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尼日利亚是中尼贸易的最大受益者--尼国际事务专家Dr Olalekan Babatunde访谈实录(中英文)
发表时间:2022-10-27     阅读次数:     字体:【
9月19日上午,尼中总商会公共关系办公室第八届媒体沙龙在尼日利亚和平与冲突研究所国际事务专家Dr Olalekan Babatunde办公室举行。本次沙龙主要针对近期当地媒体刊发的涉华不实报道进行回应,并以反映客观事实为目的,通过尼方资深国际问题专家的深度访谈,试图梳理出中国对尼投资的利与弊,彰显中尼经贸往来与双边友谊的重要性。
Dr Olalekan就尼日利亚投资政策,中尼建交51年,中国在非基建的重要性,中国公司对尼技术支持及人员培训,中国对尼投资的最终获益者,继续探索深化投资合作,双边关系未来展望等方面接受了NigeriaToday专访。
访谈中,Dr Olalekan多次表示,中尼经贸合作是双赢、互惠互利的合作,中尼贸易最大的受益者始终是尼日利亚。从研究国际关系尤其是研究中尼关系十多年的切身实践出发,Dr Olalekan对中国投资非洲,援助非洲表示由衷的感谢并期待更多的深化合作。
谈到近日某媒体就“中国在尼投资是对新兴市场的新殖民主义”时,Dr Olalekan表示:“每个国家都有自己的外交政策。但一个国家不能单独发展,国际合作是必须的。由于中国在非洲和尼日利亚的庞大投资额度,人们自然会想诽谤。但我们必须回顾过去,正视历史。在过去的 50 年里,与中国的贸易关系把我们带到了哪里?例如,2022 年 6 月,我们看到 G7 发起 PGII(全球基础设施和投资伙伴关系),并计划筹备 6000 亿美元在低收入国家与中国的“一带一路”展开竞争。你可以看到中国“一带一路”是有意义的,这就是它被竞争的原因。值得注意的是G7 去年制定了重建更美好世界的计划,但没有取得任何实质进展。我们可以看到,中国正走在正确的道路上。所以我希望看到两国在未来更加团结,更加强大。”
同时,Dr Olalekan表示中国在尼日利亚的存在不是为了经济剥削,而是为了双赢,最大的受益者始终是尼日利亚。
“这是一个双赢的局面,但获益方取决于双方球员及怎样玩这个游戏?尼日利亚的战略是否足以充分利用这种关系至关重要。中国不是在剥削,但如果我们不采取行动使其造福于我们的公民,使其成为双赢的关系,中国肯定会受益更多。我们做的更多是向中国出口石油、铁矿石、矿产资源和其他农产品,并从中国进口制成品。当我在 2018 年访问中国时,我看到了中国企业对尼日利亚的渴望。我们准备好成为战略参与者了吗?这是我们应该关注的地方。”Dr Olalekan表示。
谈到中国对尼日利亚的基建项目及其重要性时,Dr Olalekan表示:“自独立以来,我们已经看到了基础设施的差距,看到了不足之处。我们已经看到了我们与西方的关系--不平等的关系。我们也看到了中国不附加任何条件带来的贸易和投资,以及向尼日利亚提供基础设施建设的支持。我们可以看到中国对尼日利亚各地铁路、港口、公路、桥梁、能源、电信和文化交流方面的基础设施发展的促进。我们已经看到两国建立了比世界上许多其他国家更密切的关系。我们也看到了由奥巴桑乔政府2007 年启动的拉各斯-伊巴丹铁路项目、阿布贾-卡杜纳、卡杜纳-卡诺以及卡诺到卡齐纳的铁路项目的建设。我们还看到了将拉各斯连接到南南,然后从那里连接到东北部的铁路计划。通过全国各地的铁路建设,人们被联系起来,贸易被激活,流通关系正在重建。过去由于道路不畅和基础设施差而需要较长时间的运输,现在只需要更短的时间,基础建设让尼日利亚人的出行更加便捷。”
