By Shifu A Wei
Major successes scored by Sierra Leone ranging from infrastructural development unto putting in place sound economic policies to attract more investments opportunities have been commended by the Lin Songtian, Director General of Department of African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the People’s Republic of China.
Lin who was in Sierra Leone recently to see the progress made so far, especially at a time like this when Chinese Companies are investing a lot in the country’s infrastructure, said Sierra Leone is a beautiful country that is making good effort to further build it economy.
Addressing African Journalists in Beijing on Tuesday, he pointed out that the Government of Sierra Leone should not relent in building the country for the benefit of the people.
Like China, Sierra Leone has gone through difficult periods in the past fifteen years that have contributed to wrecking its economy.
It can be recalled that before the new Chinese reform started in 1946 the country was having a shattered economy and some Western Countries were forcing China to put some reforms in place that were not favourable for economic prosperity.
China is currently enjoying a very strong economy and since the reforms started it has lifted over 700 million people from poverty. It succeeded in using it land to provide food to its people and world through agriculture, which brought about a turnaround in its economy and have led to the Asian country becoming a breadbasket for the world’s economy.
There are six to seven million students graduating from Universities annually and the government is ever ready to establish eleven million new jobs yearly for the benefit of the new graduates.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sierra Leone in 1971, bilateral political relations have been increasingly deepened on the basis of respecting and taking care of each other’s core interests and major concerns.
The construction of a new Mamamah Airport, costing over $300million is another recent component of the development cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and Sierra Leone. The Airport Project, with China agreeing to finance it through a loan from EXIM Bank, will eventually put the country in an advantageous position to compete favourably in International Trade and Commerce.
Another ongoing development is the Wellington-Masiaka four-lane highway, which was launched by His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma sometimes in 2016.
Already the contracted Chinese company, China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG), is reported to be making significant progress.
Trade between Africa and China is reported to have risen to $220 billion in 2014, which is believed to be about three times that of trade between Africa and the United States. This is indicative of China’s growing influence on the African continent. Strategically, China remains a major development partner of Africa, with greater attention paid to the relevance of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
China has trained over 30, 000 talents in various fields for Africa. It plans to build four Universities in in the continent to help capacitate local talents, and hopes to will give experience expertise to managerial experts.