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.
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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.