Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has sought partnership with the People’s Republic of China in infrastructure, agricultural, technical and educational development of the state.
Diri made the request at the weekend when he visited the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun, in Abuja.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Daniel Alabrah, the governor said China had recorded robust successes in economy, partnerships, innovation and poverty eradication.
He noted that in the last two decades, the most populated country in the world had witnessed rapid growth, surpassing the World Bank as the world’s largest lender of development finance.
He said this feat was achieved primarily through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure plan conceived in China in 2013 and implemented in over 70 countries with the goal of partnering in the design and implementation of large infrastructure projects.
Diri recalled the President of China’s statement that his government was willing to partner with Nigeria to reduce poverty, saying Bayelsa State would be the right destination for such intervention.
‘We believe Bayelsa offers a considerable window to the world and will be a spectacular platform to showcase the BRI in the building of roads that traverse several water bodies, as well as providing access to a reservoir of resources in the coasts of Bayelsa.
Our state’s expansive coastline is ideal for fishing, tourism and wind energy. Our government has identified agriculture as the main sector within which it will achieve sustainable development and growth. We have already identified four areas to substantially invest, which are fishing, farming, rice, cassava and plantain cultivation,” he stated.
Diri stressed that with the requisite legal framework and available human resources already in place, Bayelsa was ready to welcome investors and industry experts for collaborative development of a centre for machine learning and artificial intelligence.
On the deep seaport project at Agge in Ekeremor Council, he said the state seeks partners to develop a trans-shipment port to service the Gulf of Guinea and the Nigerian hinterland.
Responding, Jianchun said China and Nigeria had a lot in common, noting that 12 years ago, China had over 87 million people living below the poverty line, but that by February this year, they had all crossed above the line.
The envoy, who presented an economic strategy document to Diri, said if China, with its large population, could overcome poverty, Nigeria could also do same if it adopted the right policies.