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Appreciating the Substance of Sino-Liberia Relations

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Liberia and the People’s Republic of China have again added another boost to their existing bilateral relations. In addition to several others, the two governments, on Friday, June 28, 2013, signed a Technical Cooperation Agreement for Human Capacity Development. Last Friday’s agreement focused on the expansion of cooperation in the field of human resource development within the framework of technical cooperation at the cost of three hundred thousand United States Dollars for twenty Liberian technicians to undergo a 30- day training program in the areas of repair, maintenance, operation and management of elevators for a period of one month in China.

Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan, during an exchange of notes ceremony in Monrovia, emphasized Liberia’s deep appreciation and gratitude to the Chinese Government for demonstrating yet another strong bilateral partnership, indicating that the Liberian Government would ensure the identification of the  appropriate personnel with the requisite qualifications and passion across sector government ministries and agencies with elevators to benefit from the program in China.

Minister Ngafuan described the training program as necessary in helping to build the technical capacity of middle-level technicians in government who are needed to keep the wheels of government infrastructure running. Like other countries on the African continent, Liberia continues to a constant recipient of Chinese development offers without any conditions or strings attached, while adhering to the One China policy since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 2003.

China’s development offers continue to be across all sectors of the Liberian Government, as well as civil society, including the media since the resumption of its true friendship with Liberia, with personnel from such groupings acquiring knowledge and skills at both short term and long term levels in various regions of the People’s republic of China at the expense of the Chinese Government.

Among the many development initiatives undertaken by the Chinese Government in Liberia since then, are the Jackson F. Doe Memorial hospital in Tappita, Nimba County, as well as the Agricultural Research Station at the Central Agriculture Research Institution (CARI) in Suacoco, Bong County. Another major initiative under the auspices of the Chinese Government at the moment is the construction of a ministerial complex to host several Liberian Government ministries and agencies, even though a final decision by the government for a site for the construction continues to delay the implementation of the project.

While China’s relations with Liberia and Africa at large may be viewed by some as an ‘influence war’ against the strategic interest of the United States, whose relations is tied around the strengthening of democracy on the continent, it is also important to note that the Chinese may be winning its ‘influence war’ because of the tangible values added to its relations with countries of the continent and their mother organizations-the African Union. Unless the United States revisits its policy toward the continent with more tangible values added, China’s ability to increase its influence through trade and commerce will continue to give it an edge on the continent.

While Liberia may cherish its long-standing ties with the great United States of America in all terms from its inception and will continue to do so, it also appreciates the substance of its current bilateral relations with the People ’s Republic of China with sincerity and commitment.

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