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Multi-million dollar China-Sierra Leone cooperation plan to boost development

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo (People's Daily Online)    13:14, April 02, 2019

Counselor Wang Xinmin addresses journalists on March 27, 2019 in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital.

Charge d’Affairs of the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, Counselor Wang Xinmin has pledged his country’s commitment to further strengthen the existing relationship between China and Sierra Leone on all development fronts.

Addressing a news conference at the Embassy in Freetown on Wednesday, Counselor Wang highlighted some of the major cooperation plans between the two countries as well as the development prospects ahead.

Speaking on the Fish Harbor Project, he recalled the signing of an agreement between the then Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Wu Peng and Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Alie Kabbah on behalf of the two, in January 2019. The agreement outlined the economic and technical cooperation between China and Sierra Leone. China agreed to provide Sierra Leone with 200 million yuan (around $30 million) to explore and implement the Fish Harbor Project. Currently, Chinese companies are negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Fisheries on the shore facilities investment.

On the National Fibre Backbone Phase II project, Counselor Wang explained the plan to lay a 721.5-kilometer fiber-optic network covering 15 major cities in the northern, eastern and southern regions of Sierra Leone, with a project value of $30 million. Presently, he said China is waiting for the Sierra Leonean side to confirm the project and prepare relevant information at the request of the Export-Import Bank of China, at which time the Chinese side will continue to promote the follow-up work together with Sierra Leone.

On Military Aid Gratis to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), the Charge d’Affairs said it would be implemented to further develop the friendly relationship between the two countries’ armed forces, and added that the Chinese Ministry of Defense provided 50 million yuan military aid gratis to RSLAF. The gratis, he said, will be utilized for the refurbishment of military officers’ quarters among other things.

China has also expressed its willingness to strengthen Sierra Leone’s Foreign Service Academy to provide better training services to career diplomats, for which the Sierra Leone government has proposed to construct a foreign Service Academy by using a Chinese government aided fund. As a partner who always acts swiftly to the requests of Sierra Leone, Wang said China is actively studying the project.

Another major area of development is in the field of agriculture, which China recognizes as one of Sierra Leone government’s top priorities under the New Direction Agenda. “China, as a great agricultural country, is willing to share its experience and strengthen cooperation with Sierra Leone on agriculture development while actively studying agricultural cooperation projects in an ‘investment + aid’ model,” Wang remarked. Recently, a good number of Chinese companies have shown an interest in investing in the West African country’s agriculture sector, and a number of companies have signed agreements with Sierra Leone’s Agriculture Ministry.

Under educational cooperation, more than 13, 000 Sierra Leoneans went to China for various training programmes in 2018 with the sponsorship of the Chinese government, and more than 100 Sierra Leonean students furthered their study in China through the Chinese Government scholarship programme. This year’s programme has already received a large number of applicants. 

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

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