By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Ambassador Hu Zhangliang has handed over 10 brand new SUV vehicles and 2 minibuses donated by the Chinese Government to the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The Ambassador handed over the vehicles to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David Francis on Monday, 4th April.
During the handing over ceremony at the conference hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Hu thanked the ministry for their great efforts in coordinating the implementation of the project, and for their considerate suggestions with regard to the distribution of those vehicles.
He said the batch of donation was not only a vivid demonstration of the continuous development of China-Sierra Leone friendship and cooperation, but also one of the concrete steps taken by China to support Sierra Leone’s development aspirations.
“I believe that with these vehicles, the relevant ministries and agencies of the Republic of Sierra Leone will be better equipped to perform their duties,” Ambassador Hu stated.
He highlighted about 20 projects the Chinese side has helped the Sierra Leonean side build or implement since 2018.
Some of the projects, he said, include the construction of the second Juba Bridge, donation of 30 garbage trucks, the provision of 9000 tons of rice aid, donation of another batch of agricultural machinery, the technical cooperation on three mini hydro-power stations and the fishery resource survey.
“More than 10 other projects are in good progress or in earnest discussion. For instance, the Foreign Service Academy Building, the 14th Phase of Agricultural Technical Cooperation, the upgrading of medical equipment of the Sierra Leone-China Friendship hospital and the rehabilitation of the National Stadium,” he said.
He maintained that China-Sierra Leon’s e cordial relationship and fruitful cooperation comes under the great initiative of building of a community with a shared future for mankind, the Belt and Road initiative and the FOCAC framework.
“China never pays lip service to any parties, nor does China attach any political conditions or impose her own will onto others in the course of Cooperation. Standing at a new starting point, China will continue to work closely with Sierra Leone to implement the important consensus reached by H.E. President Xi Jinping and H.E. President Julius Maada Bio and promote our bilateral relations to a new high. Let’s jointly cherish what we have been achieved in our relations and cooperation. Let’s be mindful of and oppose those attempts to distract and undermine China-Sierra Leone cooperation,” the Ambassador concludes.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Francis said Sierra Leone has been a credible partner to the Government of the People’s Republic of China. He said 50 years down the line Sierra Leone was instrumental in making sure that between 1970 to 1971 China secured its legitimate place at the United Nations Security Council.
He said 50 years on, there is still a building block of a trusted relationship with China and thanked Ambassador Hu for the unflinching support and for providing the capacity building support his ministry.
The minister said the 12 vehicles were donated on proxy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for other ministers, departments and agencies. He therefore encouraged all beneficiaries to manage the vehicles well.
Professor Francis maintained that his ministry will be responsible for the proper upkeep and security of those vehicles as per the contract.
He affirmed that the two buses will be handed to the Ministry of Tourism to facilitate and move tourists across the country as and when required.
He said the vehicles will be distributed among ministries, departments and agencies including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Information, Labour and Social Security, Internal Affairs, Lands Housing and Country Planning, and Tourism and Culture, and department and agencies including the National Disaster Management Agency, the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion and the Office of National Security.