April 23, 2018
The Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, Zhang Xueqian, has assured that China would continue to collaborate with the government of Sierra Leone and the private sector to assist in the country’s development strides.
“China and Sierra Leone have a long friendship that started since 1971. The bond between the two countries is profound and the potential for a more sustainable cooperation between the two sides is huge. Sierra Leone is a beautiful country that has a lot of potential for growth, and China as a reliable development partner, will continue to stand by its friends around the world, including Sierra Leone,” he assured.
Mr. Zhang, last week, had an interactive session with the media on China’s 2018 training opportunities for Sierra Leone.
He maintained that the Human Resource Development Cooperation Program (China Aid Training Program) was in the Framework of China’s Foreign Aid sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of China and that the main object of the programme was to help develop the human resource capacity of developing countries, including Sierra Leone.
“Chinese government will cover a large proportion of the expenses for the participants, including the cost of international round trip tickets, accommodation and traffic costs during stay in China, accident insurance, treatment of acute diseases and also some daily stipend,” he explained.
He reiterated that China and Sierra Leone have a long history of cooperation in human resource development and that in recent years it has become a highlight of their cooperation.
“Since 2008, China has provided training opportunities for more than two thousand and six hundred (2600) Sierra Leoneans. In recent years, the beneficiaries have increased year-by-year. For example, in 2016 three hundred and ninety-eight (398) participants travelled to China and benefited from these training programs. In 2017, eight hundred and eighty (780) Sierra Leoneans participated in various training programs in China. In addition to the short-term training programs, we also have provided scholarships to over one hundred (100) Sierra Leoneans to pursue masters and PhD studies,” he said.
He disclosed that the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone would continue the inspiring trajectory by ensuring that more citizens benefit from Chinese training programmes, including thirteen (13) bilateral seminars/training courses and more than one hundred (100) multilateral training programmes.
“Our 2018 training program is now in progress, with eleven (11) groups of trainees already in China. This is in fulfillment of the Human Resource Development Cooperation (HRDC) agreement between China and Sierra Leone.”
He noted that their short-term training and post-graduate programmes would cover a wide range of areas, including trade, healthcare, agriculture, education, finance, information technology (IT), energy, construction, law enforcement.
“These training programmes are conducted in response to request from both of the government and private sector of Sierra Leone. Therefore, they are specifically designed to meet the needs of social and economic development of this country. This year, four key areas are identified, namely: Agriculture, Education, Public Health, and Trade/Commerce,” he added.
To help strengthen the agriculture sector and enhance food security, he continued, China will provide Bilateral Seminar for thirty (30) participants on the topic: Agricultural Development and Agricultural Products Trade for Sierra Leone, coupled with another seminar on Sustainable Development of Fishery Industry for Sierra Leone, which will be conducted for another batch of 30 people in China later this year.
He assured that over one thousand (1000) people will participate in different programmes this year and that some Chinese experts would be in the country this year to train 300 participants.
“These training opportunities will not be limited to ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) alone; there will be more opportunities for the private sector as well, so that they can also benefit,” Zhang concluded.