AN APPRAISAL OF NIGERIA-CHINA POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS FROM 1999-2014
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1.1BACKGROUND OF STUDY:
The Peoples‟ Republic of China is sometimes referred to as a modern day miracle and continues to draw the attention of the entire world for the remarkable progress it has made in economic development (Rose, 2014). Given the political complexities and the emergence of china as a great economic world power, it becomes important for us as students of international relations to study the strategic relationship between a “democratic” Nigeria and “undemocratic” China. However, the importance of political economy as a concept to the understanding of behavioral patterns and relationship strides of nation states especially Nigeria which I will be examining in this research cannot be undermined, as it will further give clarifications on Nigeria‟s foreign policy towards china (the Asian big gun).
Put differently, Following China‟s economic growth in the 1980s, Nigerian leaders began to look forward to a more serious economic engagement with China (Bukaremba, 2005). The relationship between Nigeria and China was cooperative and cordial, especially between 1999 and 2009. Prior to this time, Nigeria as a country was basically pro-western. Thus, had little or nothing diplomatically to do then with china. “Nigeria‟s first contact with China took place in 1960 when a Chinese delegation, on the invitation of the Nigerian government, attended Nigeria‟s independence celebrations. The delegation brought a message from Chinese leaders congratulating Nigeria on the victory won by the Nigerian people in their struggle against colonialism. In February, 1971, Nigeria finally established diplomatic ties with China more than a decade after independence. Both countries opened embassies in each other‟s capital within the year. The Chinese government has described this relationship as a “win-win” situation” (Agubamah, 2014). The period between 1971 and early 1999 witnessed minimal diplomatic exchanges, low bi-lateral trade relations, a near absence of Chinese Foreign Direct Investments inflow to Nigeria. Nigeria at the time adopted a broadly pro-western policy with traditional development and trade partners mostly of European and American origin (Edakoh, n.d.). Since the dawn of the new millennium and century in 2000 A.D, relations between China and Nigeria, and indeed Africa has been on an aggressive upward trend characterized by unprecedented renewed positive and mutually beneficial cooperation arrangements, to the concern of western countries across Europe and North America (Edakoh, n.d.).In October 2000, China hosted the first Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing. In May 1999 when Nigeria returned to constitutional democracy, President Obasanjo‟s visited China twice in 2001 and 2005 respectively with his Chinese counterpart reciprocating both visits. China and Nigeria have also signed a number of agreements on trade, economic and technological cooperation as well as on investment protection (Nuhu, 2012). In 2004, the volume of trade grew by 17.6 percent, with Nigeria‟s exports to China registering a growth of 330 percent. China‟s main exports to Nigeria are light industrial, mechanical and electrical products. China‟s main imports from Nigeria are petroleum, timber and cotton (Akongbowa, 2008). The conference is believed to have laid the foundation and set the pace for a new order that has witnessed a significant shift in Nigeria‟s and Africa‟s foreign diplomatic and economic relations. Soon after the Beijing conference, Sino-Nigeria relations assumed a new dimension characterized by rapid and aggressive economic, cultural, scientific, and educational cooperation, increasing Chinese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), aids/ grants, technical assistance as well as several sponsored training programs for Nigerian officials. China has now emerged as Nigeria‟s and Africa‟s major development and trade partner, having taking the place of Europe and North America in Nigeria‟s development agenda.
Away from the historical perspective to China Nigeria relations, the research work in taking an accurate stance used the dynamics of the international community and system to explain a shift in foreign policy of both countries. The emergence of china as an economic power and a friend to major African nations notably Nigeria which is a frontline state in the economic array of the African continent, came detrimental and clashing with the interest of some great world powers like the United States. No bilateral China-Africa relationship is evolving faster, or impacts more people, than the one between china and Nigeria (Egbula & Zheng, 2011). China essentially seeks three things from Africa: unimpeded and virtually exclusive access to natural resources; new market for its export driven economy; and increased influence among international political bodies (Peter, 2007)From less than 2 billion in 2000 Us Dollars, trade between china and Nigeria reached nearly 18 billion Us Dollars just ten years later. Between 2003 and 2009, Nigeria was a top destination for Chinese Foreign Direct Investment on the continent, second only to South Africa. Its attractions are clear: vast energy reserves and a large domestic market of 150 million inhabitants with growing disposable incomes. China having clearly stated their intention as basically economically plays minimal role in influencing political status-quo and the multifaceted cultural milieu of the country. Has opposed to the United States, many African government do not consider china to be imperialist, secondly, china‟s non-interventionist policy does not demand good governance, democracy, human rights or government transparency (Margeret, 2006)China is well-known for its practice of offering aid with no political conditions except one. Adherence to the “One China” policy is Beijing‟s central requirement in its diplomatic relations with African countries, and for Abuja, this position has never been problematic. Thus it becomes important to explain the reasons for the continuous “chinarization of Nigerian market”.
