Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, today requested a youth exchange program with the Peoples Republic of China at a roundtable of a delegation from North Central States of Nigeria and Chinese businessmen in Guangzhou, China.
He also listed the establishment of an industrial park, development of an agricultural value chain and the granting of the status of a sister to Guangzhoul to Makurdi, the state capital.
His demands were contained in a presentation he made as a lead discussant at the roundtable.
Governor Ortom explained that the exchange program would be for vocational training, skills acquisition and capacity building for Benue youths and those from China.
"As Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment I made several trips to China and Guangzhou Region was of particular importance to me because of its dominance in commercial and industrial activities," he stated.
"North Central Nigeria has all it takes to become an industrial outpost for businesses from China, especially Guangzhou Region, as the North Central is endowed with abundant agricultural and mineral resources that if well harnessed can become a major player in international business."
Governor Ortom stated that while Benue was popularly referred to as the Food Basket of Nigeria, Plateau, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi were Nigeria's mineral belt and bastion of water and other resources with Niger also hosting the National Cereals Research Institute, which if properly positioned, could feed the entire Nigeria and beyond.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, also made a presentation on the investment opportunities in his state even as the representatives of the Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa and Kwara State Governors also made similar submissions on their various states.
Others who spoke at the occasion included Diao Ai Lin, Deputy Secretary General of Guangzhou, Sun Shao Na, Deputy Secretary General of Foshan, Consulate General of Nigeria in Guangzhou, Hussain Mohammed, Yang Zhong, Wu Song, General Manager of Guangzhou Automobile Group Motor Company Limited, and Chen Xiu Xia, Chairperson of Choice International.
Representatives of Corporate Affairs Commission, Peoples Bank of China, China Development Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, Sterling Bank, as well as Banks of Industry and Agriculture in Nigeria were also discussants at the roundtable.
The mayor of Guangzhou, represented by his deputy, Cia Chao Lin, hosted participants to a dinner.
Tahav Agerzua
Special Adviser,
Media and ICT

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