Nigeria’s quest for development which has spanned some decades and is yet to deliver on the ultimate goal of poverty reduction, despite various plans, programmes, and projects. Analysis of growth drivers on one hand has identified several factors including macroeconomic environment, political and social environment and investment gap. Some policies are required to attract foreign direct investment and to direct such investment into appropriate sectors, Ogunkola, Bankole and Adewuyi ( 2008). Weak and unreliable infrastructure, macroeconomic instability, microeconomic risks from corruption and weakness of institutions and regulations to guide investment behaviour are the main constraints to high performance of the economy (World Bank Group 2014). As a resource-rich country, Nigeria’s economic performance has been unfortunately driven by the oil and gas sector to the extent that even progress recorded towards genuine economic development prior to the discovery of oil in commercial quantity has been virtually eroded. In recent time (2000- 2005), the GDP growth was about 5.7% and the growth in the non-oil sector which contributed about 5.9% of the GDP (Ogunsawo, 2007).
However, the sector dominates the supply of foreign exchange and given that the political economy of the country vested this important resource in the hand of the government it also contributes a large chunk of government revenue. The decline in the non-oil sector such as agricultural sector performance has been dramatic since the discovery of oil. The manufacturing sector has not performed even better. It has also been recognized that sustainable development of the Nigerian economy rests on the diversification of the economy away from oil and gas to non-oil sector and this should be based on the country’s abundant resources and comparative advantage. An analysis of constraints to the high performance of the non-oil sectors identifies low productivity as a precursor to low private returns and which in turn lead to low investment.
In recent years, with the rapid economic development of both China and African continent, the interaction between the two parties, which used to centre on political sphere, is now featuring cooperation in various areas, especially, in the economic. According to Broadman (2008), there has been movement of Chinese companies into African countries particularly in the areas of construction, mining, and oil extraction. Such efforts have been encouraged by the Chinese government. It is a general belief that the increasing Chinese investments of capital and technology in Africa will reasonably help to unlock the African continent’s vast resources and potentials.
China’s rapidly developing oil consumption seems to have a bigger effect on Chinese-African trade (Taylor, 2010). This is the main reason behind the whole raft of new contracts between 2002 and 2006. During this period, Chinese oil companies have signed deals to buy refineries and explore oil and gas in many African nation including Nigeria. In fact, China is now Africa’s third largest trading partner, ahead of the United Kingdom and only behind the United States and France. Importantly, the bulk of this growth in trade is driven by a desire to obtain sources of raw materials and energy to fuel the Chinese economy and for fresh export markets (Taylor, 2006). Interestingly, Nigeria is taking a fair share of the Chinese economic activities in the African continent.
Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China established formal diplomatic ties on February 10, 1971. Relations between the two nations grew closer as a result of the international isolation and Western condemnation of Nigeria’s military regimes (1970s-1998). Nigeria traditional development partners mainly from Europe and the Americas (U.S. A. and Canada) have dominated trade, investment (in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI)) and grants and financial as well as technical aid to the country. These are governed by various bilateral and regional agreements that exist between these countries and Nigeria. Although Nigeria and these countries have come a long way in their relationship, it is debatable if such has in any significant way assist the country in its quest for development. The relationship appears to be exploitative at least from the trend in the structure and pattern of trade and FDI inflow to the country. This is based on the fact that oil and gas sector dominates the country’s exports to the tune of about 98% and FDI inflows to the oil and gas sector accounted for about 40%. (Duhu, 2015). In Lagos, Onitsha, Aba, Kano, and in almost every Nigerian market, one can buy something Chinese – textile, food items, drugs, electronics, phones, computers and cooking utensils. Rail rehabilitation which is currently steeped in controversy is under Chinese Company. Nigeria’s communications satellite (NIMCOSAT 1) was designed, built and funded by China. The NIMCOSAT 1 was also launched in China (ibid). Nigeria is therefore, doing so much today with China in terms of trade and investments.
Nigeria offers China both a market for its goods and vast supplies of untapped resources, including oil. Also Nigerian government, in recent times, has found Chinese companies more sensitive to economic challenges than their western Counterparts. China’s relation with Nigeria has recently become a burning issue. This has to do with China’s seemingly interest or quest to dominate the Nigerian market and economy.
Accordingly, scholars and commentators alike have expressed various opinions on the issue without any meaningful conclusions. While some view the relationship as beneficial to China and detrimental to the overall development of Nigeria, others see it as the spring post or opportunity that Nigeria needs to develop and compete in the world market. Although Sino-Nigeria relationship dates back to more than three decades, recent developments call for a careful and detailed analysis of this relationship and to this end, we seek to provide analysis of the relationship with respect to investment, trade and aid: To what extent is China different from other exploitative practices? What is the impact has China in social economics development of Nigeria? What lessons can we learn from the past in order to make the blossoming relationship produce win-win outcome? This study is to critically to investigate on political dimension of the economic and diplomatic relations between Nigeria and China as it facilitates or hinders migration of labour between both countries. The study therefore seeks to provide answers to the following questions:
- Does the diplomatic relations between Nigeria and China has impact on Socio economic development in Nigeria?
- Does Nigeria- china economics relation improved their balance to trade and Investment?
- Has Nigeria really benefited from the diplomatic relation of Nigeria-China? .
- What are the challenges to Nigeria-China diplomatic and economic relations?
The study intends to investigate and provide answers that will address the questions stated above.