A Chinese business delegation headed by the Director General of the Fujian Province Foreign Affairs Office in The People’s Republic of China, Mr. Song Kenning is in the country to explore investment opportunities here.
The delegation which arrived on Sunday, January 17, primary interest is in the agriculture and fishery sectors. The Chinese delegation, which was accompanied to Liberia by McKinley Thomas, Liberian’s Ambassador to the People Republic of China, paid a courtesy visit Monday, January, 18 on the Acting Foreign Minister, Honorable B. Elias Shoniyin, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
While meeting with the Acting Minister, the head of delegation stated, “We are trying to look at opportunities and potential of our first operations and also have some tangible projects.”
He noted that his team comprises of strong entrepreneurs from excellent companies, which are experts in agriculture and fisheries. “These very successful Chinese entrepreneurs are here to sign some very important agreements in Liberia,” he added.
Acting Foreign Minister Shoniyin thanked the delegation and stated that the composition of their delegation reflects a real strong response to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s visit to the Fijians Province. “Some of the areas we are looking at very crucially in Liberia at the moment are the fisheries and agriculture and your delegation comprises of successful entrepreneurs from those areas, “he stated.
The Acting Foreign Minister assured the delegation that the Foreign Ministry will coordinate with relevant ministries and agencies to facilitate the team’s investment tour in Liberia.
The Minister also stated that relevant ministries and agencies of government are all in high spirit to meet with the business team for productive discussions.
“Madam President will be extremely pleased if the outcome of this mission can yield some important tangibles between our two sides – from the Liberian side and these very great entrepreneurs of Fujian province – which you have led on this mission. If we can do anything to further the negotiations, we will be very open to do so,” Acting Foreign Minister Shoniyin assured.
The Chinese Business Delegation also discussed with the National Investment Commission (NIC), the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOC), National Port of Authority (NPA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as the private sector, mainly the Liberian Chamber of Commerce and the Liberia Business Association.
While holding discussion with stakeholders, Prof. Lin Zhanxi, Director of Juncao Research Institute, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University expressed interests in mushroom and rice production in Liberia and promised to train six Liberians at the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in agriculture research and technology to produce feeds for animal.
Mr. Zhanxi disclosed that they have come prepared to commence the implementation of the MOU signed in December 2015 in South Africa on fishery development. During the delegation’s meeting with the Liberia Investment Commission, the Chairperson commended the Director General for responding to President Sirleaf’s invitation and lauded the Chinese government for boosting the Liberian economy through grant assistance and investment activities.
In meeting with the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Commerce Minister Axel Addy reiterated calls for fishery development and requested pieces of information on export promotion.
The Minister of Commerce suggested potential areas in Grand Cape Mount and Bassa Counties for constructing fishing piers and made invitation for more investment in rubber wood processing, coffee, cocoa and Meringa production in Liberia.
On Tuesday, January 19, the delegation met with the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, the National Port of Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture, during which the Director General expressed interest to sign MOU between the Fujian Province and the Ministry of Agriculture.
This visit of the Chinese Business team is in response to the invitation extended by Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the private sector and officials of the Fujian Province to develop interest in investing in Liberia. The Liberian leader made the overture during her recent State visit to the People’s Republic of China in November 2015.