Liberia has over the last few years benefitted from significant contributions made by the People’s Republic of China towards its post-war reconstruction progression.
These contributions include the construction of the Tappita Hospital in Nimba County. The health facility is the second largest in Liberia. It currently offers quality and affordable health care delivery services to Liberians in rural parts of the country; the construction of a modern campus at the Fendall Campus of the University of Liberia and three high schools including the William Gabriel Kpolleh High School in New Georgia Estate, The Suen Mecca High School in Suen Mecca District, Bomi County and the Kendeja High located in the ELWA, Rahab Community.
Other significant undertakings of the Chinese Government in Liberia include the establishment of an Agricultural Demonstration Center at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI)in Bong County; the rehabilitation of the Samule kanyon Doe Sports Complex as well as the provision of more than 200 under and post-graduate scholarships to Liberian students. The Chinese have also invested in hotels, agriculture, and the construction of roads and bridges.
Notable among these Chinese investments in Liberia was the signing in 2009 of a US$2.6 Billion Concession Agreement, the highest ever in the history of Liberia, for the mining of Iron Ore.
Remarkably though, on September 11, 2012, the Government of the People’s Republic of China, through its embassy accredited near Monrovia, made a ground-breaking announcement of the construction of a 60 million-Dollar Mega Ministerial Complex-a structure that would house more than 10 government ministries and agencies in Liberia.
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua in his pronouncement of the PRC’s gesture to the government and people of Liberia declared that the ministerial complex will be the second largest building on the African Continent, next to the 200-million Dollar new African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, also built by the Chinese Government.
Ambassador Zhao Jianhua declared that the cost of the construction will be paid out of China’s assistance under the Economic and Technical Corporation Agreement signed between the Chinese and Liberian Governments on September 27, 2011 and January 17, 2012 respectively.
The ministerial complex project which is expected to be completed within three and a half years is expected to enhance coordination and effectiveness among government ministries and agencies, civil servants and save the government the millions of dollars it spends on rented properties, housing various ministries and agencies.
Imagine, a sixty-million dollar jumbo ministerial complex, ornamented in the latest architecture and engineering, the harbinger of all state-of-the-art buildings on the West Coast of the continent of Africa, punctuating the skylines of Monrovia-Liberia. That would be a sight to see!
A question that lingers in my mind though, is why didn’t the Chinese choose to erect such invaluable mammoth structure in Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa, Chad or Algeria where it has huge investments interest estimated at more than five Billion United States Dollars in sectors such as energy, transportation and metal?
Why did the People’s Republic of China choose to erect this structure in Liberia as a gift to the government and people of Liberia, to house a significant portion of the civil service of the country?
From my perspective, and I am sure a lot of other Liberians do think the same also; this Ministerial Complex, when erected would serve as a concrete expression of the spirit of mutualism and cordiality that subsist between both the governments and peoples of Liberia and China.
The multi-million dollar mega ministerial complex when completed would also manifest the Chinese Government’s commitment to contributing positively towards the rebuilding process of the shattered infrastructure of Liberia.
This gesture by the Chinese Government is not only commendable but also manifests China’s commitment towards improving the lives and welfare of all Liberians. It will, in a practical way, symbolize the friendship and cooperation between Liberia and China that are essentially crafted on the principle of mutual respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The ministerial complex when constructed will, beyond imagination, indeed be China’s most invaluable gift to Liberia!
Joey T. Kennedy;