China committed to deepening cultural, economic collaboration with Nigeria — Envoy

Ifedayo Ogunyemi

Nigeria and China flags. Getty Images Image used for illustrative purpose.

The People’s Republic of China has assured the Federal Government of Nigeria of its commitment towards deepening cultural and economic collaboration between the two countries.

The Consul-General of the Chinese Consulate in Lagos, Ms Yan Yuqing, disclosed this when she launched the free Chinese Online Classroom Project at the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ) in Igbesa, Ogun State.

While explaining that the project was in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Education, Yuqing said the Free Trade Zone Online Chinese Classroom was a significant milestone in the cultural and economic collaboration between Nigeria and China.

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The initiative, she said, aligns with President Xi Jinping’s African development support, which “seeks to cultivate Chinese-speaking talents, bolster local economies and foster mutual understanding.”

She said: “The online class aims to foster cultural exchange and strengthen Nigeria-China relations by offering Mandarin Chinese learning opportunities to tertiary students and interested individuals. With a focus on technology transfer, career enhancement, and global preparedness, the project signifies OGFTZ’s commitment to facilitating a positive environment for Nigerian and Chinese businesses.”

The hybrid event was attended by chairman of Chinese Plus, Madame Wang Jinhong; Ogun State Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Professor Abayomi Arigbabu; President of Yunnan Agricultural University, Prof Li Yonghe, who was represented by Prof Wei Hongjiang; CEO of Guangdong New South Overseas Investment Holdings Co., Ltd, Mr Deng Yu; Vice President of China Glass Holdings Co. Ltd, Mr Cai Guo and General Manager of Senda Group Nigeria Branch, Mr Song Bin.

Chairman of Chinese Plus, Madame Jinhong, who emphasised the initiative’s goal of making Chinese learning accessible worldwide through online courses and live broadcasts, said the collaboration with Yunnan Agricultural University promises to cultivate proficient language speakers that will be equipped with vocational skills while bridging cultures and creating opportunities for cooperation.

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy General Manager of China-Africa Investment FZC, Kevin Liu, stressed that the key component of the programme is to equip university undergraduates as well as widen their chances in skill acquisition and economic empowerment.

He added that apart from the involvement of the academy environment, the locals who are interested in learning the Chinese language will also benefit from the programme.

He said: “We are very confident that the project will be successful and what we want is that the whole of Africa and Nigeria will benefit from it all.”

One of the project coordinators, Madame Wang, explained that the project will bridge the gap that existed between the workers and the experts, adding that the aim is to transfer knowledge to the workers through learning the language.

She said, “We want to improve the technical skills of the workers, we want to be more localised. There is a gap between the knowledge and vocational skills, our target is to bridge the gap.”

She disclosed that the organisers of the class are also looking for avenues to develop a curriculum with the higher institutions in the state, revealing that over 600 persons have registered for both physical and online classes.

In his remarks, Arigbabu, the Ogun commissioner assured the Chinese of the state government support, saying the government is ready to accommodate the teaching of Chinese in its curriculum to improve knowledge as well as better opportunities and empowerment.

One of the students, Tongnyan David, appreciated the Chinese government for organising the free Chinese online class.

“I am happy to be part of this project. It will help me to speak and learn the language which will enhance my skills and technical know-how of the machines as well as earn big pay,” he said.

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