On Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu left Nigeria for China to attend the 1st Nigeria-China Governors Investment Forum holding in Guangzhou, China. Even though there were group programmes involving all the Governors mapped out by the organizers of the Forum, Governor Ikpeazu was of the opinion that the challenges and requirements of all the states were not the same and thus, they required different categories of investors to meet their specific needs.

Thus, the Governor agreed to spend the 1st 2 days of the Forum engaging in group activities after which he will disengage from the group and hold engagements specific to the needs and aspirations of the people of Abia State.

The Governor arrived Guangzhou, China on the evening of Thursday, April 13, 2017.

FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 2017

The Governor made a presentation at the plenary of the Investment Forum where he used the occasion to highlight the investment potentials and attractiveness of Abia State and gave the assurance that any investor that sets up business in Abia State is guaranteed substantial returns on their investment.
He outlined the investment advantage of Abia State to include: location in the middle of 7 states, a captive population of over 25M people, 17 railway stations traversing the length and breadth of the state, proximity to 4 airports, a seaport and home to the largest MSME hub in West Africa.

The Governor also used the opportunity to market the Enyimba Free Trade Zone currently under actualization. The Free Trade Zone is a 9,000 Hecter Stretch of land from Ugwunagbo all the way to the boundary with Port Harcourt in Ukwa.

The Governor later joined his colleagues to undertake a tour of Guangzhou Automobile Corporation (GAC Motors) plant at the industrial region of Guangzhou. Governors present at the Investment Forum include Governors of Zamfara, Sokoto, Abia, Oyo, Niger, Benue, Borno, Delta, Nassarawa and Deputy Governors of Anambra and Ebonyi States.


By 9am, the Governor joined his colleagues in a bus provided by the organizers and together, they all drove to the Canton Fair Ground to attend the 121st China Import-Export Fair otherwise known as the Canton Fair. The fair is one of the world’s largest exhibitions of equipment and machinery for different uses held twice every year in Guangzhou, China. At the Fair, the Governors were collectively briefed on the history of the fair and its significance. The Governor later on his own inspected agricultural machinery and equipments for possible procurement for use by Abia farmers.

By 2pm, the Governor left the Canton Fair with his team and proceeded to Dongguan on the outskirts of Guangzhou to keep an appointment with Mr. Zhang Huarong, Group Chairman of the Huajian Group, owners of one of the largest shoe manufacturing companies in China for a detailed tour of their operations and exploration of investment opportunities.

At the end of Governor Ikpeazu’s presentation, Mr. Huarong instantly agreed to come and set up a factory in Aba, Abia State. Mr. Huarong, a retired Chinese Military Officer, noted that Governor Ikpeazu was the 1st Nigerian leader to visit him and disclosed that the Huajian Group was already employing 6,000 staff and is currently developing a 250 Acre Industrial City in Ethiopia worth $2.5B and expressed his eagerness to come to Nigeria. He promised to visit Abia State before the end of April 2017 to identify the land for the project and sign relevant agreements. Part of the arrangement with the Huajian Group is for Abia State to send 100 Aba Shoemakers to the Factory in China to begin the process of learning automated shoe production. The training will last for 1 month. These trained staff will inturn serve as Supervisors and train other staff of the company in Aba when it comes on stream.  

SUNDAY, APRIL 16, 2017

The Governor and his team set out for the Roc Machines Factory to undertake an inspection of the workings of the equipments and machinery used in large-scale shoe production. The Governor also visited a shoe factory where the equipments of Roc Machines were already installed and in use to understand the workings of each machine in the production line and be familiar with the process from end to end.

The Governor afterwards delegated his team to discuss in details the pricing and capacity of each machine as well as their permanent and interchangeable components and modality for shipment to Nigeria. He also instructed his team to explore the possibility of the company setting up a factory in Aba for the production of shoe-making equipment and machinery. The idea is to ensure that as the Huajian Shoe Industry is setting up in Aba, the Aba producers will already have automated production lines so that they can compete favourably.

At 6pm, shortly after his return from the shoe equipment company, the Governor met with a delegation of Abians resident in Guangzhou. He used the opportunity to update them on efforts of his administration so far while charging them to constantly be on the look-out for opportunities that will benefit the people of Abia State and to be of good conduct as ambassadors of the State in Guangzhou.

At 7pm, Governor Ikpeazu proceeded to a dinner meeting with the Nigeria-China Business Council led by the Director-General, Mr. Xie Shao. At the meeting, the Chinese delegation included officials of Power China, the Chinese Government Power Company as well as representatives of Agricultural and Infrastructural Development Companies. The Governor, in the course of the meeting, highlighted the investment potentials in all sectors of Abia State and assured the Council of returns on their investments. Members of the Council agreed to visit Abia State on a date to be agreed to further the discussions. mr. Xi Shao owns the Skyrun Electrical component Manufacturing Factory at Aboh Mbaise, Imo State and disclosed that he has always had interest in investing in Abia State and thanked the Governor for the opportunity.

MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2017

The Governor and his team set out for the Ceramics Industrial Cluster at Foshan City, Guangdong Province to undertake a tour of ceramics manufacturing companies in the area. The Governor visited showrooms and factories of major ceramics manufacturers in the area. He eventually held a meeting with them and secured their commitment to come and revitalize the Umuahia Ceramics Company and where impracticable, set up their own ceramics factory in Abia State. He assured them of the availability of Kaolin, Silica Sand, Tar Sand, Clay and other raw materials for ceramics manufacturing in large quantities in Abia State as well as favourable investment policies. The consortium will be led by Mr. Xi Ghao of CRW Bathrooms, an international company with presence in 180 locations around the world.


Governor Ikpeazu held an extensive review meeting with his team to discuss all the locations visited, observation of each team member, concerns, opportunities and next steps for implementation upon return to Abia State. He drew up a work-plan and assigned roles to each team member with timelines and deliverables with the objective of ensuring that all the conversations began in China were thoroughly followed through and midwifed to the commencement of the various businesses.


Governor Ikpeazu departed Guangzhou for Beijing to hold a meeting with an auto-manufacturing company that wants to invest in Abia State and the Chairman of the construction company currently undertaking the Osisioma Flyover Project to receive briefing on the progress of the project and explore opportunities for further collaborations in the development of infrastructure in Abia State.


Governor Ikpeazu will depart Beijing for Nigeria.
In all, the total worth of investments attracted to Abia State in the course of the China trip is in excess of $2B and the Governor has taken special care to ensure that none of the attracted investments will hurt existing businesses in Abia State but rather, will compliment them, drive competition and expand the economy of the State.

Sam Hart

Senior Special Assistant to the GovernorPublic Communications


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