…on invitation of Chinese counterpart
June 14, 2016 By John Baimba Sesay in Beijing, China
Sierra Leone’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara, arrived in Beijing, China Monday, 13 June on the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
On the sideline of his visit, Minister Samura Kamara visited Huawei Research Center, a leading global ICT company, where he was briefed by the company’s management on its operations in Sierra Leone and possible areas of further cooperation. He was accompanied by Ambassador Alimamy P. Koroma, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to China and the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Zhao Yanbo.
Briefing the Minister, Guo Tianmin, Huawei’s Senior Vice President, said that with over 170,000 employees worldwide, 79,000 of which are engaged in Research and Development, the company in 2015 generated revenue to the tune of US$60.8bn, providing professional services to over 1,500 networks in over 170 countries and regions, serving one-third of the world’s population.
Huawei’s global value chain, he said, allows fluid capability transfer across the globe and helps develop and retain talent in local countries, and creates jobs and economic opportunities.
On their Long-term investment in innovation, the Vice President said the company continues to invest over 10% of revenue into Research and Development, “which enhances our competitiveness while propelling the industry and advancing technologies”, adding that total R&D investment in the past decade amounted to over CNY240billion (US$38 billion).
With a goal of ensuring connectivity and broadband inclusion for all, the company, the Vice President said, works with carriers to provide wide coverage, providing billions of people with access to communication services.
On their operations in Sierra Leone, Sunfy Li, Managing Director Huawei Sierra Leone, said they entered the Sierra Leonean market in 2004, now serving over 60% of the country’s population.
The company was the main contractor for the completion of Phase 1 of the National Backbone Transmission Project, and now looking forward to Phase 2, expected to complement Phase 1.
Minister Samura Kamara, in his statement, said Sierra Leone would continue to give the company the needed support in its operations, while he wished them successes in their undertakings. One possible area of further cooperation, he said, could be in the area of e-governance, giving the relevance of ICT in the process.
The National Optical Transmission Backbone Project is an important project to Sierra Leone’s development trajectory as it can generate revenue for government.
It is also expected to provide reliable transmission vehicle to all the telecom operators in the country to handle the challenges of big traffic and customer experience, given also the much-needed infrastructure for the future of ICT development in the country, including in e-government, digitalisation, migration and e-education.
In another development, Minister Samura Kamara met with staff of the embassy and updated them on development efforts back home. He was visiting, he said, to amongst other things, discuss with his Chinese counterpart ways of fostering the bars of Cooperation ties between the two countries, especially as this year marks 45 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
He called on the workforce to “use diplomacy to improve yourselves and the country”, whilst assuring to explore the possibility of further institutional supports from the Chinese to Sierra Leone.
Ambassador Alimamy P. Koroma in his response said that he was impressed with the team of committed staff he at the embassy, adding that he has so far enjoyed a cordial working relationship with everyone.
Dr Kamara is slated to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Wednesday, 15th June, 2016, and Vice President of China, Li Yuanchao, in the afternoon hours of the same day.
Accompanying the minister is the Director of Multilateral Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Saidu Nallo.