Nigeria and China share a lot in common from ethnic diversities to rich endowment of mineral and human resources. China is the largest single market in the world with a population of 1.3 billion, while Nigeria is the largest single market in Africa with a population of 140 million. Unlike Nigeria, China has been able to harness its vast demographic, human and material resources to build a strong and virile domestic economy which has impacted positively on its citizenry (Agbu, 1994). In addition, Nigeria and China are burdened by destiny in their respective regions. In terms of population, one of every three Asians is Chinese, so also one in every four persons in Africa is a Nigerian. With a population of 1.3 billion, China is in fact the most populous nation in the world. Nigeria on the other hand, with a population of over 140 million people is the largest concentration of black people in the world. In terms of mineral resources China, like Nigeria, is well endowed (Oche, 2001).
However, given all of the progress made and the cordiality in the relationship, it is still not devoid of hitches and eye brow raise. In as much the Nigerian economy is marginally or continually dependent on china for growth and development, the populace is most out-rightly on the receiving end of this. The continuous complains about the ever increasing supply of substandard goods and materials are however leading to a change in emotions and trust towards
Nigeria‟s china partnership. The popular slogan of “chinko” representing fake goods or materials that cannot stand the test of time has however led to the shortcomings evident in these relationships.
Beyond this, Nigeria and china to a large extent have come a long way and both cannot afford to lose now. Thus, it behooves upon us to study the pattern of relationship that exist between these countries as it will be of great benefit to the political thinkers. Foreign policy makers, economists, to list a few.
Statement of Problem
Overtime, it has become a noteworthy of cognizance, to critically look beyond the peripheral appearance of relationships that exists between nations state in the international system, in a quest to vividly understand the reasons for friends and foes in the international system. As a result of globalization majorly taking sway in the 21st century, interdependencies have further deepened and nations state also adjusting to the trends and dictates of it. Given this, the emergence of china was aided and made public by this concept. For Nigeria to adjust to globalization, china became an apparent helping hand and a necessity.
However, in as much as the relationship seems irresistible, the basic problem of sincerity of intentions still plays a limiting factor. Thus it becomes important to look at the how apt the relationship is on a win-win side.
Analysis shows that hegemonic stance of china in international politics has allowed it benefit more from relating with struggling African countries whom usually because of their internal politics stay at the bottom of the food chain. Thus, given the internal dynamics of Nigeria politics that features corruption as its shortcoming and has overtime formed a cliché in the Nigerian political milieu, the possibilities of achieving a win-win situation has really been hampered.
Flowing from the foregoing it becomes necessary to study the root and patterns of this relationship which necessitated the reasons for the research.
Objective of Study.
In the light of the above, the broad objective of this work is to appraise the interactions between Nigeria and china political and economic relations between the periods of 1999 to 2014.
The specific objective of this research work will however include:
- To examine the impacts of China Nigeria relations on the political and economic environment of Nigeria
- To analyze the foreign policies of both countries especially being aware of the divides in political processes.
- To identify the impacts of domestic factors on what have impacted the relationship from
1999 to 2014
- What impact has the relationship between China and Nigeria impacted on the political and economic environment of Nigeria?
- How has the relationship affected both nations‟ foreign policies?
- Discuss the domestic factors that have impacted in the relationship between China and Nigeria from 1999-2014.
H1: The China Nigerian relation has a positive impact on the political and economic environment of Nigeria.
H0: The China Nigerian relation has a negative impact on the political and economic environment of Nigeria.
H1: In a large part, both states benefit immensely in the growth of their foreign policies due to information shearing
H0: In a large part, both states do not benefit immensely in the growth of their foreign policies due to information shearing.
H1: The china Nigeria relations have greatly impacted the domestic front of Nigeria.
H0: The China Nigeria relations have not greatly impacted the domestic front of Nigeria.
Significance of Study
Owing to the importance of development and growth to nations, Nigeria-China study becomes imperative for study consideration. Thus, this study becomes relevant to policy makers; foreign and internal, governmental agencies, business thinkers, students, political and economic analyst to list a few. It will further be useful as a source of information for further researchers in the academic field.
Scope of study
Given the political history of both countries, relevant or grounded frameworks for relationship especially for economic reasons were not laid until 1999 when Nigeria began to enjoy a lasting democratic political process. Thus the study will like to examine this relationship starting from then till 2014. However, in as much as hypothesis and conclusions are subject to debates, the study does not seek to grapple issues with the existing thoughts patterns…
This thesis is presented in five chapters. (Chapter 1) provides a general introduction, background of the study. Chapter2 provides further information on the conceptual and theoretical framework. This is done to make the reader appreciate the relevance of the current research especially in the Nigerian context. It further helps to deepen the entire conception of the thesis and provide a specific context for the study. Also expands on the theoretical background of the study and also reviews the literature on studies related to ours. The third chapter presents the methodology of the study. The focus of the fourth chapter is to find the analysis of the study .The final chapter (chapter 5), provides concluding discussions and recommendations. Further, a summary of the main thesis of the study is presented, the management implications of the study given and also the study limitations and recommendations for management and for further academic research provided in the final chapter.
DEFINITION OF TERMS:
- Political: It refers to a connection with power and status within an organization, rather than with matters of principles.
- Economic: It deals with trade, industry and development of wealth of a country, an area or a society.
- Bilateral relations: This refers to the involvement or agreement between two groups or people or two countries.
- Democracy: A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
- Foreign policy: This can be defined as a set of explicit objective that a state seeks to achieve in international system.
- Diplomacy:can be defined in the following way asNegotiation between nations, assubtly skillful handling of a situation, and also asWisdom in the management of public affairs.