Nigeria-China Economic Relations Under the South-South Cooperation
The defining characteristic of the South-South solidarity is cooperation among the member countries of the South. The original vision was for member countries to promote trade as well as to demonstrate, through practical examples, how commercially viable projects can be implemented using the technology, experience and capital from the South. Regrettably, these dreams still remain unfulfilled. The experience gained by the developing countries after several years of bilateral interaction with the North underscores the idea that South-South trade should be symmetrical. However the most discernible pattern in the South-South relationship is still asymmetrical. A case in point is the Nigeria-China relations which appear to be in great disequilibrium and to China’s advantage.
As the bilateral relations have progressed from cultural linkages to intense economic penetration of the Nigerian economy, observers of Nigeria’s international relations have become highly conscious of the reciprocal need to transform this intensive relationship into a mutually constructive one, that is towards the promotion of a more symmetrical relationship. This article, using dependency approach, demonstrates that these disparities actually account for the sharp differences in the outcomes of the bilateral trade and the level of development in the two countries. It also draws some vital lessons not only for Nigeria but also for other sub-Saharan African countries to learn from China in terms of the approach to economic reforms and development experience.
The study seeks also to identify the crucial aspects of Nigeria-China bilateral interactions, assess the receptivity to the Chinese penetration of the Nigerian economy and the changing perspectives on the viability of the bilateral relations.