Andy Yih-Ping Liu, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Nigeria, praised Nigeria as a shining example of democracy in West Africa during a press conference in Lagos.
Ambassador Liu, who is also the Representative of the Taipei Trade Office, expressed enthusiasm for President Bola Tinubu’s vision to transform South Eastern Nigeria into the ‘Taiwan of Africa’ and pointed out the shared commitment to democracy between Taiwan Asian nation and Nigeria.
He emphasized their common democratic journey, mentioning that both countries transitioned to full-fledged democracy around the same time in the early 2000s and praised Nigeria for its stable democratic system compared to neighboring countries — like Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso — facing coup d’état challenges.
He added that his country is ready to collaborate with Nigeria for economic development, particularly in the South-East region, following Tinubu’s pledge to make it the ‘Taiwan of Africa’.
Tinubu had made the pronouncement prior to the February 25 general election when he was still presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress during a rally in Ebonyi state in November 2022.
Reacting to the remarks,he said: “In November last year, president Tínubu, then candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, declared openly that he would like to make the South East become the Taiwan of Africa.
“This proclamation was widely reported and we were very happy to hear him say that because he didn’t mention Hong Kong, he didn’t mention China but he mentioned specifically Taiwan.
“He would like to develop the South East, with great talents in business, and industry, among others to become Taiwan of not just Nigeria but entire Africa.
“That’s a tremendous privilege to us Taiwanese Mission in Nigeria, and also for our government to hear that.”
Comparing the population of Taiwan to that of Lagos and the country transformation from 1960 to recent time.
He added: “We are a small population the size of Lagos but we have built everything from scratch. We invest so much into education, technology, development and research. So education is the most important factor that moved Taiwan forward from late 1960.
“We have been through all the stages of economic development from the light industry of fabric, plastic, and rubber and into the heavy industry of shipbuilding, petrochemicals, and information technology.
“We invest smartly into education and offer free education from grade one to grade nine. But most importantly, no matter how we develop, the most important thing that we have developed is a strong and high percentage of the middle class and the middle class requires a democratic transformation from the old totalitarian order to full-fledged democracy”.