Author: Garba Shehu

China (to some degree, Russia) has, through their Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, found a route to African hearts by helping to close infrastructure  gaps in many countries: roads, bridges, rail, power, water and even agricultural projects. China is today the biggest name in African infrastructure. This was not so a decade ago.  In 2013, Europe commandeered 37% of major African infrastructure projects, while China was in charge of 12%. By 2020, China had gone up to 31% and Europe left with only 12%.

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Our national strategy was laid out before departure, based on a strong optimism that the summit will work well for all the leaders. Turkey is serious about working with Africa in a win-win relationship. Though not yet accepted as a member of the EU, it is a major player in the continent in many ways and is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Turkey also has strong links in the Middle-East. In Asia, the competition is stiff, with China, Japan, South Korea and the rest. But see what discipline, national mobilization and determination have brought Turkey to where it is today. So, Africa may seem for them, a good bet for solidarity and market.

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The size and magnitude of the road projects notwithstanding, the clamour by Nigerians for more motorable roads is not abating, and neither is the President Muhammadu Buhari Government’s commitment to delivering on an improved national road network, which it inherited at different stages of disrepair from previous administrations. When there is a will, as the adage goes, there will be a way or two.

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The popular support for the administration, especially among the poor and disadvantaged, is still holding up and is unlikely to significantly wane. In fact, trends from our internal polling suggest that this should hold up, or even grow all the way to 2019, the reason being that the ordinary citizens concede it to the president that he is trying to do his best for the country.

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