China and Italy Challenging Old Geo-Political World Order

This signed article by Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, was published March 20, in Corriere della Sera, a leading  Italian newspaper on the eve of his state visit to Italy. It is a beautiful expression of the potential alliance of “East and West.” The old geo-political order manipulated this so called division to maintain political domination. Hopefully, we are now embarking on a new era with the old-order is coming to an end. 

Chinese President, Xi Xinping, to arrive in Italy

East Meets West — A New Chapter of Sino-Italian Friendship

It is a great pleasure for me to pay a state visit to the Italian Republic at the invitation of President Sergio Mattarella in this blossoming season of spring. In 2011, I visited Rome on celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Italian unification and, in 2016, I had a stopover on Sardinia. I was deeply impressed by the way of life and industrial outlook of Italy that blend together the ancient and the modern, the classic and the novel. Now that I am about to set foot again on this beautiful country, it feels like I am to be among old friends, and get immersed in
their wonderful hospitality.

China and Italy are both stellar examples of Eastern and Western civilizations, and both have written splendid chapters in the history of human progress. Being the birthplace of ancient Roman civilization and the cradle of the Renaissance, Italy is known to the Chinese people for its imposing relic sites and masterpieces of great names in art and literature. Friendly ties between our two great civilizations go back a long way. As early as over 2,000 years ago, China and ancient Rome, though thousands of miles apart, were already connected by the Silk Road. During the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220), Chinese emissary Gan Ying was sent to search for “Da Qin”, the Chinese name of the Roman Empire at the time. Roman poet Virgil and geographer Pomponius Mela made many references to Seres, the land of silk. The famous explorer Marco Polo’s Travels roused the first wave of “China fever” among European countries. That pioneer of cultural exchanges between
East and West was followed by a long list of personages in search of friendship over the centuries.

In our own era, China-Italy relations, tracing the footsteps of our ancestors, are brimming with dynamism. The People’s Republic of China and the Italian Republic established diplomatic relations in 1970. In 2020, the two countries will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our relations. Through the past decades, our two countries have enjoyed mutual trust and close cooperation regardless of changes in the international landscape. Together, we have set a fine example of mutually beneficial relations between two countries that have different social systems,
cultural backgrounds and stages of development. The traditional friendship between us, stronger than ever, has become a strong pillar supporting the rapid and steady growth of our bilateral ties.

Sino-Italian friendship is rooted in our long history of exchanges. In the course of over two millennia, our two countries have embraced the principles of mutual respect, mutual learning, mutual trust and mutual understanding in our interactions, principles that underpin our long-lasting, ever-strong friendship. Confronted by the transformations and challenges of today’s world and informed by our deep appreciation of history, China and Italy both envision a new type of international relations that are built on mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and a community with a shared future for all mankind.

Sino-Italian friendship is embedded in our deep strategic trust. Both countries’ leaderships approach our relations from a strategic and long-term perspective. Since the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2004, our two countries, guided and driven by high-level exchanges, have given each other understanding and firm support on issues concerning our respective core interests and major concerns. Our strategic trust provides a firm underpinning for the long-term and steady growth of China-Italy relations.

Sino-Italian friendship is reflected in our multi-faceted cooperation. As key trading and investment partners for each other, China and Italy have deeply entwined interests. Two-way trade exceeded 50 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 and investment surpassed 20 billion dollars in accumulative terms. “Made in Italy” is a guarantee of quality, Italian fashion and furniture are immensely popular with Chinese consumers, and pizza and tiramisu are the love of many young Chinese. Every now and then, we hear stories about the success of Sino-Italian cooperation in satellite R&D and manned space exploration. Initiatives such as the China-Italy Science, Technology and Innovation Week, joint police patrols and football training, to name just a few, are applauded by people in both countries.

Sino-Italian friendship is carried forward through our intensive cultural exchanges. Chinese and Italians have a deep interest in each other’s cultures. A Chinese professor in his 70s spent 18 years translating Dante’s Divine Comedy, and after revising several drafts, completed this mammoth task before his final days. From Martino Martini, author of the first Chinese grammar book in Europe, to Giuliano Bertuccioli and Federico Masini who wrote Italy and China, many Italian Sinologists have built bridges between Europe and China and contributed to a
long-running boom of China studies on the Apennine Peninsula.

