Thursday 28 April 2016


It was an intellectual feast at the two-day summit (26th-27th April, 2016 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja) on China-Africa relations hosted by the Africa Today Magazine team. Celebrated speakers from in and outside Nigeria were there:

*The Right Hon. Sir Vince Cable, British Politician & Economist
*Prof. Howard French, Former New York Times Bureau Chief, Beijing, China & Associate Prof, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
*Ms Yun Sun, Fellow, Africa Growth Initiative, The Brookings Institution,Washington DC
*Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria
*Waheed Olagunju, MD, Bank of Industry, Abuja
*Barr. Ken Ukaoh, President, National Association of Nigerian Traders
*Chief Edem, President, Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA)
*Dr. Frank Jacobs, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN)

The verdict at the Summit was that Nigeria, the country with the highest population in Africa, could gain a lot more from relations with China if the 'rules of engagement' are pragmatically put in place by the Nigerian government. I was a participant at the summit where the following issues were addressed:

*The role of government in providing 'mutually' beneficial relations between Nigeria and China.
*The effect of backward integration in commodity-based industrialisation strategy.
*The role of development partners in concessional funding.
*The impact of Nigeria's Bank of Industry & The Infrastructure Bank.

However, because there were so many stakeholders/speakers/issues, etc, there was not enough time for me to articulate the issue of a CONFLICT RESOLUTION/TRANSFORMATION FRAMEWORK to address the grey areas of China-Nigeria relations. This is my area of specialisation. I therefore recommend Mediation on the conflict resolution spectrum to effectively address issues in contention between the two countries while not losing sight of Arbitration as another mechanism for resolving issues without resorting to the courts. The following are some of the areas where China-Nigeria relations could benefit from Mediation and Arbitration:

*Nigeria should put in place a viable updated Trade Policy after due consultation with relevant stakeholders.
*Nigerians, and indeed the Chinese should patronise more Nigeria-made goods so that the relationship becomes more symbiotic than lopsided.
*Regulatory agencies in Nigeria should be on their toes to prevent sub-standard Chinese goods from entering through our borders.
*There should be a well-defined direction for Nigeria's investment in China. Such investors, whether public or private, should be known to Nigerians.

The conflict resolution framework is a continuum. We can start with Mediation while making Arbitration available to both Nigerian and Chinese negotiators if and when necessary. I (Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa) am ready to make my expertise in the area of Peace & Conflict Transformation/Resolution available. Once again, kudos to the Africa Today Magazine team for a wonderful Summit!

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