From 9:00am local time today, the long awaited 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will open in the country’s capital city Beijing and from every corner of the world, the 2,287 delegates of the 89 million-plus members of the world’s largest party will be the cynosure of attention.
The past five years, since the 18th national congress of the party that saw the election of Xi Jinping as the General Secretary of the party and subsequently, as the President of the country, has been quite momentous and within those five years, the party has recovered its essence and refocused itself completely with uncommon sacrifice and commitment to serve the Chinese people.
President Xi Jinping’s strong leadership has taken the party and the country through the most difficult and challenging period. It has not only assuaged concerns about major issues in the party and the country in general, but has also chalked up unprecedented achievements that have affected profoundly not only the Chinese people but the rest of the world.
In the past five years, China has created more than 13 million new urban jobs annually. New jobs created in the last eight months of the year 2017 stand at 9.74 million. According to the figures of the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics released last week, the number of rural residents working in cities rose at annual rate of 1.8 percent between 2013 and 2016. Similarly, China’s 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 11.2 trillion dollars accounted for 14.8 percent of the world economy, up from 3.4 percentage points from 2012.
As a key driver of the world economy, China’s average contribution to global growth from 2013 to 2016 was about 30 percent, the largest among all countries and higher than the total contribution from the United States, the Euro zone and Japan.
This is no mean feat and we salute the tenacity of President Xi Jinping and the central committee of the Communist Party of China, whose deep vision and hard work brought unprecedented prosperity to Chinese people and also made remarkable contributions to the world.
The brotherly and friendly cooperation between China and Africa has seen a great leap forward since the past five years.
President Xi Jinping has injected uncommon vigour to the cooperation and relations between China and Africa. His remarkable speech in Dar es-salaam, Tanzania, where he flew straight from Moscow, Russia, on his very first tour after election as President in 2013, had set a broad tone and raised the bar of the China-Africa cooperation. In 2015, at the historic second summit of the heads of State and government of the Forum on China-Africa cooperation (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg, South-Africa, he outlined ten cooperation plans, which included China’s massive support for infrastructure construction, industrialization and agricultural modernization among others in Africa. He backed the cooperation plans with 60 billion U.S dollars of funding support.
Since the Johannesburg summit, Africa is gleaming with brand new heavy infrastructures which include among others, the first electrified railway in the continent, the Djibouti-Ethiopia’s more than 8,000 kilometers railway which has cut traveling time between the two East African nations from 11 days to about 14 hours. More importantly, it afforded the fast-industrializing but land-locked Ethiopia access to the Djibouti port.
Here in Nigeria, the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power project undertaken by CNEEC-SINOHYDRO Consortium with a contract amount of 1.29 billion USD, is financed with the “concessional loans and preferential export buyer’s credit” of the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim). The installed capacity of the station is 700MW. The total reservoir is of a capacity of 11.4 billion cubic meters. Zungeru Hydro-power station is the largest hydro power station under construction in Nigeria, and it is designed to have multiple functions, including power generation, flood control, irrigation, aquaculture and shipping.
Additionally, the Lekki Free Zone and Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone, which is boosting industrialization in Nigeria, has taken off smoothly. With a planned area of 30 square km, located in Lekki Peninsula to the south-east of Lagos State, Nigeria LFZ was launched following the execution of a tripartite agreement in early 2006 with China-Africa Lekki Investment Ltd. As of April 2017, the zone has invested nearly 200 million USD for infrastructure constructions. Supporting facilities have been increasingly promoted, which attracted and still attracts a lot of production, trade and logistics enterprises to invest in LFZ. At present, there are 116 enterprise registered in LFZ, and the planned investment amount to 1.41 billion USD. Among them, 50 enterprises have formerly signed investment agreement and put into operation, and actually completed 168 million USD investments, and the accumulated total output reaches over 110 million USD.
Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone, which is invested and managed by the Ogun State government and the Guangdong New South Group, is a modern industry zone which is in Ogun state. It covers an area of 100 square kilometers and the startup area for phase 1 is 2.5 square kilometers. The infrastructure construction of the park is progressing smoothly and the supporting facilities are being improved. At present, there are more than 30 enterprises in the zone, and the total investment has reached 61.5 million USD since December 2015.
It is against these backgrounds that the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is of utmost concern for Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world, and given that the outcome of the congress will further consolidate the role of the government and the party in creating prosperity for the Chinese people and opening up windows of strategic partnership with the rest of the world, we wish the congress a complete success.