The well-known Italian writer Alberto Moravia once wrote, “Friendships are not chosen by chance, but according to the passions that dominate us.” In a world that faces profound changes of a kind unseen in a century, the onus is on us to bring China-Italy relations to a higher level and to jointly safeguard world peace, stability, development and prosperity. Through my upcoming visit, I hope to work with Italian leaders to map out the future of our relationship and move it into a new era.

China hopes to work with Italy to strengthen our comprehensive strategic partnership. Our two countries may plan more high-level exchanges and cooperation between our governments, parliaments, political parties and sub-national entities, strengthen policy communica-tion, enhance strategic trust and synergy, and continue to give understanding and support to each other on issues of core interests and major concerns, so as to consolidate the political foundation of our relations.

China hopes to work with Italy to advance Belt and Road cooperation. Our two countries may harness our historical and cultural bonds forged through the ancient Silk Road as well as our geographical locations to align connectivity cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative with Italy’s plan to develop its northern ports and the Invest-Italia program, and jointly build the Belt and Road of the new era on sea, on land, in the air, in space and in the cultural domain.

China hopes to work with Italy to expand cooperation into new areas. China will open up further to the rest of the world, and share its market opportunities with Italy and other countries through the annual China International Import Expo and other avenues. Our two countries may fully tap our cooperation potential in ports, logistics, ship-building, transportation, energy, telecommunications, medicine and other fields, and encourage our companies to partner with each other in third markets for win-win cooperation.

China hopes to work with Italy to promote closer people-to-people ties. As countries with the largest number of UNESCO world heritage sites, China and Italy have plenty of cultural and tourism resources. We may encourage our world heritage sites to forge twinning relationships and our cultural institutions and individuals to organize premium relic and art exhibitions. We may also encourage joint production of films and TV programs, the teaching of each other’s languages, as well as more mutual travel and visits. Through these exchanges, we will make new contributions to the diversity of civilizations and mutual learning between different cultures.

China hopes to strengthen coordination with Italy in international affairs and multilateral organizations. China is ready to enhance communication and collaboration with Italy in the United Nations (UN), the G20, Asia-Europe Meeting and the World Trade Organization (WTO) on global governance, climate change, UN reform, WTO reform and other major issues. Working together, we will promote our shared interests, uphold multilateralism and free trade, and safeguard world peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Looking back at the last five decades, China-Italy relations have struck deep roots and borne rich fruits. Looking ahead, China-Italy cooperation will continue to flourish and prosper. The Chinese people look forward to working hand in hand with our friends in Italy to carry forward our blossoming relationship and imbue our friendship with more vitality and dynamism.

Pres. Buhari Approves Nigeria’s Hosting of Lake Chad Conference

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, and Lake Chad Basin Commission Executive Secretary, Eng. Sanusi Abdullahi should be congratulated for the planning of this important conference to save the shrinking Lake Chad. I have been advocating for two decades the urgent need to transfer water from the Congo River Basin to refill Lake Chad with TRANSAQUA; a mega infrastructure project to develop Africa, which will also be discussed at this conference.

Johnbosco Agbakwuru-Vanguard News
December 26, 2017

ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved Nigeria’s hosting of an international conference on saving the Lake Chad. The conference according to the statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu is to revitalize the basin’s ecosystem for sustainable livelihood, security and development.

Shehu said it was the first time an international conference on Lake Chad was being organised the six-member countries of the region. He said, “The three-day conference will consist of two days of technical sessions and one day high level meetings between February 26-28, 2018 and it will take place in Abuja.

“The high level meeting is expected to have in attendance all of the Presidents and Heads of government of the member-states, namely Nigeria,Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Libya “The key partners coming together in hosting the conference are Nigeria, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, the Lake Chad Basin Commission, LCBC and relevant donors including, prospectively, the African Development Bank, AfDB, the World Bank and the governments of Germany, China, Canada and the European Union, EU.

