Nigeria Photograph:( AFP )
The loan amount is so huge that Nigeria can only repay it in 2 decades
While debt burden imposed by China on many countries has been in news for long, Nigeria is faced with a problem that is both -- ecological and financial. Nigeria has a loan of USD 6.5 billion from China. This has resulted in debt burden for China. The loan amount is so huge that Nigeria can only repay it in 2 decades. A failure to repay the debt means that Nigeria will have to surrender its oil fields or coastal port authorities. Nigeria is world's 10th largest oil producer.
Worry is on the ecological front as well with Chinese illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities being another cause of concern. Nigeria is losing $70 million due to Chinese trawlers. IUU has been a global concern, from Africa to Latin America putting pressure on local ecology and encroaching on national sovereignties.
China is keen on increasing engagement with the African continent. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had visited Niger in the first week of January this year, with a focus on cooperation against covid and a number of agreements being signed. And while China is trying hard to win over the continent, it has already got a lot of bad press, especially when it comes to racism.
2020 saw Nigeria strongly voicing its concern after videos emerged of discrimination faced by Nigerians in Guangzhou. They were been stigmatized for being carriers of the Covid virus. The Chinese envoy to Nigeria was summoned by foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama and the matter was strongly taken up.