January 27, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
As the People’s Republic of China celebrate Spring Festival, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone has noted that the meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Sierra Leone president, Ernest Bai Koroma has taken both countries’ friendly and cooperative relations to a new height.
His Excellency Wu Peng was on Wednesday 25th January, 2017 speaking at a reception marking the celebration at their Spur Looop Embassy in Freetown.
The reception was attended by Vice President Dr. Victor Bockarrie Foh, diplomats, top government officials and top Chinese investors.
Ambassador Wu Peng noted that the Spring Festival was the most important traditional festival in China and that they use the occasion to review the past year and make wishes for the New Year.
He said the year 2016 was an outstanding and impressive year for the Chinese people, and that they made a good start of the 13th 5-year National Development Plan which spans from 2016 to 2020.
He said they actively carried out the new development concept, accelerated the process of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way and maintained their economic growth.
He said they vigorously pushed forward the comprehensive deepening of reform, made important progress in terms of supply-side structural reform and actively promoted the building of a law based governance of the country, deepened the reform on the judiciary system and social fairness and justice.
Ambassador Wu Peng continued that despite the global economic downturn, the GDP growth rate of China reached 6.7% in 2016, and that they contributed approximately 39% towards the global economic growth, while they continue to play the role of an indispensable booster of the world economy.
He said in 2016 they successfully held the 11th G20 Leaders’ Summit, which offered Chinese voice, solution and wisdom.
“The Belt and One Road’ Initiative is becoming more and more a reality and I am confident that with sustained efforts of the Chinese Government and the Chinese People, china will make greater progress in 2017,” he said.
“A couple of days back, President Xi Pinging delivered keynote speeches at Davos and the United Nations Office at Geneva, which were well received and widely quoted saying ‘we should jointly shoulder responsibility of our times, promote Global Growth, and work together to build a community of shared future for mankind.
He said the year 2016 marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between china and Sierra Leone, and that over the past 45 years the diplomatic ties of both countries have shared weal and woe, kept close cooperation with each other in the international and regional affairs and shown mutual support for each other’s core interests and major concerns.
“Last month President Ernest Bai Koroma paid a successful state visit to china and during the fruitful visit, he and the Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly raised the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and witnessed the signing of six mutual-beneficial agreements. The meeting of the two Heads of State has taken both countries friendly and cooperative relations to a new height,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr. Gibril M. Sesay, Minister of State 1 in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the celebration of the Chinese New Year has become a global phenomenon as Chinese and non-Chinese around the world now have a sense of richness of the Chinese culture, civilization and contribution.
He said Chinese New Year was being celebrated in Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and many other lands and also given the cordial relations between China and Sierra Leone, the public has started experiencing the significance of the celebration.
“The celebrations herald the Year of the rooster and in Sierra Leone the Rooster announces that night is over and a new day is breaking, and that in Sierra Leone a new day is breaking after the night of Ebola and contraction of the economy,” he said.
He further stated that Real Gross Domestic Product in 2016 was 4.3% and was expected to grow moderately in 2017 to 5.4% in 2017, 5.8% in 2018 and 6.1% in 2019, and that the agriculture, mining, infrastructure and services sectors were expected to accelerate economic growth as well as the much needed jobs for youth.
He continued that achieving such great feat would be inconceivable without the engagement with the People’s Republic of China, because their investments in the mining, agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure, health and education sector were pivotal to the socio-economic recovery process.