“The main objective of the international conference is to create global awareness on the socio-economic and environmental challenges arising from the shrinkage of the Lake Chad, threat to livelihoods including insecurity with a view to developing a comprehensive program for action to save the lake from extinction.

“Specically, the conference is expected to discuss and develop consensus on the different options to restore Lake Chad, including the Inter-Basin Water Transfer project from  the Ubangi River in Central Africa to the Lake Chad. “Experts, researchers and resource persons are expected to exchange knowledge and share information on water resources development and management in a crisis environment and to garner political and financial support for the restoration option identified for the restoration of the lake.

“Among the expected outcomes of the conference is a roadmap for the implementation of the recommendations of the conference that should lead to the restoration of the lake; restoration of fishing and irrigated farming as a way of alleviating poverty, strengthening climate resilience in the basin, creating employment,leading to reduction of terrorist activities and increasing the revenue of the population and that of the Lake Chad basin countries.

“The lake Chad Basin, which is shared by Algeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and the Sudan is about eight percent of the size of the African continent, with a population of about 40 million inhabitants. “Its surface area has shrunk from 25,000 square kilometers to just 2,500 sq.kms, roughly 10 percent of its original size.“This development has adversely affected the economic, social and cultural environment of the area.

As at today, the lake is a source of insecurity, instability, and the loss of livelihoods. Since coming to office, President Muhammadu Buhari has used every available speaking opportunity at the international level to raise awareness of the need for action to save the Lake Chad.

Buhari approves Nigeria’s hosting of Lake Chad conference on ecosystem

 

Nigerian Water Minister, Suleiman Adamu, Announces Conference to Replenish Lake Chad and Several Hydro-Electric Projects

UNESCO Backs Campaign to Save Lake Chad

November 11, 2017 Nigeria’s Water Minister Suleiman Adamu announced that UNESCO is backing an international campaign to save Lake Chad from drying up. UNESCO is sponsoring an international conference in February in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, where the solution advocated by Nigeria and by the Lake Chad Basin Committee will be presented.

            Adamu said that the commission had proposed inter-basin water transfer from Congo Basin to the evaporating lake as a measure of saving it from total extinction. “This is a huge infrastructure project that will change the dynamics of the region and it is a long- term project with a lot of consensus to build on, as well as diplomatic issues having to do with different countries,” Adamu said according to PM News Nigeria media outlet.

            “We therefore need to do a lot of advocacy to make the members of the Congo Basin understand that we are not taking away their water but taking only 5% of the natural resource to keep the Lake Chad alive,” he said. “We hope that at the end of the conference in February next year, we will have an international consensus on what to do, leverage on and how to get a lot of resources and funding.”

            Adamu, who was attending a UNESCO General Conference in Paris, said that they considered the inter-basin water transfer as the most suitable option, but that they would not, however, insist on it, and “allow the UNESCO experts to advise on any cheaper available alternatives, if any,” as PM News reported. Adamu told PM News that the initial study on the project costed the water transfer project at $14 billion.

            “We have a 60,000 hectares irrigation scheme under the South-Chad Irrigation scheme, which was designed to depend on intake of water from the Lake Chad to irrigate the 60,000 hectares for the production of wheat. That irrigation scheme is not working now because the water is not available. We need the water to revive that investment. All the efforts the administration had been making to boost food production and reduce food imports stands to benefit if the Lake Chad is revived,” he said.

            Adamu said that a lot of other economic activities would be revived and the general livelihood of the people in the area would improve with the revival of the lake.  The lake, on which the lives of 30 million people depend, is bordered by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger; it has shrunk by 90%. “Clearly, the major factor of the Boko Haram insurgency is that there are lots of young people that are living in that area without any opportunity whatsoever because of the shrinking lake. Herdsmen had been forced to move southward and eastward and you can see that crises are getting increased between farmers and herdsmen,” he said.

Federal Government of Nigeria to complete 21 other dams, irrigation projects by 2019

Grace Obike, The Nation, Abuja, November 11, 2017

Apart from the Gurara hydropower plant, Kashimbila hydropower plant, Gurara II, Lokoja and Dasin hausa, which has either been completed, about to be completed or in talks with potential investors. The Federal Government is poised to complete seven other ongoing water supply projects and twenty one dams and irrigation projects between 2018 and 2019.

