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President Bola Tinubu has announced plans to transform Nigeria into Africa’s hub for manufacturing solar panels and electric vehicle batteries.

Mr. Tinubu also commended the inauguration of Nigeria’s largest lithium processing plant in Lafia, Nasarawa State, adding that it indicates a foreign investment-friendly environment.

He stated this on Friday in Abuja during a meeting with Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, Hi Yongwei, chairman of Avatar New Energy Materials Company Limited, and Zhenhua Pei, chairman of Canmax Technologies.

Avatar, a Chinese firm, built the lithium processing plant, which produces about 4,000 metric tons daily, while Canmax Technologies is a renowned Chinese firm responsible for over 30 percent of global battery material production.

During the meeting, Canmax announced a new investment of $200 million for another lithium processing plant in Nasarawa State.

Mr. Tinubu urged Chinese firms to prioritize environmental protection, community engagement, and corporate social responsibility initiatives as integral parts of their operations.

’You are exploring other aspects of lithium in the country, especially battery production. Nigeria is a huge market for solar panels, and Africa is a major consumer of solar technologies.

“I do not see why these panels and batteries cannot be produced here. The labor is cheaper. Our youth are vibrant and skilled. Our people are brilliant and adapt to new technology.

“The economy is increasingly vibrant, and Nigeria is dependable. We have the consumption capacity and a surplus of steady-handed citizens with gifted minds and an innate drive to work and produce,” said Mr. Tinubu.

The president called on the firms not to abandon the communities in ruins while exploring the country’s high-grade minerals. He told the Chinese investors that the administration would assist them in expanding further, adding that with collaboration, they could dominate the solar panel market in Africa and the West African sub-region.

‘’You can always promote the interests of China and Nigeria as the best places in Africa to do business. We are preparing to produce the solar technologies that the entire continent will use in this country,’’ the president said.

Mr. Tinubu also applauded Governor Sule and the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake, for their dedication to ensuring environmental protection and value addition by mining firms operating in the country. In his remarks, the governor thanked Mr. Tinubu for supporting solid mineral development in the country and for sending Senate President Godswill Akpabio to represent him at the inauguration.

Mr. Alake stated that the ministry has proactively addressed the risks posed by abandoned mines across Nigeria, dating back to the colonial era of the 1950s and 1960s. He emphasized implementing remedial measures, such as repurposing some mines for beneficial uses like agriculture and irrigation. The Chinese executives, in their own comments, affirmed the value of their investments in Nigeria and committed to complying with mining regulations while meeting their corporate social responsibilities to local communities.