On July 31, 2018, the Confucius Institute of the University of Lagos held its graduation for students that had concluded their Chinese language and culture programme.
At the event that featured career talks and shows of proficiency of the students, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe threw a challenge to the Chinese investors in Nigeria to engage more with the institution to foster better relationship. He said he dreamed of having in the university an institute that would facilitate experience and knowledge sharing between China and Nigeria especially in economy.
A response to that challenge was the setting up of the Institute of Nigeria-China Development Studies (INCDS) by the Chinese Investors Association for Development and Promotion (CIADP)
Ogundipe’s challenge was in response to the various scholarships the investment association had promised the outstanding students. Those were to enable the students travel to study in Chinese universities at the bill of the body.
As he addressed the gathering, the chairman of the body and long term businessman in Nigeria, Liu Chang’an known as Chief Ronnie Liu promised that the body would not take lightly the challenge. And true to his words, the vow was followed with action shortly.
In November of the same year, the INCDS incepted, and headed by Prof. Femi Saibu of the Department of Economics.
The institute immediately swung to action to organise programmes to encourage research and collaboration potential between Nigeria and China towards economic growth.
The investors under this umbrella have businesses that employ hundreds of Nigerians, including of course the Huafei Group Nigeria Limited owned by Liu whose businesses include the China Nigeria Service Centre, supermarkets, restaurants and many more.
In one of such cooperation events, he hosted the media where he made a promise that his personal company while managing the gigantic China Town, Ojota was out to ensure that the issue of Chinese substandard goods in the Nigerian market will soon come to an end. He assured that his group will perfect an alliance with Chinese manufacturers way back in their country to make sure that goods from China exported to Nigeria must pass the quality certification. He had said such measure would assist to create better confidence between the two worlds.
Beyond exports, he promised perfecting alliances for more Chinese businesspeople to set up factories in Nigeria.
Liu, who is the Chairman of Huafei Group and President/Founder of the Unilag Nigeria-China Development Institute said that once the plan is accomplished, all the efforts would turn Nigeria into a hub for trade, investment, recreation and cultural activities with combined Chinese and Nigerian traits.
“Low quality products are for this period. When we bring the factories here and begin to produce a lot of quality goods, the economy would begin to pick up because people working with us get paid and have money to spend. By that time, Nigeria will be fully changed. We have the full confidence that in the next few years, Nigeria would be changed totally.
“You don’t know how many factories that would come here. If Nigeria is full of factories and we produce things by ourselves, this country will have everything to itself. You will have good quality by yourselves and would have no reason to go for low quality products. This was the same condition China found itself 30 years ago. Then we had to buy television from America and Japan.”
His body has also been involved in ensuring there is peace and good business environment between host Nigerians and the Chinese that do business in Nigeria, which is in line with the spirit of the Nigeria-China diplomatic relations.
This group also donated medical supplies and money to groups and government to assist Nigeria in the fight against the global pandemic in 2020.