July 29, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Fan-Xiaodong, former Political Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, with Dr. Sesay
The Government of the People’s Republic of China has been very helpful to the government and people of Sierra Leone.
Most of the infrastructural development, including human resource capacity based of the country, have robustly supported by the Chinese government over the years, more especially in the areas of health, education, science and technology, among others.
The construction of the Kingharman Road Hospital, the Jui Hospital and the construction of a Confucius Institute at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, are tangible evidence of Chinese magnanimity to Sierra Leone.
What is more outstanding in the relationship between the two countries was the establishment of the Sierra Leone China Friendship Society, which has become one of the outstanding grassroots organisations in Sierra Leone.
This relationship started even before the political and diplomatic arrangement in 1971 between Sierra Leone and China, in which Sierra Leone was commended for playing an integral role in ensuring that China became a member of the United Nations.
Dr. Alfred Bobson-Sesay is the current Chairman of the Sierra Leone China Friendship Society. He took over the mantle of leadership from Hon. Joseph B. Dauda, former Minister of Internal Affairs, during the era of the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC).
Dr. Bobson Sesay said one of his priorities at that time was to have a well-structured organisation that would strengthen the relationship between Sierra Leoneans and the Chinese People’s Friendship Society for Friendship with Africa Countries, and that the society officially registered in 1992 with the government of Sierra Leone as a non-political, non-religious group.
The erstwhile Lands Minister said that this bilateral relationship provided an pportunity for the construction of the China-Friendship House, which is now the hob of social and cultural activities in Freetown.
“This building has been useful not only to members of the Friendship Society, but Sierra Leoneans at various levels. The building has been used for photo exhibitions to showcase the relationship between the two countries,” he told our reporter.
“Since the evolution of the multiparty system of government, we had a committed organisation, the Sierra Leone-China Friendship Society, with the aim of harmonising the relationship with China so that they can help us build a vibrant and strong economy of Sierra Leone,’’ he said.
He added that they have been organising symposia, cultural shows, and seminars to showcase the might of China at grassroots level, and that more importantly, the Chinese and Sierra Leone friendship organisations have been making series of exchange visits to China and Sierra Leone, respectively.
“Overall, the Chinese government has done a lot for the government and people of Sierra Leone. They have constructed roads, schools, hospitals, government buildings and other infrastructure for Sierra Leone. They also provide scholarship for Sierra Leoneans in various fields of studies, these are all part of the development process. The Chinese government provided support for our military during the civil war, only recently, they provided massive support towards the fight against the deadly Ebola disease,” he said and commended the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, H.E. Zhao Yanbo, for the continuous support to Sierra Leone .