President Muhammadu Buhari will head for South Africa this Thursday to participate in a Forum on China/Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) taking place in Johannesburg on December 4 and 5.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said Buhari would at the forum, follow up his meeting with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, which took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in November in New York at the forum.
Buhari had indicated to Xi Jinping at the bilateral meeting in New York that he wanted China to recommence the stalled rail projects under new terms that would see China providing nearly all the financing required.
The statement cited the coastal railway project stretching for 1,402 kilometres linking Lagos in the west with Calabar in the east, a project that was expected to be financed with a $12 billion Chinese loan and would create about 200,000 jobs.
Garba said: “Another rail project that will be up for renegotiation is the $8.3 billion Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernisation project, of which only a segment, Kaduna-Abuja, has reached completion stage.
“Buhari is also expected to discuss ways of removing all obstacles in the way of the 3,050MW Mambila power station, considered a strategic project which was conceived in 1982 but has not taken off.”
The statement said the Chinese president had informed Buhari of the willingness of his country to finance the whole project through a special loan agreement.
The president, who will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; Minister of Transportation, Chubuike Amaechi; and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, will return to Abuja on Saturday.