China has offered Nigeria a loan worth $6bn to fund infrastructure projects, the Nigerian foreign minister said on Tuesday.
The announcement came as both countries signed a currency swap deal to boost trade. Nigeria has been in talks with China on an infrastructure loan for months.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and its top oil producer. But its public finances have suffered as the price of crude oil dropped around the world.
Although President Muhammadu Buhari wants to triple capital spending in 2016, he also needs to plug a projected deficit of $11.1bn.
“It is a credit that is on the table as soon as we identify the projects,” Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama told reporters after Buhari met Chinese President Xi Jinping. “It won’t need an agreement to be signed. It is just to identify the projects and we access it.”
There was no immediate comment from China.
Lin Songtian, director general of the Chinese foreign ministry’s African affairs department, had earlier said Nigeria would be able to benefit from a $55bn package for Africa, which mostly consists of concessional grants or export lines.