President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is back in the country following a week-long state visit to the People’s Republic of China.
President Sirleaf arrived in the country last Friday at the Roberts International Aurport to a arousing welcome by the Chairman of the Liberian Cabinet, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and other senior Liberian Government officials, as well as well-wishers, among others.
She concluded her State Visit to China after holding high-level meetings with the Premier of China’s State Council (Prime Minister), Li Keqiang and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (Speaker of the Congress) Zhang Dejiang at the Great Hall of the People.
An Executive Mansion release said, in separate meetings, President Sirleaf informed Premier Keqiang and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang, about the longstanding relations between the two countries - renewed and strengthened by the current Liberian Government, and that over the years, China has done very well for Liberia and its people.
She recalled the Ebola disease that struck Liberia and China’s immediate and subsequent assistance that led to the defeat of the virus, also highlighting the formulation of the Post-Ebola Economic Stabilization Plan to reverse the current state of the country, particularly the economy and emphasized strong partnership with China through private sector companies to help revive the country’s economy.
The President is quoted as calling on the two high ranking Chinese officials and China’s partnership, collaboration and support in four key areas including the fast-tracking and completion of all outstanding projects, investment in the mining, fishery and agricultural sectors as well as the processing of felled rubber wood into valuable furniture and value addition to rubber product.
She indicated that intervention in the listed areas will help boost the economy and provide thousands of jobs for Liberians, also soughing Chinese investors’ interest in a steel production industry as a means of ensuring that value addition to iron ore can take place in Liberia in addition to the exportation of the iron ore.
In his response, Premier Keqiang thanked President Sirleaf for her second State Visit to China and expressed satisfaction that she was able to hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, discuss several areas of partnership and cooperation and sign three bilateral agreements.
He assured her that all outstanding projects in Liberia will be fully implemented as scheduled. “We are well informed about Liberia’s history and characteristics and recalled that China was far worse than Liberia after its own wars,” said Premier Keqiang, reiterating that although China is still considered a developing country, it has reached where it is today.
He assured President Sirleaf that China was ready to help Liberia progress, especially after the Ebola crisis. He agreed with the Liberian leader that investment in agriculture in addition to fishery, wood processing and manufacturing complimented by a massive re-planting program, as well as the establishment of processing industries to add value to the many natural resources the country is endowed with can certainly transform the country.
Premier Keqiang indicated that China has effective technologies for high yield in agro-business and rice production, which when harnessed can help Liberia create jobs for the young people, ensure food sufficiency and achieve food security, expressing the hope that China-Liberia relations can be of mutual benefits or a win-win situation for both countries.
For his part, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang indicated that China has long been a good friend to Liberia and the African continent, pledging the commitment and support of his office in standing with Liberia in its development drive especially after the Ebola situation.
He assured her of a very productive relationship between China and Liberia on the one hand and China and Africa on the other and praised President Sirleaf for the excellent leadership demonstrated with national and international support to defeat Ebola.