Nigeria’s southern state of Bayelsa has invited Chinese investment in agriculture to assist the state’s development plan.
In a statement issued on Monday after a weekend meeting in Abuja with Cui Jianchun, the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, the Governor of the Bayelsa state Douye Diri said the state had already identified agriculture as the main sector within which it will achieve sustainable development and growth.
“We have already identified four areas to substantially invest in, which are fishing farming, rice, cassava, and plantain cultivation,” he said.
The governor said China has recorded robust successes in the economy as well as in poverty eradication and promised to partner with developing countries including Nigeria through platforms like the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) to help reduce poverty.
“Bayelsa is the right destination for such intervention,” he said, adding Bayelsa offers a “considerable window to the world. It will be a spectacular platform to showcase the BRI.”
He said with the requisite legal framework in place and human resources, the state was ready to welcome Chinese investors and industry experts for the collaborative development.
At the meeting, the Chinese ambassador said China and Nigeria had a lot in common, pointing out that 12 years ago, China had more than 87 million people living below the poverty line but that by February this year, they had all crossed that line.
While presenting a bilateral cooperation strategy document between China and Nigeria to Diri, Cui said that if China, with its large population, could overcome poverty, so could Nigeria, if the right policies were adopted.
“We can look at the possibility of Chinese investors and companies partnering with the Bayelsa state government,” the Chinese envoy said, adding “there are several areas of partnership we can explore.”
The Nigerian federal government has in the past, targeted agriculture as an area of priority in its strategy to diversify the country’s oil-dependent economy and alleviate poverty.