© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Now, every Nigerian owes China over N15,000
By Theophilus Abbah
Every Nigerian owes China about N15,000 at the moment in goodwill and in debt, considering the quantum of Chinese aid for development, welfare and loans in the last few years.
As at 2014, Nigeria was the sixth country on the list of third world countries that had received aid from China. It received the sum of $3.1 billion. This amounts to N1.1 trillion. In the last three years, the country had received $6 billion for infrastructure, which amounts to N2 trillion. The combined figures is put at about N3 trillion, and when divided by 198 million, considered to be the country’s population at the moment, every Nigerian owes China about N15,000.00.
The above figure does not include the loan agreement signed this week between Nigeria and China at the Forum on China-Africa 2018 in Beijing where China pledged to give $60 billion facilities to African countries, a quarter of which would be interest-free.
Government officials defend this indebtedness to China as a good strategy to have an edge over the United States and the United Kingdom in Africa trade.
‘China is being smart’
For instance, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, speaking at the meeting in Beijing, praised China’s strategy, claiming that: “They are active in Liberia, Ghana, Angola. They are throwing money where their mouth is and in very many respect is one area where they have beaten both the US, European and British in things like this,” he told Bloomberg. “Africa requires a lot of development funds; China is able to provide it. Not just provide in terms of money but provide with adequate technology.”
However, the implication of this grant is that Africa may not be able to resist China in terms of trade and even in the international politics.
‘It’s a bargaining chip in corrupt Africa ‘
A United States lawmaker, Rep Chris Smith, Chairman of the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa said in a recent opinion article that “China also uses foreign aid as a bargaining chip in corrupt African countries with plenty of natural resources for them to exploit. AidData, a research laboratory at the College of William and Mary, argued in written testimony submitted to my committee that China effectively buys the votes of African governments at the United Nations; they concluded that if African countries voted with China at the UN an extra 10 per cent of the time, they would receive an 86 per cent bump in assistance.”
Nigeria has reserves in Yaun
Nigeria has accepted the Chinese Yaun as a reserve currency, which will begin to compete with the US dollar.
The US lawmaker lamented that the Chinese in-road into Africa could be dangerous, arguing that “All of these trends—rising levels of debt, shoddy infrastructure projects, and investment that permits human rights abusers to consolidate their influence and power—point to serious risks for the future of the African continent.”