The 15th BRICS Summit took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 22–24. Adopted and released was the Johannesburg II Declaration of the XV BRICS Summit. The entire globe is taking notice of this important and successful project. It offers fresh possibilities for cultural contacts between China and Nigeria as well as between Africa and lends a new meaning to the idea of a community with a shared future for all people.
Regarding the BRICS Summit, I would like to draw attention to the three doable recommendations made by Chinese President Xi Jinping to our Nigerian counterparts: “Initiative on Supporting Africa’s Industrialization” The “Plan for China Supporting Africa’s Agricultural Modernization” and the “Plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development” call for the invitation of 20,000 government officials and technicians from African nations to attend workshops and seminars, as well as the annual training of 500 principals and highly qualified vocational college teachers, 10,000 technical personnel with both Chinese language and vocational skills, and 10,000 technical personnel overall. These three significant ideas are a clear example of China’s practical assistance for Africa’s development and address sectors that are critically needed for the continent’s modernization. We think that these Chinese approaches and initiatives will significantly advance Nigeria’s social and economic development and raise the bar for China-Nigeria collaboration across a range of sectors.
These three suggestions emphasise the values of friendship between China and Africa: sincerity, tangible outcomes, amity, and good faith. The tenth anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s initial visit to Africa as well as the tenth anniversary of his announcing the tenets of China’s Africa policy—sincerity, genuine results, amity, good faith, and seeking the common benefit and interests of both parties—occurs this year. Friendship between China and Africa has flourished under the careful care of both regions, growing into a large tree with leafy branches. Cultural exchanges are closer than ever, practical cooperation is productive, and political mutual confidence is growing.
“Take the utmost sincerity as the way and the utmost benevolence as the virtue,” as an old Chinese proverb states. The three recommendations, which span a wide range of fields, a huge number of opportunities, and a clear orientation to the future, have struck the critical point in Africa’s development, concentrated on the development of African talent, and kept an eye on the continent’s long-term prosperity. At a speech ten years ago at Tanzania’s Nyerere International Conference Centre, President Xi Jinping stated that China will honour all of its verbal and nonverbal promises to Africa. Ten years later, the three proposals demonstrate once more that China will be a sincere friend of Africa who consistently “walks the walk” rather than being a dishonest ally that merely “pays lip service”.
The saying “Better to teach a man how to fish than to give him fish” adds flavour to China-African cooperation for win-win outcomes. It has been emphasised by President Xi Jinping that there are multiple routes that lead to modernization. The majority of Africans decide which course is best for their continent. China has consistently embraced a win-win strategy and mutual benefit in its array of investment and talent development initiatives in Nigeria. Additionally, it has promoted intensive and sustainable growth, changed the focus of aid from “blood transfusion” to “blood creation,” encouraged “teaching people to fish,” and assisted the Nigerian side in “building nests to attract phoenixes.” With US$282 billion in total trade with Africa last year—a 11.1 percent year-over-year increase—China continued to be the continent’s top trading partner for a record 14 years. In the first seven months of 2023, China and Nigeria’s bilateral trade came to a total of US$23.9 billion, or 8.4% of all trade between China and Africa. After South Africa, Nigeria is now China’s second-biggest trading partner in Africa.
Nigeria and perhaps the entire African continent urgently need to achieve modernisation. China will demonstrate its sincere desire to achieve shared development and prosperity with developing countries and live well together, as well as its commitment to being a fellow traveller in the development and revitalization process of Africa and China. China will also take concrete actions to reflect China’s firm position of always standing with African countries.
As the People’s Republic of China’s eighth consul general in Lagos, I arrived in stunning Lagos three months ago. Throughout this time, I have seen how Chinese investment has improved Nigerian society and the lives of its citizens through projects like the Lekki deep-sea port, the Lagos Blue Line Rail Project, and the Lekki and Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone. I’ve noticed that the locals support Chinese-funded businesses like China Harbour Engineering Company Limited and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), and Chinese brands like Huawei, Tecno, and Infinix are very recognisable. The collaborative performance of the Huangxing Arts Troupe and the China National Traditional Orchestra, which reflected “the Initiative of Sharing Chinese Harmony and Performing Nigeria-China Symphony,” moved me. I attended the Confucius Institute Alumni Association of Nigeria’s inaugural ceremony and enjoyed the sound of the Chengdu World University Games theme song being sung by the gifted instructors and students of the Confucius Institute at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Every beautiful face increased my confidence that China and Nigeria’s mutually beneficial collaboration will have a bright future ahead of it.
The vivid colour that ignites boundless hope for China’s and Africa’s futures is the BRICS mechanism. As part of his campaign to bring wealth, social justice, and equality of opportunity to the Nigerian people, President Bola Tinubu chose the motto “Renewed Hope.” People’s hopes and dreams for a better future are embodied in the Nigerian saying, “No matter how long the moon disappears, someday it must shine again.” The BRICS partnership offers African nations limitless opportunities to realise this optimistic outlook.
Argentine Republic, Arab Republic of Egypt, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and the Islamic Republic of Iran are invited to join BRICS as full members at the 15th BRICS Summit. Other developing nations that are willing to join BRICS as partners and fulfil the requirements will also be welcomed. This is both the pinnacle of the BRICS summit and a significant turning point in the organization’s history. More than 60 leaders of African nations as well as other emerging markets and developing nations were invited to convene in South Africa this time, which perfectly captures the allure of BRICS collaboration in the midst of the world’s chaotic transitions, risks, and challenges.
They say, “Hold a true friend with both hands,” a lot in Nigeria. A Chinese proverb supports the idea that “True friendship exists only when there is an abiding commitment to pursue common goals,” taking this as its model. Nigeria and China have been writing innumerable heartwarming stories together for decades and have a firm hand in friendship. As we embark on our new journey, we hope that China and Nigeria will keep cooperating closely while leading by example through the three BRICS Summit initiatives. Together, we want to create a new chapter in China-Africa cooperation in the coming period.