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WASHINGTON – Beijing, which already has extensive holdings in Nigeria, is taking advantage of the lack of response from the U.S. to the strategic West African country’s need for military cooperation to expand its own oil and trade relations with Abuja, says a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Nigeria has become a major source of oil and petroleum for China’s growing economy. At the same time, Abuja is looking to Beijing to help it achieve economic growth, and military support. China and Nigeria now have signed a strategic partnership to help both countries achieve their respective interests.
Nigeria had sought U.S. help in fighting Islamist insurgent in its oil-rich Niger Delta but that assistance wasn’t forthcoming. Instead, Nigeria has turned to China for arms, equipment, training and technology for the Nigerian armed forces.
China’s military assistance now is regarded as extensive in developing close relations between senior Chinese and Nigerian military officers. In addition, the People’s Liberation Army is providing training to make Nigeria’s military colonels into general officers and has provided arms sales which include the Chinese-made supersonic F-7 fighter aircraft. China will help Nigeria to develop a squadron of F-7s, which will form the backbone of the Nigerian Air Force.
Now, China is helping Nigeria to build a domestic arms industry and naval capacity in the gulf of Guinea, which will help in China’s new doctrine of power projection beyond its traditional area of the South China Sea.
PLAN assistance to the Nigerian navy will provide modernized equipment for Nigeria to meet what it perceives are security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.
Nigeria is but one country where Beijing is extending its influence into Africa, working with countries that not only are sources of oil and natural resources but those on bodies of water that will give China strategic port facilities for its projection of naval power in the near future.
Other countries where China is helping African countries with infrastructure development include Kenya, Ethiopia, Angola, Sudan, South Sudan, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Algeria, Libya, Liberia and Chad. Beijing is undertaking economic development with these countries in cooperation with the African Union.
Analysts say that China’s approach with African countries is opposite from the history of Western colonial powers who extracted resources but left the countries destitute. Even now, China’s oil is less than what Europeans and the United States acquire from African countries.
While Western countries and the U.S. have provided assistance over the years, China now is doing the same, but it is not interfering in the internal affairs of these African countries. Analysts say that the perception is that Western countries have always sought to impose their ideologies and values on African countries.
Unlike the Western countries, analysts say that China never has sought lands and has actually been a major exporter to the African countries of agricultural products.
Western countries apparently occupy an estimated 15 percent of Africa’s current farmland and take products from these lands and export for biofuels, with little return to the African countries.
Analysts say that the success of China in Africa has more to do with its approach, as opposed to the practice of Western countries in Africa. It views its assistance based more on equality and mutual aid between developing countries which China also regards itself.
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