FG is also in advanced discussions with potential investors for the Gurara II, Lokoja and Dasin hausa hydropower projects, which when completed will produce a combined 1,250MW electricity to the national grid. Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu made this disclosure in Abuja, while presenting the two years score card of his ministry. He added that at his resumption of office, his ministry agreed to prioritize the 116 uncompleted or abandoned major projects he had met and deploy resources towards completing and commissioning all high and medium priority projects from 2016 to 2019.

His words.” We have concluded a Technical Audit and prioritized. the hitherto uncompleted or abandoned 116 major projects that I met in the Ministry. We are deploying most of our resources towards completing and commissioning all the high and medium priority projects from 2016 – 2019. It is in this regard that we have completed and commissioned Central Ogbia Regional Water Supply Project in Bayelsa State. It is also my pleasure to inform this gathering that the following projects have also been completed and are ready for commissioning: “Northern Ishan Regional Water Supply Project, Edo State.

 We have concluded a Technical Audit and prioritized. the hitherto uncompleted or abandoned 116 major projects that I met in the Ministry. We are deploying most of our resources towards completing and commissioning all the high and medium priority projects from 2016 – 2019. It is in this regard that we have completed and commissioned Central Ogbia Regional Water Supply Project in Bayelsa State. It is also my pleasure to inform this gathering that the following projects have also been completed and are ready for commissioning: “Northern Ishan Regional Water Supply Project, Edo State rehabilitation of Ojirami Dam Water Supply Project, Edo State. Kashimbiia Dam, Taraba State. Ogwashi-Uku Dam, Delta State. “Two (2) other projects: Shagari and Barikin Ladi Irrigation Projects will be completed in early 2018.

Our plan is to complete 7 other ongoing Water Supply Projects and 21 Dam and Irrigation Projects between 2018 and 2019, including the following: Water Supply Projects, Inyishi Water Supply Project, Ekeremor Water Supply Project, Sabke/Dutsi/Mashi Water Supply Projects, Zobe Water Supply Project, Mangu Water Supply Project. “Dam & Irritation Projects. Middle Ogun Irrigation Project, Middle Rima Valley Irrigation Project, Gari Irrigation Project, Kontagora Auna Dam Project, Bagwai Irrigation Project,Tada Shonga Irrigation Project, Adani Rice Irrigation Project, Ekuku Dam Project, Lower Anambra Irrigation Project, Ile-Ife Dam Project, Zauro Polder Irrigation Project and Otukpo Multipurpose Dam Project. ” Our Roadmap identified Dams with Hydro Power potential for Development and we have been in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing (FMWPH) to that effect. “We are currently making progress for the concessioning of the 30MW Gurara Hydropower plant which is planned to come into full operation by mid 2018. We are also progressing on our collaboration with FMWPH to concession the 40MW Kashimbila Hydropower Plant recently completed. In addition, we are in advanced discussions with potential investors for other hydropower projects including Gurara II (350MW), Lokoja (750MW) and Basin Hausa (150MW).

“With 1,800m3/Capita/year of available renewable water resources, Nigeria is not a water poor country.

“The Ministry has also championed the signing of an MOU between the Lake Chad Basin Commission and a Chinese company, who are presently undertaking further feasibility study on the proposed Interbasin Water Transfer Project from the Congo River into the Lake Chad. Furthermore, in an effort to arrive at the best solution in saving the Lake Chad, an International Conference on the Lake is now scheduled to hold in Abuja from 26th -28tln February, 2018 in collaboration with LCBC and UNESCO. “In addition, the Ministry has completed the engineering design and is set to commence in 2018 the Hawal InterBasin Transfer from River Hawal to River Ngadda. Phase 1 of the project is to augment water supply to Alau Dam so as to provide more sustainable source of water supply to Maiduguri and environs. Phase 2 of the project aims to resuscitate the 60,000Ha South Chad Irrigation Scheme, which became moribund following continuous drying up of Lake Chad over the years.”