中国企业的对尼投资,不仅仅是基建、工程等基础设施方面的投资,也是人力资源培养、高新技术转让等多方面的扶持。
Dr Olalekan说:“中国企业在这方面做了很多工作。例如,尼日利亚人现在正在学习由中国人引进而来的太阳能技术。我们现在让尼日利亚人成为制造和维修电池、逆变器和其他太阳能组件的专家。感谢中国人,我们有很多尼日利亚人,包括在全国各地的火车线路上开火车的司机,都是来自于中国企业的培养。你会看到很多尼日利亚人在中国公司操作机器。在灌溉、能源、制造公司和家禽养殖业,技能转移无处不在。他们正在为尼日利亚工人进行密集的职业培训。更多的中国企业也应该来到尼日利亚开展业务。例如,两周前,尼日利亚矿工协会呼吁中国企业到尼日利亚设立公司,以帮助发展当地经济。正是通过合作,我们才能实现发展。”
中尼企业合作是推动中尼经贸合作的重要力量,同时也是非尼日利亚经济社会发展的有力支持。从2015年中非合作论坛约翰内斯堡峰会“十大合作计划”,到2018年北京峰会“八大行动”,都取得了丰硕成果,中国连续13年成为非洲第一大贸易伙伴国,成为非洲第4大投资国。去年召开的中非合作论坛达喀尔会议提出的“九项工程”和《中非合作2035愿景》,将进一步推动中非合作,吸引更多中国企业赴非投资,提升非洲自主发展能力。中国企业在非洲,在尼日利亚的投资也将走向更广阔、更深入、更多元的领域。
Dr Olalekan回顾了1971年中尼建交以来双边关系的友好发展。并指出:“中国支持非洲和尼日利亚的反殖民主义和反帝国主义。尼日利亚与中国在经贸关系方面做得非常好。在中非合作论坛(FOCAC)成立之前,甚至最近,我们一直在密切接触。中尼有很多相似之处。尼日利亚是非洲第一大国,非洲第一人口大国,中国是亚洲第一大国,也是世界第一人口大国。由于我们具有相似的特征和人口数据,因此我们有相同的兴趣,例如如何养活我们的人口。这些是奠定两国外交政策背景的主要因素。中尼双方都想维护各自的公民利益。于是,两种利益相遇了。两国自1971年建立了合作机制,共同繁荣、共同发展、民心相通、贸易互联互通已成为中尼两国共同的心声。”
对于两国未来关系的发展,Dr Olalekan表示:“我们应该更多地与中国接触,我们应该重新制定战略,重新思考这种关系,更加重视中非合作论坛和“一带一路”以便更好地共同繁荣。希望中尼两国在贸易、投资和交流领域更加活跃。两国可以成为其他国家效仿的外交关系中的光辉榜样。”
短期内,随着疫情延宕、大国博弈、地区冲突叠加共振,全球产业链供应链受到严重冲击。尼日利亚及非洲地区面临更大挑战,经济民生受到影响。但从长远看,尼日利亚、非洲仍是充满希望的地区,其资源禀赋、人口红利的优势不断显现,发展潜能的逐步释放,区域经济的协调融合,发展内生动力的激发增长,将给尼日利亚带来更大的发展空间,更广阔的的发展舞台,更可持续的发展势能。
相关媒体报道已于近期在Daybreak、LeaderShip、Vanguard、Blueprint等尼日利亚主流媒体,总商会公共关系办公室自媒体平台YouTube(NigeriaToday)、Facebook(NigeriaToday)、Twitter(NigeriaToday)及网站(https://nigeria-today.ng/)等发布。


