Nigeria signs deal with China for two communications satellites


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China has agreed to build for Nigeria two communications satellites, with the $550 million fee paid entirely for Nigeria through an arrangement with China’s EXIM Bank.

The China EXIM Bank and a Chinese firm, the China Great Walls, have agreed to pay the entire $550m to procure two new satellites for the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited. The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, disclosed this in an interview with State House Correspondents on Wednesday shortly after a meeting he had with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Shittu explained that the initial arrangement was that Nigeria would provide 15 per cent counterpart funding for the two satellites, while the bank and the firm would provide the balance. He said Nigeria, however, decided to renegotiate the deal when it became obvious that the country could not afford the counterpart funding. The minister explained, “Because we could not afford this 15 per cent, we have renegotiated with the China EXIM Bank and the China Great Walls, who are the manufacturers, and they have happily agreed to pay the entire $550m to procure two new satellites.

Essentially, this is foreign aid from China to Nigeria, and follows a pattern China has used recently in providing space-related foreign aid in other circumstances.

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