By John Baimba Sesay
Sierra Leone’s Chargé d’Affaires to the People’s Republic of China has said both countries have enjoyed decades of strong ties of friendship and bilateral relations and was also proud, that such ties continue to move upwards from one strategic level to another.
Madam Alice Kumba Momoh spoke on Wednesday, 11th October, 2017, in Freetown during the presentation ceremony of 24,000 tins of milk powder to the country’s First Lady, Madam Sia Nyama Koroma, for vulnerable groups, mothers, infants and children by a Chinese firm, Beingmate Company.
The donation was facilitated by Mariatu Kargbo, a Sierra Leonean celebrity based in China, in collaboration with the First Lady’s Office and the Sierra Leone Embassy in China.
According to Madam Momoh, the December, 2016 State Visit to the People’s Republic of China by His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma helped in lifting the bilateral ties to a Strategic Comprehensive Level, further thanking the Chinese for always standing by Sierra Leone.
Speaking on the donation, Madam Momoh said, the decision by Beingmate Group to donate thousands of powder milk to the country through the First Lady’s Office was “a clear demonstration of the mutual trust and friendship both Sierra Leone and China share.”
It is pivotal, she said, that the donated milk will help in building and nourishing children across the country, emphasizing that the donation was timely, following the recent mudslide. She thanked Mariatu Kargbo for persuading the Beingmate Company to make the donation to Sierra Leone, whilst also thanking the Group.
Madam Momoh paid tribute to the country’s first lady for redefining “the Office of the First Lady” through her dedicated service in promoting women and children issues across the country, more so in reducing maternal mortality rate and in ensuring safer health for women and children.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Wu Peng in his statement, said, Beingmate Company is a specialized Chinese manufacturer of baby supplies, and that it is one of the top Chinese brands in producing milk powder, with over two decades of experience.
Government, he said, “Under the strong leadership of H.E President Koroma, has made great efforts in ensuring that Sierra Leonean people have access to adequate nutrient-rich food” and he was certain that the donation would reach the beneficiaries through the First Lady’s Office.” The support, the Chinese envoy said, “reflects not only the brotherhood between the two peoples, but also a display of social responsibility of the Chinese companies.”
Madam Mariatu Kargbo, whilst speaking, thanked all those who in diverse ways supported the donation process, eventually making it possible, specifically highlighting the role played by the First Lady, Madam Sia Nyama Koroma and Madam Kumba Momoh, amongst others.
The donation, Madam Kargbo said, is demonstrative of the long standing ties of friendship and goodwill between the two countries, also thanking both Presidents Ernest Bai Koroma and Xi Jinping of Sierra Leone and China respectively for working closely in fostering the friendship.
Whilst receiving the donation, the country’s First Lady, Madam Sia Nyama Koroma on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone, thanked Beingmate Company for making the donation, more so herself being an advocate for nutritional issues and knowing the importance attached to breast-feeding and nutrition related matters.
She also thanked Mariatu Kargbo for working closely with the Sierra Leone Embassy in China in facilitating the donation and for always standing by her country, referencing her role during the ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
Wang Zhi from Beingmate Company in his statement said, he was happy to have visited Sierra Leone for the first time to make the donation. His company, he said, is of the view, that babies are born with love, further committing their willingness to always be supportive to the country.
He expressed thanks and appreciation to Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma for receiving the donation and for her commitment to promoting women and children related issues in the country.
A special bridge of friendship, he said, has been created between the two countries through the efforts of Mariatu Kargbo.
Statements were also made by Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 2, Madam Zulainatu Cooper; Director of Children Affairs at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Madam Kadie Buya-Kamara; and a representative from the Nutrition Department, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Madam Mariatu Koroma.
Also present at the ceremony was the wife of the Hon. Vice President, Madam Jonta Foh.