Vice President Kashim Shettima on Sunday departed Nigeria to represent President Bola Tinubu at the 3rd Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum in Beijing, China, to be held from Oct. 16 to 18.
This was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Office of the Vice President, Mr Stanley Nkwocha, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
Nkwocha said Shettima would join world leaders from over 130 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America to deliberate on the theme, “High-quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity.”
According to him, the vice president is expected to avail Nigeria of the platform provided by the forum to woo investors for more developmental projects.
Nkwocha added that the Vice President would hold bilateral meetings with other world leaders to promote Nigeria’s trade and investment relations in line with the economic development agenda of the Tinubu administration.
“The 2023 edition of the BRI will mark the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) championed by the President of China, Xi Jinping, as an initiative for global infrastructure development strategy, adopted and launched by the government of the People’s Republic of China in 2013.
“The initiative seeks international action to enhance cooperation and promote infrastructure investment in nearly 70 countries across Asia, Africa and Europe through land and maritime routes.”
He recalled that in 2018, former President, Muhammadu Buhari, on behalf of Nigeria, signed the Belt and Road cooperation agreement with China.
“Nigeria and other partner countries across the world are to benefit from the initiative in areas of infrastructure investments such as ports, skyscrapers, railroads, roads, bridges, airports, dams and coal-fired power stations.”
Nkwocha said the delegation of the vice president to the forum includes the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu and the Minister of Transportation, Sa’idu Alkali.
Others are the Minister Of Works, David Umahi, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite; the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, and the Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Michael Ohiani.
In a related development, Nkwocha said in pursuance of the food security and diversification policy of the Tinubu administration, the vice president will, from China, depart for the United States of America, USA.
“While in the US as a special guest, Shettima will deliver a keynote address at the African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Food Prize – facilitated Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue slated to commence on October 24th, 2023.
“Also, he will join other African international leaders, Heads of State and Government who in the past have delivered keynote addresses at the Borlaug Dialogue.
“They include former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan; World Food Prize Laureates; Ghana President, John Kufuor, AfDB President, Akinwunmi Adeshina and former President Olusegun Obasanjo and others.”
The media aide also stated that Shettima was expected to highlight reforms being instituted in the Nigerian Agrifood sector by the Tinubu administration.
“The vice president will engage several stakeholders, partners and investors in opportunities for investments in Nigeria.
“Several meetings and engagements have been scheduled for the vice president who is expected to be back in the country after his commitments in the US.”