
In his key note address, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama said China/Nigeria bilateral relations have moved from political engagement to intense economic penetration with trade imbalance in favour of China.
The minister expressed concern about the imbalance and therefore called for efforts to correct the imbalance.
Represented by the Director in charge of Asia and Pacific Division, Mr. Ben Okoya, he also said Nigeria is not only in dire need of adequate infrastructure to improve investment climate, but also capacity to do quality work at a fast rate.
He said: “Nigerians are concerned about the excessive trade imbalance in favour of China at the moment.