Buhari Arrives South Africa, set for crucial talks with Chinese leader over rail and power projects

Posted by News Express | 4 December 2015 | 2,271 times

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Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari last night arrived in South Africa for the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). He touched down at the Waterkloof Air Force Base on Thursday evening hours after departing Abuja and proceeded to Johannesburg, where the forum is holding December 4-5.

The Nigerian leader will this morning join other leaders for the FOCAC opening. He will also meet with business leaders from China and Africa.

In the evening, Buhari would hold bilateral talks with President Xi Jinping of China – a follow up to his meeting with the Chinese leader which took place in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in November.

President Buhari had indicated to Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader at the bilateral meeting in New York that he wanted China to re-commence 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 1402 kilometres linking Lagos in the West with Calabar in the East; a project that is expected to be financed with 12 billion U.S Dollars Chinese loan and which will create about 200,000 jobs.

Another rail project that will be up for renegotiation is the $8.3bn Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernisation project, of which only a segment, Kaduna-Abuja has reached completion stage.

President Buhari is also expected to discuss ways of removing all obstacles in the way of the 3,050 MW Mambila Power Station, considered a strategic project which was conceived in 1982 but has not taken off.

The Chinese President had informed President 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, December 5.

•Photo by Femi Adesina shows President Buhari stepping out of the Presidential Jet . . . yesterday evening in South Africa.


Source: News Express

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