John Baimba Sesay
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 February 2013
A high-powered Chinese government delegation of seven, headed by Mr. Jiang Weixin – the Special Envoy of President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China, is expected to arrive in Sierra Leone on 21st February, to take part in the celebrations.
Preparations are underway for the inauguration ceremony of President Ernest Bai Koroma, following his re-election in November, 2012.
Mr. Jiang Weixin is the Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction of the People’s Republic of China.
China has supported several developmental projects in Sierra Leone.
The latest of such projects include the Regent-Grafton road; the proposed one million dollar new airport project; Rice and rubber plantations; and the Charlotte hydro dam project.
The Chinese have also funded the construction of the new Foreign Ministry building at Tower Hill – Freetown; a project aimed at popularizing rice-cultivation techniques; construction of roads and bridges; the country’s National Stadium; sugar complex; office buildings; hydro-power station; power transmission and substation projects; and civil housing.
The Chinese government has granted scholarships to Sierra Leonean students.
In 2012 alone, a total of 28 students were received in China, to pursue studies in medicine, engineering, international relations, business administration, and mass communication.
There are over 100 students in China pursing courses in different fields.
Sierra Leone, it should also be noted, played a central role in China’s entrance into the UN Security Council.
President Koroma during his first term in office scored a number of successes especially in the areas of infrastructure, free health care and the fight against corruption.
His second term in office will be driven by his ‘Agenda for Prosperity’, which takes into account plans for sustainable national development. Since his election in 2007, the President has continued to receive international support.
This latest visit to Sierra Leone by a high powered Chinese delegation will further help to strengthen the diplomatic and people-to-people relations that have existence between the two countries, since the 1970s.