1.1 Background to the study
Just like every other independent nation in the international system, Nigeria conducts its foreign policy and relations with other states in ways it deems appropriate as nations cannot successfully function in isolation. Every independent states foreign policy is based on considerations of its vital national interest. According to Frankel (cited in Gosh 2009:62), “National interest refers to some ideal set of goals which a state would like to realize, if possible with its relations with other states in the international system. From the standpoint of Omede (2003), the pursuit of national’s interest over the years presupposes that a nation preoccupies itself with the provision of security-military and economic for its citizenry. Arguing similarly, Adeleke (2010) opined that as important as economy is in the relations among states, so also is culture and politics which could engender greater understanding in relations among states, thus making external relations with state one that covers multiple issues. So also, Nigeria as a country has bi-lateral economic relations with various countries of the world this correlates with her aspiration to grow economically. During the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Nigeria had a foreign policy with China on oil trading especially since her relation with the United State was deteriorating by the day. Meanwhile, the central thesis of this work is to unravel the impacts (positive/negative) of China-Nigeria bilateral relations 2010-2018.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem Nigeria is one the African countries that has been beset with many impediments that has impacted negatively on economic development of the country. Nationally, many factors tend to militate against development thus the need for an international relation between the country and other developed countries of the world such as China as in the case of this study. To be candid, within the few past years, China has been Nigeria’s oil exporting partner. However, the implication from this trade analysis is that the Sino- Nigeria trade which has increased since both countries started relations has largely been export of primary products to China and import of finished products to Nigeria, particularly, as Nigeria lacks the technological know- how to produce the finished goods.
For China these advantages have been widening trade imbalance in her favor, access to large Nigerian domestic market with penchant for imported goods and avenue to invest heavily in underdeveloped sectors of the Nigerian economy. China has set up over 30 solely owned companies or joint venture in Nigeria actively involved in the construction, oil and gas, technology, services and education sectors of the Nigerian economy. Some of the wholly foreign owned investments are: ZTE Nigeria Investment limited, Plas Alliance Company, Royal Motors Company limited etc. some of these Chinese investments have also benefitted from incentives in the country such as pioneer status and expatriate quotas. According to UNCTAD, Nigeria accounted for over 80 percent of about $7 billion inflow to West Africa and this was dominated by Nigeria’s oil industry, these inflows mostly originated from China. With the picture above, it seems that the benefit accruing from the relations have always favoured China. In the area of trade, China exports more to Nigeria resulting in huge trade imbalances to its favour. For instance, according to the World Integrated Trade Solution Database, in 2011, China’s total imports to Nigeria in 2010 were valued at US$2.3 billion in contrast to Nigeria’s export to China within that same year valued at US$503.9 million with export of mineral fuel accounting for about 90% of total exports. Also, the expansion of Nigeria’s economic interactions with China is constrained by the inadequacy of the industrial infrastructure for the promotion of relations. Nigeria’s underdeveloped infrastructure is often seen as one of the major impediments to economic development, and successive governments have made concerted efforts to rectify the situation. It is therefore very obvious that the relations between China-Nigeria is detrimental to the development of the latter or how then can one explain the fact that despite all these years of relations Nigeria is still wallowing in chronic poverty while China continues to shine as one of the economic giant of the world. This curiosity is the bases for this research.
1.3 Research Questions From the foregoing discussion, this work seeks to answer the following questions: Why is it that despite the level of socio-economic relationship between China and Nigeria, corresponding development has not been achieved in Nigeria? What are the implications of the China-Nigeria relations on the development of Nigeria? To what extent do China economic policies contribute to the development crisis in Nigeria?
1.4 Objectives of the study The objectives of the study are: To examine the relationship between China-Nigeria bilateral relation and Nigeria’s development status. To unravel the implications of China-Nigeria bilateral relations on the economic development of Nigeria. To suggest alternative development strategy to Nigeria.
1.5 Statement of Hypotheses The work will be guided by the following hypothesis: China-Nigeria bilateral relations tend to militate against development in Nigeria. There tend to be a wide-trade imbalance between China-Nigeria bilateral relations. The higher the rate of China-Nigeria relations, the less the development of Nigeria.