附:访谈英文实录

In this interview, Dr Olalekan Babatunde, research fellow of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution spoke to our correspondent on the trade and economic relations between Nigeria and the Peoples Republic of China.

Q: May we meet you?

A: I am Dr Olalekan Babatunde. I am a research fellow of the Nigerian Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolutions in Abuja where I engage in peacebuilding and evidence practice for the country.

Q: Can briefly describe to us the nature of Nigeria’s foreign policy?

A: The foreign policy of Nigeria since independence has been Africa-focused. You know Africa is the centrepiece of Nigeria’s foreign policy whereby we promote the interest of Africans across the sub-region. We look at those shared values, and beliefs to articulate our foreign policy document. The development, and protection of Nigerians either within or outside the country is the primary responsibility of the government.

Q: Nigeria and China have been having trade relationships since 1971. Can you run us through Nigeria-China trade relations?

A: Last year, we marked 50 years of diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and China. Before 1971, Nigeria and China have related right from the time of Chairman Mao in the colonial era. We relate in trade and China supported Africa and Nigeria against colonialism and imperialism. Nigeria has done wonderfully well with China in terms of trade and economic relations. Before the formation of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and even recently, we have been engaging across the border. We share a lot of similarities. Nigeria is a leading country in Africa, the most populous nation in Africa and China is the leading country in Asia and also the most populous nation in the world. Since we share similar characteristics and demographics, we have the same interests like how to feed our populations. These are the major factors that laid the background of the foreign policy of both nations. We both want to take care of our citizens and geopolitics. So the two interest meets. With the two interests, both created a common forum in 1971 to have shared prosperity, shared benefits for their citizens, people-to-people connectively, trade connectivity and so on.

Q: The Chinese government recently provided the capital needed for the revitalization of rail lines, airports, road networks and other critical infrastructures in Nigeria. How significant are these projects to the Nigerian economy?

A: Since independence, we have seen the infrastructural gaps in the country. We have seen our relationship with the West. We have seen the inadequacies. The unequal relationship. We have also seen what China is bringing with no strings attached. China has given infrastructural support to Nigeria through trade and investment. You can see across the country in terms of infrastructural development in rail, ports, roads, bridges, energy, telecommunications and even in military and cultural exchanges. We have seen both countries forging closer relationships than many other countries in the world. We have seen the revitalization of the railway connecting major cities in the country. We have seen the Lagos-Ibadan rail project which was started by the Obasanjo administration from 1999 to 2007. We have seen Abuja-Kaduna, Kaduna-Kano and then Kano to Katsina rail projects. We have also seen plans to connect Lagos to the South-South, then from there to the Northeast. So we have seen the construction of railways across the country and through these constructions, people are being connected, trade is being harnessed and relationships are being re-established. Movements that used to take a longer time because of bad roads, and bad infrastructure are now taking a shorter time and are now more convenient for Nigerians to move from one location to another.

Q: How have these projects impacted average Nigerians?

A: These Chinese interventions have improved the socio-economic well-being of the people. It has enabled employment for the youths. For instance, if you visit the computer village in Lagos, you will see youths involved in one form of skill or the other to earn a living. They are either repairing phones, and laptops or engaging in one form of trading activity. These engagements have deterred the youths from crime and joblessness. You can see how beautiful the airports are. They have added value to us. The youths are also engaged in mining and communities are also busy. People are engaged in one stage of the value chain and make income in the process. The trade volume between Nigeria and China as of 2021 was put at N20bn. We can all see the impact of this huge investment on our economy and daily life. Chinese interventions have greatly improved the socio-economic well-being of our people in different communities.

Q: Describe the role of Chinese companies in Human Capital Development and technology transfer in Nigeria

A: Chinese companies have done a lot in this regard. For instance, Nigerians are now engaged in the learning of Solar Energy brought into the country by the Chinese. We now have Nigerians becoming specialists in the fabrication and repair of batteries, inverters and other components of solar energy. Courtesy of the Chinese, we have lots of Nigerians including ladies driving trains at the railway staions across the nation. You will see lots of Nigerians operating machines in Chinese companies. In irrigation, energy, manufacturing companies, and poultry, the skills transfer is there. They are doing intense in-house training for their Nigerian workers. Nigerians just want to be equipped with this knowledge in a more organized and systematic way. More Chinese companies should also come down to Nigeria and set up their businesses here. For example, two weeks ago, the association of Nigerian miners clamoured that Chinese firms come down to Nigeria and set up their companies to help the local economy grow. It is through this we can achieve development. Needs assessment, and corporate social responsibility must also be considered in setting up these companies in Nigeria.

