Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has said that about 14 Chinese companies with a trade volume of about $3.7 billion were operating in the state.
Umahi made the disclosure in Abakaliki when the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, paid him a courtesy call.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, Umahi said that Ebonyi have several agreements and protocols with the China in its bid to become one of the best economies in the country.
“The desire to achieve this aim made the governor to visit you in Abjua as China that used to be one of the ‘poorest’ countries in the world suddenly skyrocketed to an enviable economy,” the governor said.
He thanked the ambassador for the visit, noting that he was the first public officer to visit him since his re-election.
Earlier in his remark, Pinjian projected that abject poverty would be eliminated in China by 2020 due to the sustained, rapid transformation of its economy.
Pingjian noted that by Oct. 1, 1949 when China was formed and up to 1978 during its acclaimed reforms, the country was one of the most backward countries in the world.
“Ninety-eight out of 100 Chinese then lived on the poverty line but I assure you that by the end of next 2020, abject poverty will be eliminated in China due to the rapid economic transformation witnessed since then.
“In the past four decades, according to world bank figures, China has lifted over 740 million people out of poverty and has an annual growth rate of 9.5 per cent,” he said.
The ambassador said that for the past 40 years since its 1978 reforms, China has attracted over $2 trillion in Direct Foreign Investments (DFI).
“The DFI keeps pouring, attracting over $138 billion in 2018 and is the largest from any developing country of the world.
“The country’s outbound investments have also attracted over $100 billion and we intend to grow with our friends such as Ebonyi, Nigeria and Africa,” he said.
He noted that the National Peoples Congress (Chinese legislature) recently passed the important Foreign Investment Law which entails China opening its doors for investment from the outside world.
“We believe that openness brings progress as some industries, especially the labour intensive ones, are relocating fast to neighbouring countries and outside world.
“We want to see more Chinese investment in Ebonyi, Nigeria and Africa for the needed mutual cooperation in the economy and other sectors of national life,” he said.
He congratulated Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on his re-election, noting that the country would partner Ebonyi, especially in the area of rice production.