Posted by Engineering News on
Nigeria's government approved on Wednesday the purchase of 15 fighter and trainer aircraft from China, further strengthening ties between the African and Asian heavyweights after a series of oil deals
Nigeria's government approved on Wednesday the purchase of 15 fighter and trainer aircraft from China, further strengthening ties between the African and Asian heavyweights after a series of oil deals.
The cabinet agreed the $251 million purchase of 12 fighter planes and three training aircraft from China's National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp, Information Minister Frank Nweke said.
The purchase was "to ensure that our armed forces are adequately equipped and combat-ready," Nweke told reporters.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, has the continent's largest army and frequently acts as a diplomatic and military arbiter in West African conflicts.
A member of the Non-Aligned Movement, it maintains good relations with the United States and Europe but has also sought to strengthen military cooperation with fellow oil-exporter Iran and emerging nuclear power Pakistan.
On the oil front, Nigeria has made efforts to develop ties with China partly as a new market for its high-quality crude and partly because it hopes to attract Chinese investment into its malfunctioning refineries and power plants.
For its part, energy-hungry China has shown a growing interest in Nigeria's oil assets which make it the eighth-biggest exporter of crude in the world with about 2.4 million barrels per day.
Petrochina has signed a deal to receive 30,000 barrels per day from the Nigerian state oil company, while state oil firm CNPC is in talks to take stakes in Nigerian oil exploration blocks in return for infrastructure investment.
The moves are a sign that China, the second largest oil consumer after the United States, is competing to secure supplies from producers historically in Washington's sphere of influence. Nigeria is the fifth-largest supplier of crude to the United States.
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