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China to build first steel plant here

At the peak of bilateral talks with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, China’s Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi says his country is prepared to add value to Liberia’s raw material, as he announces plans to establish a steel plant here.

His announcement comes after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made such proposal to a visiting 15 man Chinese business delegation last week. “The highlight of this is that China has committed to helping us to adding value to our products, especially using excess capacity in China, transfer knowledge and helping us to establish things like steel plant, and other things that can help in the job creation effort of our country,” Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan said Sunday, 9 August.

Mr. Ngafuan says road construction, particularly another highway that can connect Liberia’s coastline was also discussed, and Liberian and Chinese authorities will be discussing the modality for accessing funds through “China Funds” to do the feasibility studies for the coastal highway in cooperation with other partners.

Prior to Mr. Yi’s arrival here on Saturday, August 8, President Sirleaf had requested China’s ore mining company – China Union – through Ambassador Zhan Yue for the establishment of a steel plant. in Liberia.
After a bilateral meeting with President Sirleaf Sunday, 9 August, Mr. Yi said China and Liberia have realized the importance of a lasting, stable and strong relationship which is entirely in the interest of a long term and fundamental interest of the people.

He said part of the discussion with President Sirleaf, Liberia’s Foreign Minister and other officials,was centered on the needs that Liberia has – economic and social, committing that China will speedily help Liberia in increasing its self-dependent through development capacity that will reach out to the entire population.

“… And we will not attach any political conditions or impose or request from any African country,” he said, adding that China will encourage it businesses to take more active part and assist development and help to Liberia built industrial structures as a way of sustaining development here.

At a meeting Thursday, 6 August with 15 Chinese business delegates lead by Ambassador Yue at the Cabinet Room of the Ministry of State, President Sirleaf said the processing of iron ore in Liberia is something that has been missing in the history of Liberia over the past three decades of mining ore here.

She believes that if China can really deliver that for Liberia, China would make a big difference, even though she acknowledged that the ore mining company China Union requires support from its government and the Government of Liberia in order to carry out the ore processing here that she believes would add value to the natural resource.

She told the delegates that industrialization was something that has been missing in government’s development experience here, citing the processing of fruits as something Liberia still don’t have. She wants the Chinese to work with local women entrepreneurs here to elevate that to a bigger level where it becomes an industry, expand and employ people.

President Sirleaf said China and Liberia have had collaborations in several ways, but she realized that “we have not” really maximized the potentials, while comparing China’s development here to what China has achieved in its partnerships with other African nations.

But she acknowledged that circumstances are different, as she named countries like Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kenya – where she says China has been most successful and advanced the developments of those countries.

Liberia’s Ambassador to China Mr. Mckinley Thomas said the visit was to put new energy into Liberia-China relation, adding that Liberian businesses will also be taken to China at a 2016 win-win visit to enable them seek opportunities there.

China’s Ambassador to Liberia Mr. Zhan Yue said the delegation’s visit here was a road-map for the coming of China’s Foreign Minister, saying some of them are very enterprising in China – covering energy sector, mining, infrastructure, coal processing and agriculture. Other delegates also represented companies in the construction and digital areas, among others. By Winston W. Parley -Edited by Othello B. Garblah


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