Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China have signed a joint Culture and Tourism Statute and inaugurated a sub-committee that would further strengthen bilateral cooperation between both countries.
Representatives of both countries signed the act and inaugurated the committee during a virtual event hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Abuja on Wednesday.
During the event, China’s Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Zhang Xu while recalling that Nigeria and China “have enjoyed good bilateral relations in the past 50 years,” noted that culture and tourism have played critical roles in strengthening the ties.
He revealed that the aim of adopting the act and establishing the sub-committee was to promote inter-cultural collaboration and connectivity between the Chinese and Nigerian people in furtherance of China-Africa relations.
He said the establishment of an inter-governmental committee with Nigeria is the first-ever between China and Africa, noting that this action testifies to how important and strategic China considered Nigeria.
He said: “As important contributors to the strategic partnership between our two countries, culture and tourism should play greater roles in increasing the people-to-people connectivity for the benefit of the two countries.
“That is the mission of the culture and tourism sub-committee that we are establishing today.
“Therefore, members of our ministries and sub-committees must make good use of the platform in alignment with the objectives of FOCAC, its eight ministerial meetings, Belt and Road Initiative, and FOCAC Action Plan 2022-2024.”
He added: “We must work together to offset the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact and the planned programmes that the sub-committee covers such as culture, tourism, publishing heritage, library, and museum.
“Our goal must always be to promote our interculturality, and cultural collaboration, full relationship and connectivity between China and Nigeria people in the new areas of China-Africa relations.”
Zhang advised the sub-committee to ensure the promotion of activities and events that would further boost cultural ties between both countries.
He said: “I will like to propose as follow; keep working on events like Happy Chinese New Year, Chinese and African culture in focus, resume mutual visit of artists as soon as the pandemic situation allows.
“Also, we should continue to carry out capacity-building programmes in culture and tourism and support cooperation between Chinese and Nigerian cultural businesses.”
On his part, the Ambassador of China to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun said that the establishment of the Act and sub-committee on Culture and tourism is a good start to a greater future with new dynamics.
The Ambassador said that in a generation where the youth are taking the lead with great innovations, reinvigorating the culture and tourism sector will help boost both economies with mutual benefits.
According to him: “The establishment of the sub-committee on Culture and tourism is really a milestone.
“I do believe we are doing good things now because culture and tourism mean a lot to young people. We have already embarked on a new journey of mutually beneficial cooperation and we all believe that a thousand miles begin with a single step.
“The potentials of our cooperation in the fields of culture and tourism will surely be further released and a better tomorrow must belong to us.”
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr. Ifeoma Anyawutaku, who led the Nigerian team to the signing, said the potentialities in the creative sector in Nigeria were untapped and that the new cooperation would help facilitate that.
She said Nigeria will also leverage this to diversify its economy by adequately harnessing the potentials in the culture and tourism sector.
Anyawutaku said: “While taking a cursory look at the Statutes of the sub-committee on Culture and Tourism, Nigeria, as well as China have reviewed our achievements and experiences in the cultural and tourism exchanges and cooperation.
“Under the framework of the Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). This evaluation and experience will help reposition the culture and tourism sector. For the development of both countries and the reinforcement of our bilateral cooperation.”
The establishment of the sub-committee and drafting of the act was an outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the foreign ministers of both countries with the aim of boosting bilateral ties.
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi had signed the MoU on behalf of his country during his visit to Nigeria while his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama signed on behalf of the Federal Government.