The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian has projected that abject poverty will be eliminated in the Asian country by 2020.
Pingjian made the projection on Monday in Abakaliki during a courtesy visit on Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi, attributing such optimism to the sustained, rapid transformation of the Chinese economy.
Pingjian noted that by Oct. 1, 1949 when China was formed and up to 1978 during its acclaimed reforms, the country was one of the most backward countries in the world.
“98 out of 100 Chinese then lived on the poverty line but I assure you that by the end of 2020, abject poverty will be eliminated in China due to the rapid economic transformation witnessed since then.
“In the past four decades according to world bank figures, China has lifted over 740 million people out of poverty and has an annual growth rate of 9.5 per cent,” he said.
The ambassador remarked that for the past 40 years since its 1978 reforms, China has attracted over $2trillion in Direct Foreign Investments (DFI).
“The DFI keeps pouring, attracting over $138 billion in 2018 and is the largest from any developing country of the world.
“The country’s outbound investments have also attracted over $100billion and we intend to grow with our friends such as Ebonyi, Nigeria and Africa,” he said.
He noted that the National Peoples Congress (Chinese legislature) recently passed the important–foreign investment law which entailed China opening its doors for investment from the outside world.
“We believe that openness brings progress as some industries especially the labour intensive ones are relocating fast to neighbouring countries and outside world.
“We want to see more Chinese investment in Ebonyi, Nigeria and Africa for the needed mutual cooperation in the economy and other sectors of national life,” he said.
He congratulated Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on his re-election, noting that the country would partner Ebonyi especially in the area of rice production.
Gov. Umahi in his response, thanked the ambassador for the visit, noting that he was the first public officer both locally, nationally and international to visit him since his re-election.
Umahi represented by his Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe noted that the state was one of the youngest and smallest states in Nigeria but was ambitious of becoming one of the best economies in the country.
“The desire to achieve this aim made the governor to visit you in Abuja, as China that used to be one of the ‘poorest’ countries in the world suddenly skyrocketed to an enviable economy.
“The state currently has trade relationships with about 14 companies in China with a trade volume of about $3.7 billion including several agreements and protocols with the Chinese government,” he said.