Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja today for for Johannesburg, South Africa to participate in the Forum on China/Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
The president will use the opportunity to discuss with the Chinese President Xi Jinping on development of the country’s rail sector.
The forum in Johannesburg begins tomorrow and ends December 5.
China Railway Construction Corp had signed a deal of about $12 billion with the Federal Government which involves the building of a railway network.
The project stretches about 1,402 kilometres linking Lagos and Calabar.
During the president’s meeting with the Chinese leader which comes on the sidelines of the forum, both leaders would deliberate on furthering better collaboration to deliver on the existing rail projects and business interest between the two countries.
Buhari and Xi Jinping, according to a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, had earlier in November met at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Garba said Buhari had indicated to Xi Jinping at the bilateral meeting in New York that he wanted China to re-commence the stalled rail projects under new terms that would see China providing nearly all the financing required.
“Of particular interest is the coastal railway project stretching for 1,402 kilometres linking Lagos in the West with Calabar in the East; a project that is expected to be financed with $12 billion Chinese loan and which will create about 200,000 jobs,” the statement added.
The presidential spokesman explained that “another rail project that will be up for renegotiation is the $8.3 billion Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernisation project, of which only a segment, Kaduna-Abuja has reached completion stage.”
Also, Buhari is expected to discuss ways of removing all obstacles in the way of the 3,050MW Mambila Power Station, considered a strategic project which was conceived in 1982 but has not taken off.
The Chinese President had informed Buhari of the willingness of his country to finance the whole project through a special loan agreement.
The president, who will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; Minister of Transportation, Chubuike Amaechi; and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, will return to Abuja on Saturday this week.