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Nigeria Request $20 billion Loan From China, Says Udoma

By Chuka Odittah Abuja

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Budget and National Planning Minister Udoma Udo Udoma

Tanzania secures $7.6b

Budget and National Planning Minister Udoma Udo Udoma has affirmed that hopes are high for Nigeria to secure a $20 billion loan from China’s EXIM Bank.

China had agreed at the Johannesburg Summit in South Africa in December 2015 to assist African countries in 10 strategic areas that will help their economies. There, it had pledged $60 billion in aid, grants and concessional loans.

Senator Udoma, who is in China for the implementation of follow-up actions of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) said high level talks with key officials of the Chinese government indicate that help is on the way for the country.

In a statement by the minister’s Media Adviser, Akpandem James, made available to journalists in Abuja, Udoma said Chinese officials expressed interest in supporting Nigeria as a way of boosting African economy.“Nigeria is trying to get as much of the Chinese funding for projects in the form of grants, aids, investments and loans indicated at the FOCAC meeting. The loan component will however, be within the country’s debt sustainability limits.”“Projects proposed for the facility by Nigeria is in the region of about $20 billion, and Nigeria will be in a better stead if the Chinese government will assist with a substantial part of the funds required,” he said.In his speech, China’s State Councilor, Yang Jiech explained that his country initiated the meeting at this time “to take stock of the delivery of summit outcomes, to align our thinking, build consensus, overcome challenges and difficulties, share experience and promote cooperation, so that we can pool the wisdom and strength of both sides and give a leg up to the implementation work.”At the plenary session, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, was reported to have been pleased that both China and the African countries have attained a high level of implementation of the outcomes of the summit, have acted promptly to take forward the five pillars and 10 plans of cooperation and have made substantial progress in enhancing friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation across board.

He added that China has delivered on its commitments and made every effort to advance follow-up actions.

In a related development, Tanzania has secured a $7.6 billion loan from China’s Export-Import Bank (Exim) for the construction of a railway line that will link Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

President John Magufuli secured the concessional loan after meeting with the Exim Bank’s president Liu Liang. While announcing the funding, Magufuli alluded to a preferential deal without providing details.                                                                           The Guardian

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