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CHINA'S PRESENCE IN NIGERIA: A CASE OF COLONIALISM OR WIN-WIN STRATEGY

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CHINA'S PRESENCE IN NIGERIA: A CASE OF COLONIALISM OR WIN-WIN STRATEGY

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

According to the latest data from the International Monetary Fund World Economic (2017), China now has the second biggest economy in the world. Since Deng Xiaoping began his overhaul of China's economic system in 1978 and continued his work after that, the nation has taken steps toward market liberalization and has seen significant economic expansion as a result (Huenemann, 2015). After the conclusion of the Cold War in 1991, China's interest in the African continent continued to grow. According to Tull (2016), they had the goal of becoming Africa's main developmental partner by consolidating their investments and expanding their commerce with and among the many nations that make up Africa. Since 1991, approximately 900 Chinese businesses have invested in oil wells, farms, industries, and retail stores in various regions of Africa (Brautigam, 2019). These investments may be found in a variety of countries throughout the continent. In addition, China made the decision to initiate a variety of development and assistance projects across various regions of Africa. Their approach to international relations with the African continent is one that emphasizes the importance of mutual collaboration, cooperation, and benefit to all parties involved. This is the cornerstone of their foreign policy. According to Tull (2016), a mentality like this may point to a win-win scenario for both parties, which would give them the impression that they are benefiting tremendously from this better relationship.

On the other hand, in recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of publications and officials who have accused China of harboring colonial aspirations in Africa. There have been stories with eye-catching titles such as "China Is Africa's New Colonial Overlord" (International Business Time, 2016) and extensive pieces from the New York Times examining "Is China the World's New Colonial Power?" (New York Times, 2017). Both of these publications pose the question: "Is China the new colonial power of the world?" Additionally, there have been academics who have argued about "Why Chinese Infrastructure Loans in Africa Represent a Brand-New Type of Neo-colonialism" (The Diplomat, 2017) in well-respected and highly ranking research journals such as "The Diplomat." These scholars have written their arguments about "Why Chinese Infrastructure Loans in Africa Represent a Brand-New Type of Neo-colonialism." A state secretary in the German parliament previously made the following statement: "Our African partners really do need to watch out to make sure that they will not be facing a new process of colonization in their relations with China." cited in Taylor (2019). Former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is another individual who has seen colonial elements in China and has been vocal in his criticism of China's stance toward Africa. Mbeki is credited as having said the following: "The potential danger is the emergence of an unequal relationship similar to that which existed in the past between African colonies and the colonial powers." Not only may China come to our country to mine raw materials for export, but it can also turn around and offer us finished products, according to Taylor (2019). Even Hillary Clinton, who served as Secretary of State for the United States before she left office, has been quoted as accusing China of engaging in "new colonialism" in Africa (Bloomberg, 2021).

However, China's foreign minister Wang Yi did respond to these accusations in 2015 while he was in Kenya by denying claims of colonial abuses by stating: "China absolutely will not take the old path of Western colonists, and we absolutely will not sacrifice Africa's ecological environment and long-term interests" (Manero, 2017). This statement was made while Wang Yi was in Kenya. China's foreign minister Wang Yi responded to these accusations in 2015 while he was in Kenya.The year 1971 marked the beginning of diplomatic ties between Nigeria and China. Two years later, in 1972, a six-man team headed by Nigeria's senior government official traveled to Beijing to sign an open-ended agreement on economic and technological cooperation and trade (Ogunsanwo, 2018). Following the signing of the open-ended agreement, many high-level Nigerian delegations traveled to China. The most notable of these trips took place in 1974 and was led by General Yakubu Gowon, who was serving as the leader of Nigeria's military government at the time (Ogunsanwo, 2018). Since the beginning of their bilateral ties in 1971 (Ogunsanwo, 2018), Nigeria and China have been blessed with fruitful relations (Ogunsanwo, 2018). Every democratically elected president of Nigeria has been to China since the country's first election of a democratic government in 1999, with the exception of the current president, Muhammadu Buhari, who was only recently voted to office. On the other hand, the sole Chinese head of state to visit Nigeria was Hu Jintao, and he did so on two separate occasions, in 2004 and 2006 (Umejei, 2015).

At the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, the leaders of both countries made a joint commitment to maintain their countries' bi-lateral ties and strategic cooperation (Fmprc, 2015). This served to underline the cordial connections that already existed between the two nations. The first diplomatic ties between the two countries were established in February 1971, and Nigeria and China have enjoyed cordial ties ever since (Ogunsanwo, 2018). China, which is Nigeria's economic partner, has been highly persistent and concentrated in her dealings with Nigeria throughout the course of the last many decades. Even though economic ties between Nigeria and China have been volatile at times, the Chinese have made it a point to guarantee that their market share in Nigeria is on an upward trajectory despite these fluctuations. This should give the impression that China has a strategy in place for its involvement with Africa over the long term.In the meanwhile, China and Nigeria have a startlingly large number of similarities. Both of these nations are multi-racial, and they celebrate their national day on the same day. In addition, China is home to 56 distinct ethnic groups, while Nigeria is home to around 250. The population of China is not only the greatest in Asia but also the largest in the globe, while Nigeria has the highest population of any country in Africa. During its time under colonial rule, China was subjected to humiliation and occupation; Nigeria, on the other hand, had its fair share of experience with colonialism and humiliation.The commercial ties between the two countries, Nigeria and China, have recently come into clearer focus. One may purchase anything at practically every market in Nigeria, including those in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba, Kano, and Nnewi. These markets sell Chinese textiles, food items, pharmaceuticals, electrical goods, phones, laptops, and kitchen utensils. China was responsible for the conception, construction, and a portion of the funding for NIGCOMSAT-1, Nigeria's communications satellite (Adanma, 2015).

