China to invest in new Nigerian port

China to invest in new Nigerian port
Xi Jinping pledged to invest US$60bn in Africa. Credit :Global Panorama

China will build a new port on the Benin River in Nigeria as part of the US$60bn investment into Africa announced at the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Nigeria’s Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki signed an agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company’s (CHEC) vice president Li Yi in a signing ceremony held at the Nigerian Embassy in Beijing, China.

Obaseki told Nigeria’s Ships and Ports publication that “this opportunity is going to rapidly help in diversifying the economy of Nigeria.”

The new facility could provide opportunities to export agricultural products like palm oil, rubber, cassava and fruit, all of which are produced in Edo State.

“There are companies operating in the state and are seeking to export their products,” Obaseki said. “The port will provide opportunity not only to export agricultural produce but also some of the products that are now being manufactured in our area.”

CHEC is also involved in the construction of the Lekki deepwater port in Nigeria and Obaseki expects that up to 30% of cargo that is meant for Lekki could go to Benin Port instead. The two ports will also help ease congestion in Lagos.

Obaseki also believes that once the port is built it will attract other industries to Edo State.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the FOCAC Summit eight major initiatives with African countries in the next three years that will cover fields such as industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation and green development.

The US$60bn President Xi pledged includes $15bn in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, US$20bn in credit lines, a US$10bn special fund for development financing and a US$5bn special fund for financing imports from Africa.