Nigeria’s Information Minister, Labaran Maku has called for greater cooperation in information and cultural exchange between Nigeria and China to further deepen the bilateral ties between the two countries.
The Minister made the call in Abuja when he received the Vice-Minister of Information of the Peoples Republic of China, Li Wufeng on a courtesy visit.
Labaran Maku traced the relationship between Nigeria and China back to 1971; saying inter-personal contact, exchange of knowledge and free flow of information would solidify the bilateral ties.
According to him, the Ministry of Information in Nigeria will be looking forward to greater cooperation as they travel back home, so that the partners would build up the relationship and have a lot more of Chinese programmes in Nigeria. He added that the country is already benefiting through the ‘Star Times’ initiative, but there is need for more of Nigerian programmes to feature on Chinese television and radio stations. This, he explained will help the people of the two countries to understand each other.
Maku stated that already the StarTimes of China is partnering with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on digitisation and satellite broadcasting in more than 18 cities across the country. He urged the people of China to take advantage of the ongoing reforms, which have opened up the Nigerian economy for investment in different critical sectors.
The Minister told the Chinese delegation that President Goodluck Jonathan is modernising the Nigerian economy through such systematic policies that have changed the nation’s deficits and challenges into opportunities for investment.
He expressed delight that Chinese investors have availed themselves of the economic opportunities in Nigeria and are now investing in the power, railways and other sectors of the economy. Adding, the sound economic relations have increased the volume of trade between the two countries from about $2 billion in the last ten years to about $12 billion per annum presently.
He was hopeful that in the next ten years, China would overtake most of Nigeria’s traditional trading partners because of the interest and confidence China has in the Nigerian economy.
Speaking earlier, the Vice-Minister of Information of the Federal Republic of China, Li Wufeng called on the Federal Ministry of Information to promote mutual understanding between the citizens of the two countries as a deliberate way of strengthening their economic and cultural relations.
He announced that his ministry has recently unveiled a project captioned: “Experience China in Nigeria,” and equally donated a China Gallery to the National Library of Nigeria so as to promote Chinese culture in the country.
Li Wufeng stated that the Chinese Ministry of Culture has also launched a cultural centre in Abuja. Whilst giving gratitude for cooperation on the cultural projects, he expressed hope that its activities would meet the expectations of the citizens of both countries.