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Chinese railway firm declares Nigeria biggest, important market in Africa, plans Varsity

Indication has emerged from Beijing, China that China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) Limited is set to deliver a University in Nigeria as part of its strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Executive President of CRCC Limited, Cao Baogang, made the disclosure in China during a tour of the facility in Beijing by select Nigerian journalists.

He said the plan to build a university in Nigeria, was part of its technology-transfer policy and contribution to the largest economy in Africa.

Giving possible location of the University as Lagos or Port Harcourt, Baogang said “We want to build a college or university; either in Lagos or Port Harcourt, for training Nigerians. As in China, we have a university called Beijing Jiaotong University, Chengdu. In Nigeria, I think we need another Jiaotong university.

“We fully support technology transfer, because, in 2015, President Xi Jinping fully spoke about it. We will try our best to do that and put one in Nigeria,” Baogang said.

He, however, disclosed that the railway firm has had to contend with Boko Haram in the North.

“In 2011, Boko Haram killed some of our staff in Maiduguri, Borno and Yobe states but, we will try our best with the Federal, state local governments to get working again because security is most important for any economy to thrive.Without security, the economy cannot thrive. Railways are important for Nigeria…Funding is important and it’s a difficult time for Nigeria because of the crash in crude oil price, which is affecting availability of funds…”

Baogang said CRCC is undeterred because “Nigeria is the biggest, important market” followed by Angola, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

He also spoke on the Kaduna/Abuja railway project which he said was “completed in July 2016, at an estimated $850 million” and financing of new structures at Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna airports, with $1.2 billion loan from China-EXIM Bank.

On his part, Vice President of China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), a subsidiary of CRCC, Zhang Wenjin, disclosed CRCC is the “major investor” in Lekki Free Zone and reiterated it as an “important platform for Chinese and international companies,” which, when completed, will “improve Nigeria’s industrialisation.”

Weijun added that the most important part of the Lekki Free Zone is the Deep Sea Port, of which talks with the Lagos State Government are on-going.

“Money is no problem for CRCC but infrastructure is most important. Deep Sea Port is most important for the Lekki Free Zone but, discussion has not been concluded. Money is no problem for CRCC and we are discussing with the Lagos State government, but it’s yet to be concluded. CRCC is working seriously for the Deep Sea Port…”

CRCC started operations in Nigeria in 1981, and today, has over 100 on-going projects in the country.

The group had been handling many construction works both for several states and federal government over the years.

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