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Chinese company helps tackle graduate unemployment in Sierra Leone

By ABU Bakarr Kargbo (People's Daily Online)    16:07, December 05, 2018

Alhaji Osman Kamara works at the Chinese operated Hastings Toll Gate in Sierra Leone, and says he is grateful to the China Railway Seventh Group for creating job opportunities for Sierra Leonean graduates.

Sierra Leone has long suffered from a high rate of graduate unemployment, but according to Kamara, with the intervention of the China Railway Seventh Group, many of these graduates are now employed in the local area.

Kamara, who has been working for the China Railway Seventh Group since August, said that working for the company has been beneficial to his current and future career prospects. He said that all employees go through training and examinations before they are allowed to work at the toll gate, meaning they are more than capable of carrying out the necessary work.

He noted that the toll gate is a blessing to the country, as there used to be heavy traffic along the Wellington-Hastings-Waterloo highways, but the construction of a four-way road has significantly reduced driving time and delays.

Kamara called on the government to look out for more companies like the China Railway Seventh Group, that can help develop the country. He added that the company currently employs hundreds of local workers.

Abdul Richard Fofanah, a senior member of staff at the China Railway Seventh Group, explained that since the company's establishment, management has gone the extra mile to ensure that employees are paid well and in a timely manner.

Apart from providing employment opportunities for Sierra Leoneans, the company also contributes to the development of Sierra Leone. For example, the company helped during a recent mudslide, lending its machinery to rescue operations, as well as providing trucks during the country's national cleaning day exercise, to assist in loading and depositing garbage. Additionally, during the Ebola epidemic, the China Railway Seventh Group donated money to help fight the deadly disease.

China Railway in Sierra Leone

Fofanah added that the company also sends qualified members of staff to China to study in relevant fields, enabling them to become effective managers once the toll gates are entirely taken over by Sierra Leonean workers.

Graduate Abdul Richard Fofanah noted that he and his colleagues are satisfied with the way that Chinese managers are treating Sierra Leonean staff. “Young Sierra Leoneans are still applying to work for this institution. The good pay and good treatment, added to other benefits we enjoy thanks to this company, points to the fact that the China Railway Seventh Group is not only abiding by government labor rules, but they are also creating employment opportunities for our graduates and skilled workers,” he said.

Several other local members of staff held similar opinions, adding that they count themselves lucky to be employed by the China Railway Seventh Group and are calling on the government to do more to attract other international companies to the country, to further empower the country's younger generation.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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