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LAGOS – China’s largest textile manufacturer, Shandong Ruyi Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian government to invest US$2bn into the country’s cotton, textile and garment sector. Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said the agreement would involve cotton growing to ginning, spinning, textile manufacture and garment production in the Katsina, Kano, Abia and Lagos States.

The huge investment comes at a time when Chinese investors are increasingly seeking low cost, alternative textile value chains, as wages for textile workers continue to rise in China. Nigeria is among several African states wooing these investors with a range of financial incentives, sweeteners and grants at newly developed industrial parks.

Mr Okechukwu told local reporters: “Their investments will comprise aggregation and off take of cotton from farmers for ginning, spinning and weaving and manufacturing at least 300 million metres of African print, which will meet 20 per cent of West Africa’s demand.

“Others are producing cotton and denim garments for export and local consumption by Ruyi Group in Abia, Lagos and Kano states,” Enelamah said.

He added that in China, President Xi Jinping has promised to open China’s market for agricultural products from Nigeria, based on trade negotiating engagements.

Enelamah continued: “The Nigerian government had begun the establishment and upgrading of a number of existing industrial parks to special economic zones (SEZs), across the six geo-political zones in the country.

“For a country of 200 million, we need more industrial parks to aid more trade facilitation ,to integrate economies, and inter-link various market chains and values.

“Our goal is to ensure that within one year, we would have succeeded with the first phase of the investments in this area in feasibility planning, with other financial commitment following accordingly.”

Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co is a Chinese textiles and clothing company. Founded in 1972 in Jining, China, it is a subsidiary of Jining Ruyi Investment Co. As of 2017, Ruyi Group was the largest textile manufacturer in China.

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