by Manuel Chen-Cruz
China’s investment in Nigeria’s deep seaport is a clear indication of the country’s efforts to strengthen economic ties with African states. The Lekki Deep Sea Port, built at a reported cost of $1.5 billion and constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company and Singapore’s Tolaram Group, is not only a game-changer for Nigeria’s shipping and logistics industry, but also a reflection of the growing economic partnership between the two countries.
China has been among the largest bilateral lenders to Nigeria, funding various infrastructure projects including rail, roads, and power stations, and this new seaport is another step towards further collaboration and mutually beneficial economic relations between the two countries. This move also aligns with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to strengthen infrastructure and economic ties with countries around the world.
However, it is worth noting that while the investment in the deep seaport is a positive development for Nigeria, it is important to consider the potential implications of the country’s growing economic ties with China. China has been criticized for its debt-trap diplomacy, where it provides loans to developing countries with unfavorable terms, leaving them in a position of financial dependence. It is crucial for Nigeria to ensure that the terms of the loans and agreements with China are fair and sustainable for the country’s economy in the long-term. Additionally, the Chinese companies involved in the construction of the seaport should also comply with labor and environmental standards, and the local communities should be consulted and benefit from the project.
China’s economic engagement in Africa has been met with mixed reactions, with some countries welcoming the investment and others raising concerns about the long-term implications. Some African countries have criticized China for its neocolonial approach, where it extracts resources and exploits African markets without providing sufficient economic benefits for the local population. Others have raised concerns about the environmental and social impact of Chinese-funded projects.
In addition to economic ties, China has also been strengthening its political and military presence in Africa. China has established military bases in several African countries and has been providing military aid and training to various African countries. This has raised concerns about China’s growing military influence in the region and the potential for it to challenge the traditional Western-led security architecture in Africa.
In conclusion, China’s growing economic ties with African states, including Nigeria, can be seen as part of the country’s broader geopolitical strategy in the region. While the investment in the deep seaport is a positive development for Nigeria, it is important to consider the potential implications of the country’s growing economic ties with China and to ensure that the terms of the loans and agreements with China are fair and sustainable for the country’s economy in the long-term.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author.
They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the AMeAR|News, R2iNTEL or its members.