By Felix Onuah
ABUJA (Reuters) – China’s President Xi Jinping pledged on Thursday for his country to increase investments in Nigeria’s power generation sector and its digital economy, the Nigerian vice president’s office said in the wake of a Belt And Road Initiative forum in Beijing.
Nigeria’s National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and three Chinese partners signed contracts for new projects valued at $2 billion, Vice President Kashim Shettima’s office said.
It added that another $4 billion worth of letters of intent was received for new projects and investments in different sectors of the economy.
Nigeria is seeking to attract investments to boost sluggish growth in Africa’s biggest economy, which is saddled with mounting debt, high inflation and unemployment.
The agreements signed include vehicle assembly projects, solar products, vehicle design and production, drone technology transfer, clean energy utilisation and the development of an industrial park.
Nigeria also signed contracts with China Harbour Engineering Company for the construction of the Lekki Blue Seaport in Lagos.
Shettima met Xi, who asked for the protection of Chinese workers in Nigeria, according to the vice president’s office.
China had committed to rail projects in Nigeria in the past and to a seaport in Bonny Island in the Niger Delta. But the projects are still waiting for loan disbursements after securing approvals from China Exim Bank and Nigeria’s parliament.
At the Belt And Road Initiative Forum, China also committed to refinancing the completion of two rail projects that stalled due to a cut in China’s funding commitments. China had earlier agreed to provide 85% of the financing for the rail projects.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Jamie Freed)