China was also responsible for the launch of the NIGCOMSAT-1. As a result, Nigeria is engaged in a substantial amount of trade and investment activity with China at the present time. In recent years, the government of Nigeria has observed that Chinese businesses are more responsive to the country's current economic issues than their western counterparts. In point of fact, the Olusegun Obasanjo Administration (1999-2007) was accompanied by a quickening of the pace of bilateral ties between Nigeria and China. Therefore,the study seeks to examine China's presence in Nigeria, whether it is a case of colonialism or win-win strategy.

    1. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

According to Broadman (2017), the beginning of Nigeria-China commercial relations may be traced back to the early 1960s, when a Chinese diplomatic mission traveled to Nigeria in the hopes of establishing diplomatic ties with the nation. Scholars of foreign policy have continued to create study works on the bilateral connection that now exists between Nigeria and China ever since that time.Trade deals between China and various African countries, especially Nigeria, are frequently unbalanced, with China getting to be the big winner in these deals (Taylor, 2016). Those who fear and perceive China's economic involvement in Africa as posing a significant neocolonial threat do so because they are aware of the fact that trade deals between China and various African countries, especially Nigeria, are frequently unequal. There is also a problem with Chinese made items that make their way into the marketplaces in Nigeria. This has resulted in local manufacturers and merchants being harmed or driven out of business entirely, which is another source of the problem. According to Draper (2016), the inevitable end result of this chain of events will be to have a detrimental impact not just on the rate of unemployment but also on the labor market.

The Chinese are "building walls" around their industries and businesses, making it much more difficult for the local African population to get work in those sectors, even for unqualified positions (Lagerkvist, 2022). This problem has caused frustration amongst the people of Africa, where the general attitude towards China's presence in Africa and Nigeria as a whole is based on the argument that, the Chinese are "building walls" around their industries and businesses. This indicates that Chinese businesses are open to the idea of importing laborers from China rather than making use of the labor force that is available locally. According to research that was conducted by Hanauer and Morris (2015), even those natives of the area who are ultimately employed are given a much lower salary than their Chinese coworkers. According to Hanauer and Morris (2015), one major concern is that China is "knocking out" indigenous enterprises, which is a significant problem since African nations are, in some ways, losing territory and control.According to the findings of other research, the question of whether or not the connection between China and Africa and the nature of their relationship can be classified as neocolonial is, as has been established, a complicated one. The fact that there are no IRtheories that can definitively explain the connection between Africa and China is another reason why it might be regarded in this manner. This is due to the fact that the activities and actions of China in Africa are not static (Tukumbi, 2021).

Even though China's foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa is gradually growing, this investment is not being distributed evenly throughout the continent's various nations. There are trade reports that demonstrate how China is investing in a wide array of industries where there is no dearth of cash. A significant portion of its assets are, in point of fact, placed in nations that are abundant in minerals and oil, such as Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, and Libya. According to the OECD, these nations are also the ones that get the most amount of foreign direct investment from China in the area (Tukumbi, 2021). Hence, the study seeks to look into China's presence in Nigeria, whether it is a case of colonialism or win-win strategy.

    1. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The broad objective of the study is to examine China's presence in Nigeria: a case of colonialism or win-win strategy. The specific objectives is as follows:

  1. To ascertain if the Nigeria-China bilateral trade agreements has enhanced the volume of Chinese trade with Nigeria.

  2. To examine the challenges facing the Nigeria-China trade relations

  3. To find out if the history of china presence in Nigeria is a case of colonialism.

    1. RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

  1. Has the Nigeria-China bilateral trade agreements enhanced the volume of Chinese trade with Nigeria?

  2. What are the challenges facing the Nigeria-China trade relations?

  3. Is the history of china presence in Nigeria is a case of colonialism?

    1. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study will lay emphasis on general historic knowledge of bilateral relation between Nigeria and China especially in the area of bilateral trade relations.

The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government, organizations on the opportunities provided by the trade partnership between Nigeria and China, and the nature of economic relations and its effects on national development.

This study is valuable to the field of International Relations and also academia as it relates the challenges and prospect of bilateral trade relations .

The study is significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

    1. SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study will examine China's presence in Nigeria: a case of colonialism or win-win strategy , specifically, it will ascertain if the Nigeria-China bilateral trade agreements has enhanced the volume of Chinese trade with Nigeria. The study will also examine the challenges facing the Nigeria-China trade relations. Lastly, the study will find out if the history of china presence in Nigeria is a case of colonialism.

1.87RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Research methodology deals with the different ways or methods the researcher applied in order to carry out the research as well as the instrument used for gathering the data. There are several research methodologies appropriate for answering the research questions. The type of research methodology used in this research to gather data and relevant information is the historical research and the study will adopt descriptive method of data collection. This will involve the collection of materials from secondary sources, such as books, journal articles, magazines, internet sources, international and national conference proceedings, published and unpublished articles.

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

The study consisted of five chapters. Chapter one comprised background and a general introduction to the work. It included statement of problem of the study, highlighted the objectives of the study, the scope within which the research was conducted is also highlighted. An outline of how the work is organized is also detailed in the chapter one. The chapter two of the study reviewed if the Nigeria-China bilateral trade agreements has enhanced the volume of Chinese trade with Nigeria. The chapter three examine the challenges facing the Nigeria-China trade relations.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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