John Baimba Sesay (Beijing)
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 August 2015
Sierra Leone’s top diplomat in China – Madam Alice Kumba Momoh, has informed senior Chinese government officials that prior to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Sierra Leone was enjoying rapid economic growth under the leadership of president Koroma.
Madam Alice Kumba Momoh – the Charge D’ Affaires at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing, spoke on Friday 14th August, at a meeting with Cao Jiachang, Deputy Director General, Department of West Asian & African Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, on Sierra Leone’s post Ebola recovery drive and the support China could give in this direction.
The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Madam Momoh said, brought with it, crucial challenges especially as it has affected Sierra Leone’s development efforts and its economic growth.
She paid tribute to China’s contribution in tackling the virus, emphasizing that the challenging moment in her country and the subsequent response by the Chinese highlighted “your exemplary performance to the crisis calls” in all the three countries.
She commended China for being the first nation to intervene in Sierra Leone following the Ebola outbreak “with huge sums of money and personnel”.
As Sierra Leone heads to a post Ebola recovery campaign, Madam Momoh highlighted the significant role that China’s Ministry of Commerce could play, since their “intervention in helping us source out good investors for Sierra Leone is very important in the process of rebuilding our socio-economic problems…” and in re-activating the country’s once thriving economy before the invasion of the Ebola Virus Disease.
With the virus almost defeated, Madam Momoh said, Sierra Leone continues to appreciate the supportive role provided by the Chinese government and also looking forward to seeing how it could tap on “your human and capacity building Training Programmes with seminar courses and orientations.”
Human Capacity building, she said, “will help to strengthen our caring and frontline service institutions,” she said and called MOFCOM to look at the possibility of offering such training opportunities to deserving Sierra Leoneans.
Responding, Cao Jiachang said, the support to the three affected nations by China was a demonstration of what he called “our responsibility” and that ‘it was a great reflection of true friendship with Africa.
The visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Sierra Leone and the other two Ebola hit nations, he said was to show the Chinese government’s commitment and support for the post Ebola rebuilding efforts of those countries.
Despite the Ebola outbreak, he said, Sierra Leone made progress in a number of areas for which the Chinese were happy and that with Sierra Leone’s post Ebola recovery plan, the future is bright.
Cao Jiachang assured that the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) will ensure regular contact with the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing, as a way of lifting the bars of cooperation between the two countries.
He further assured that MOFCOM will pay closer attention to Sierra Leone’s post Ebola recovery drive, especially in the areas of infrastructure, public health and agriculture. “We will help in your reconstruction drive and your strategy for post Ebola reconstruction will be taken into account”.