October 3, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, H.E. Zhao Yanbo, Thursday (29th September) formally bade farewell to the government and people of Sierra Leone after spending two years nine months in the country.
In an official reception at the Chinese Embassy in Freetown, while also celebrating the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the departing Chinese envoy noted that over the past 67 years, under the leadership of the communist party of China and with the joint efforts by the people of all ethnic groups, China has successfully shaken off poverty and become the world’s second largest economy, bringing about a miracle in the history of human development.
He said that in the first half of this year China’s GDP grew, registering a remarkable rate of 6.7% amidst the sluggish world economy and consumption expenditure contributed to over 70 percent in the GDP growth.
He continued that tertiary industry added value rose to 54.1 of GDP and over seven million jobs were created, adding that they have every reason to say that the Chinese economy was maintaining its stable and steady momentum.
“Going forward, China will unswervingly commit itself to deepening the comprehensive reforms, transforming growth mode, pressing forward with the one belt initiative and increasing more closely with the other countries. As China is devoting itself to its own development, it will bring about more development opportunity for the worldwide,” he said.
He added: “This year marks the 45 anniversary of the establishment of China-Sierra Leone diplomatic relations and currently China Sierra Leone relations are in the best period, with our bilateral exchange being enhanced and pragmatic cooperation substantiated constantly in various field.”
“As a Chinese saying goes ‘Action speaks louder than words’, from sending chartered airplanes to assist Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola at the crucial moment, to Sierra Leonean doctors, government functionaries, nurses and students studying tours to China. From Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Vice Chairman Mr. Wang Jiarui’s visit to Sierra Leone, to the exchange of the visits between the two Foreign Ministers, from the Tonkolili iron ore project which generates revenues and employments, to Mamamah International Airport flagship project, China is indeed delivering by its concrete actions, ceaselessly injecting an impetus to China-Sierra ties.”
He said that during his tenure he had the pleasure of visiting a whole lot of areas and that he was so much overwhelmed by the natural beauty of rural areas, rich endowment as well as the colourful culture of the country.
He added that he was gladdened by the socio-economic development and achievements Sierra Leone gained.
Also making a statement, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, on behalf of the president and the government of Sierra Leone congratulated the government and people of the People’s Republic of China on the occasion of China’s National Day and also bade farewell to ‘a friend of Sierra Leone, a supporter of Sierra Leone’s Development strides, Ambassador Zhao Yanbo’.
He said China was founded during very difficult times but is now the world’s second largest economy and have achieved one of the greatest miracles in human history by getting hundreds of millions out of poverty, which no other country has so far achieved.
He maintained that being born poor does not mean one has to live poor and that the People’s Republic of China had gone through many difficulties from the bitter war that heralded its founding, to the challenges during the Cultural Revolution, the difficulties in taking its rightful place at the United Nations Security Council, to controlling its huge population, maintaining order and sustaining prosperity.
“I don’t want to repeat here that the story of the relationship between Sierra Leone and China is a tall one. I don’t need to repeat the great role Sierra Leone played in getting China to claim its rightful place at the United Nations and I don’t need to repeat China’s contribution to Sierra Leone infrastructural development or training of Sierra Leoneans in China. When the Ebola struck, many were running away from us but China was the first to send medical equipment and personals in the country and that was a vote of confidence in humanity’s ability to end the scourge through concerted efforts,” said Dr. Sesay
He told the audience, which included Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh, that Ambassador Yanbo had once told him that any nation which wanted to get rich should build roads, adding that that was what the present government has done by building roads all across the country, stating that the biggest of all was the one that would connect the country to every nation in the world.
“The road that will make the country better accessible by every country in the world will be the runway of the New Airport at Mamamah for which the government is grateful to the Chinese Government,” he concluded.