Q: It has been argued in some quarters that the presence of Chinese business interest in Africa and Nigeria is a form of neo-colonialism aimed at promoting Chinese selfish interests. How true is this assertion?

A: Every country has their foreign policy. But a country cannot develop alone hence the need to enter into cooperation. People will naturally want to cast aspersions because of the massive presence of Chinese business interests in Africa and Nigeria. But we have to look at the past. Where has the relationship with the Chinese taken us in the past 50 years? For example, in June 2022, we saw the G7 initiating the PGII (Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment) and initiated $600bn to rival BRI China in low-income countries. You can see that China BRI is making sense and that is why it is been rivalled. Mind you, this same G7 instituted the build back better world last year and there was no progress in it. So this June, they instituted the $600bn to rival China. We can see that China is on the right path. So I wish to see the two countries coming together, even more, stronger in the future.

Q: So Chinese presence in Nigeria is not for economic exploitation but a win-win situation?

A: It’s a win-win situation but it now depends on the actors, the players. How are you playing the game? Is Nigeria strategic enough to make the most out of this relationship? China is not exploiting but when we don’t make that move to make it benefit our citizens, to make it a win-win relationship, definitely China will benefit more. When you look at this $20bn trade volume, you will see that China has about 90% investment. What we do more is export petroleum gas, iron ore, mineral resources and other agricultural products to China and import finished products in return from them. When I visited China in 2018, I saw the yearnings of Chinese companies wanting more from Nigeria. Are we ready to be strategic players? This is where we should look at.

Q: What other critical sector of the economy do you think the Chinese government should invest in Nigeria?

A: We already have China involved in trade and investment. They have opened up ports, economic trade zones in Lekki and so on. I want them to do more in other areas like the establishment of a Lithium battery-making company and also in agriculture. When you invest in agriculture, you have food in abundance. This can be done because China is doing it in Ethiopia and other East African countries whereby every day, they are exporting to the United Kingdom. The majority of the food items sold in the United Kingdom are imported from Chinese companies in East Africa. The Chinese can also collaborate with the Nigerian government in ensuring peace so that agriculture and other businesses can thrive in Nigeria. We have abundance in this country. We have fertile ground, and cheap labour so we can engage with the Chinese to ensure peace. The Chinese have also partnered with the Nigerian military in providing hardware and some training. They can do more in ensuring a peaceful atmosphere in Nigeria for business to flourish.

Q: How can both nations strengthen economic and trade ties for mutual benefit?

A: Both nations should come together and re-evaluate the 50 years of friendship. There are many things in FOCAC and BRI documents that can be looked at to inject some level of seriousness. More is expected from Nigeria. We should engage China more, we should re-strategize, and re-think the relationship so that we can have this shared prosperity that we have been talking about all these years.

Q: Where do you see Nigeria-China friendship in the next 20 years?

A: I see them more active in the area of trade, investment, and exchanges. The two nations can be shining examples in diplomatic relations for other nations to emulate.

Q: How will you describe the Chinese people based on your visit to China?

A: The Chinese people are hospitable. They are focused. The government loves the people and the people are obedient to the government. They are loyal to the leadership contrary to what we have been used to in this hemisphere. Wherever Chinese citizen goes, they are eager to return home because they love their government and vice versa. We need to learn from China and build that trust between the people and the government. The Chinese people can also support think tanks and civil societies. Think-thanks are working effectively in China. I saw a system whereby think tanks are actively involved from the grassroots up to the leadership and the party system. Nigeria can also incorporate think-thanks in development.



 
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