After months of talks, China has offered Nigeria a loan worth $6b to fund infrastructure projects, according to the Nigerian foreign ministry. The announcement came as both countries signed a currency swap deal to boost trade, Reuters reported.
“It is a credit that is on the table as soon as we identify the projects,” Nigerian Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, told reporters after Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, met Chinese President, Xi Jinping, according to The Africa Report. “It will not need an agreement to be signed. It is just to identify the projects and we access it.”
While there was no immediate comment from China, Lin Songtian, Director General of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s African affairs department, had earlier said that Nigeria would be able to benefit from a $55b package for Africa, which mostly consists of concessional grants or export lines.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and its top oil producer, but its public finances have suffered as the price of crude oil dropped. In fact, although President Muhammadu Buhari wants to triple capital spending in 2016, he also needs to plug a projected deficit of $11.1b.