11th October, 2021
By Nathan Nwakamma
Bayelsa Government has requested the assistance of the People’s Republic of China in the development of its infrastructure, agriculture and education.
Mr Dan Alabra, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Douye Diri, disclosed this in a statement issued after the governor visited Mr Cui Jianchun, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria in Abuja.
According to the governor, China has recorded robust successes in economy, partnerships and innovations as well as in poverty eradication.
He said that in the last two decades China, the most populated country in the world, has witnessed rapid growth and surpassed the World Bank as the world’s largest lender of development finance.
According to Diri, “the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, sometimes promised that his government was willing to partner with Nigeria to reduce poverty, Bayelsa is the right destination for such intervention.
“We believe Bayelsa offers a considerable window to the world, it will be a spectacular platform to showcase the BRI in the building of roads that traverse several water bodies.
“It will also provide access to inexhaustible reserve of resources in the coasts of Bayelsa.
“Our state’s expansive coastline is ideal for fishing, tourism and wind energy. Our government has identified agriculture as the main sector within which it will achieve sustainable development and growth,’’ he said.
The Bayelsa governor noted that his Government has identified four areas of investment, which are fish farming, rice, cassava and plantain cultivation.
He said with the requisite legal framework in place and available human resources, the state was ready to welcome investors and industry experts for a collaborative development of a centre for machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Diri also praised the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), saying he and the state were impressed with the company’s work on the Yenagoa-Oporoma and Gloryland Drive road projects in the state.
Responding, Jianchun said that China and Nigeria had a lot in common.
The envoy pointed out that 12 years ago China had more than 87 million people living below the poverty line but that by February this year, they had all crossed the line.
While Jianchun was presenting an economic strategy document to Diri, he said that if China, with its large population, could overcome poverty, Nigeria could also do same if the right policies were adopted.
“I believe that we have to work together to grow. If we have to achieve our country’s national interest, we have to do something significant in our host country.
“I thank you for your expression of confidence in China and Chinese companies. You have made the right choice.
“We can look at the possibility of Chinese investors and companies partnering with Bayelsa to develop your gas resources and infrastructure.
“Bayelsa is an important state to Nigeria because of its natural resource endowments and its people. There are several areas of partnership we can explore,” the Chinese envoy said.