Chinese Investments in Nigeria and the Political Economy of Trade, 1999 - 2019: A Leadership Perspective
Keywords:Leadership, Foreign Direct Investments, Trade, Loan, Political Economy, China, Nigeria
This article explores the nature and patterns of Chinese-Nigeria trade relations between 1999 and 2019 through the theoretical prism of leadership. The period 1999-2019 captures the rising trends in investments and trade relations between China and Nigeria and the latter’s efforts at liberal democratization. It raises questions about how the nature of the leadership process conditions economic developments and as well shapes the nature of trade and investments between both countries. Although the article is not necessarily comparative, it demonstrates how the contrasting character of the internal leadership process throws up inclusivity, accountability, productivity and development in China, and exclusion, opportunistic behaviour and underdevelopment in Nigeria. The article thus argues that leadership is dialectically connected to the political economy of development and trade in both China and Nigeria. Drawing on historical and statistical data relating to Chinese Foreign Direct Investments, aid/loans to Nigeria and Chinese-Nigeria trade patterns, it explains that economic relations between both countries are characterized by unequal exchanges in favour of the Chinese state. The major contention of the article is that while Nigeria does benefit from Chinese trade, loans and investments in terms of job opportunities and infrastructural developments, such benefits further deepen Nigeria’s underdevelopment and dependence on China as a result of the extractive behaviour of Nigeria’s political leaders. Nevertheless, a better developmental outcome is possible in Nigeria through transformational leadership that leads to profound changes in policies, institutions and values of accountability.