News / Economy

Nigeria to Sign Off on $3 Billion in Chinese Loans

FILE - Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in New York, September 26, 2012.
FILE - Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in New York, September 26, 2012.
Reuters
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will travel to China next week to sign off on $3 billion in Chinese loans to build infrastructure in Africa's most populous country, the finance minister said on Wednesday.
 
The agreed loans will come from the Chinese government and will be based on interest rates of less than three percent over a 15-20 year period, Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.
 
The deal underscores increasing Chinese interest in Africa and its resources - Nigeria is the continent's top oil producer - in competition with Western powers.
 
Okonjo-Iweala estimates Nigeria needs $10 billion a year of investment to improve infrastructure like roads and electricity to keep up with a rapidly growing population, already some 170 million, and to sustain economic growth at around six or seven percent.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama launched a $7 billion initiative on Sunday to help Africa with electricity shortages but this is dwarfed by the $20 million in loans China has promised the continent. Obama did not visit Nigeria.
 
“We know that China fuelled its growth by really keeping one step ahead in terms of infrastructure ... we need roads, we need power, we need help on aviation, agriculture,” Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters at the presidential villa in the capital.
 
China has made a string of cheap loans in the past few years to countries in Africa, a continent which supplies oil and raw materials like copper and uranium to the world's most populous country and second-largest economy.
 
The loans to Nigeria include $500 million to build airport terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano; and over $700 million to build a hydroelectric power plant in Niger State.
 
It also includes $600 million to build a light railway in the capital Abuja, most of which has already been invested on a project due to be completed early next year.
 
Lending at below market rates to fund infrastructure projects using Chinese firms has enabled Beijing to cement relationships in Africa while subsidizing its construction industry.
 
Nigeria's central bank governor Lamido Sanusi warned African governments in March that China's pursuit of raw materials and markets for its manufactured goods on the continent carried “a whiff of colonialism” similar to that introduced by Europeans in centuries past.
 
“I'm not of the school that says 'look this is colonialism' ... We should be open to whoever wants to invest and help us finance our needs,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
 
The loans are part of a $7.9 billion external borrowing plan approved by Nigeria's national assembly last year as government seeks to up cheaper external borrowing and limit domestic debt.
 
Okonjo-Iweala said the delegation traveling to China on July 7 would also be discussing China's interest in oil from Nigeria, an OPEC member and Africa's top producer.
 
“They want more oil and gas ... we have something they want now and they have something we want, so you have grounds for negotiations,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
 
With the discovery of shale oil and gas in the United States, Nigeria is losing its biggest customer and looking for new buyers. India has been increasing its imports from Nigeria.

($1 = 160.1000 Nigerian naira)

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9152
JPY
USD
122.70
GBP
USD
0.6494
CAD
USD
1.2374
INR
USD
63.925

Rates may not be current.