The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday spoke on his recent warning to Nigeria and African countries against doing business with China.
Tillerson said the warning was not meant to stop Chinese investments from flowing to countries that needed such investments.
He, however, cautioned that such countries should be careful with the level of debts they might accumulate as a result of such business dealings.
Tillerson stated this when he briefed newsmen alongside Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“What we are cautioning countries is to look carefully, that the implications of the level of debts, the terms of the debts, and whether the arrangements around the local financing are intact creating jobs, local capacity or the projects being carried out by foreign labour being brought to your country.
“Is the structure of the financing such that you will always be in control of your infrastructure?
“Are there mechanisms to deal with the faults so that you do not loss ownership of your own assets? These are national assets whether they are ports, railways, or major highways.
“We have seen this occurred in other countries that were not so careful and has result they got themselves in situation where they awfully lost control of their infrastructure, lost the ownership, the operationalization of it.
“And that is the precaution that we are talking about. That there are international rules and norms and financial structure to deal with unforeseen circumstances and I think we are just cautioning countries to look carefully.
“We have seen many around the world that did not work out so well and we are just saying as friends, be careful,’’ he said.
According to the top U.S. diplomat, the American government is creating other alternative financing mechanisms that are available for African nations, saying “we are developing mechanism that will also create alternative opportunities financing offer.’’
Tillerson also stressed the need to increase the volume of trade between the U.S. and Nigeria which he said stood at nine billion dollars.