Nigerian Journal of Economic History

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Sino-Nigeria relations with particular reference to oil-for-infrastructure diplomacy, 1971-2007: an appraisal

Tochukwu I. Okeke


Since the establishment of bilateral relations between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Peoples’ Republic of China in 1971, relations have been quite eventful. From a simple start, it evolved through intermittence to a complex engagement since the dawn of the 21st century. The complexities of this engagement have been a subject of various interpretations, especially as it concerns the oilfor-infrastructure diplomacy that developed with Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. Though they sound ‘plausible’, some of these interpretations are not based on facts, hence they project very misleading analysis of an evolving history between Nigeria and China. The main objective of this paper, therefore, is to interrogate the facts and the fictions that surround the oil-for-infrastructure diplomacy, in a wider context of Nigeria-China history, so as to correct the erroneous impressions. Deploying both primary and secondary sources of history, the paper studies and submits that the relationship had witnessed modest progress, as well as some clear challenges, above which they are rising to forge closer ties. Today, Nigeria-China relation is evidently undergoing a process of transformation characterized by some degree of progress and prospects. How the interplay of these elements of change and continuity impact on the development of Nigeria-China bilateral relations forms the fundamental thesis that runs through the paper.

AJOL African Journals Online