Nigeria’s government has agreed a $328 million loan from Chinese state bank Exim to upgrade the country’s telecoms infrastructure.
The deal is the latest in a series of loan facilities between the Chinese state and the government of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in 2015.
Buhari’s administration described the loan as being between Nigeria’s Galaxy Backbone and China’s Huawei Technologies, saying it represented “the current administration’s commitment to incorporating the development of information and communications technology into national strategic planning”.
Inadequate telecoms infrastructure is a common and serious complaint among businesses looking to trade in Nigeria. The government is looking to address this issue in order to bring about greater economic growth and employment, as well as reduce the Nigerian economy’s dependence on selling oil.
For its part, China is increasingly looking to strengthen its diplomatic relationships with emerging markets, such as Nigeria and other African countries. Several major Chinese vendors are being frozen out of developed markets, with the US banning Huawei from selling equipment and imposing an import ban on ZTE. Australia recently moved to prevent both vendors from bidding on 5G contracts, and they are reportedly facing heightened security concerns in both Japan and the UK.