Sierra Leone aiming to tap deeper into China’s Africa policy

Austin Thomas

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 September 2013

africa chinaThe Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs – Dr Ebun Jusu says that Sierra Leone would like to tap deeper into the Chinese African policy.

Minister Jusu would also like to see Sierra Leone become the economic hub for Chinese private and public sector investments in the sub-region.

She spoke last Thursday at an event celebrating China’s 64th anniversary, held in the Embassy at Wilberforce Loop, Freetown.

The deputy minister said Sierra Leone appreciates the technical and economic assistance given to Sierra Leone by China – infrastructure, agriculture, energy and capacity building programmes in the fields of education, health, agriculture and human resource development.

“As we enjoy all of these, we remain desirous that the Chinese would push these efforts a stage further by establishing an economic zone in Sierra Leone that will provide the needed impetus for our manufacturing industries, especially as we exploit our potential for extractive minerals and other natural resources, a significant base for industrial manufacturing”, says Dr Ebun Jusu.

The deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs told her audience that China and Sierra Leone have a long history with a common destiny, which is to achieve the socio-economic prosperity of the people of both countries.

ebun Jusu2Dr. Ebun Jusu (Photo) emphasized Sierra Leone’s unflinching support of the One China Policy of the People’s Republic of China, and state again that Sierra Leone will stand grateful for all the support it receives from China.

She thanked China for the newly constructed state of the art Foreign Affairs building at Tower Hill. She said the government of Sierra Leone cannot thank China enough for all they have done, as a result of the great friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

china in africa2Dr. Jusu praised China and commended the Chinese Ambassador for all that he has done for Sierra Leone, and expressed hope that the relationship will continue to grow from strength to strength.

In his speech, Ambassador Kuang Weilin said China’s 64th anniversary celebration is well deserved and that in today’s world, China and Africa need each other more than ever.

“The founding of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949 opened a new chapter for China’s development. During the past 64 years and especially over the last three decades since it launched the reform and opening-up, our country has scored remarkable achievements and blazed a new trail in its path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and the socialist market economy under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China.

“China-Africa has now become a community of shared destinies, interests and goals, and relationship between the two sides is becoming more and more mutually beneficial. China has become Africa’s largest trade partner, and Africa is now China’s major import source, second largest overseas construction project contract market and fourth largest investment destination.”

He said the deeper ties between the two countries have helped both countries to grow and become stronger. He said in January to July this year, bilateral trade volume reached $884 million as opposed to $752 million in the same period last year. Newly signed project contracts amounted to $103.49 million, while total turnover is valued at $84.89 million.

Ambassador Weilin spoke about some of the China-aided infrastructure projects in Sierra Leone, such as the Charlotte and Makali hydropower stations, and the Regent Village to Kosso Town road project.

Ambassador Kuang Weilin emphasized the hard work of the Chinese in achieving the Chinese Dream of great rejuvenation. He said China is committed to exploring new ways of enhancing the self-development capacity of Sierra Leone and help Sierra Leoneans realize their dreams.

He said from 2002 to 2011, China’s GDP grew at an average annual rate of 10%. China has become the world’s second largest economy and the Chinese foreign trade volume climbed from sixth to second place, with its foreign exchange reserves exceeded three trillion US Dollars.

He told his guests at the event that China has become the biggest trading partner of 128 countries, and made greater contribution to the world’s economy than any other country in the last few years.