The signing of the project agreement on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 by the Governments of China and Liberia marked another major achievement in Sino-Liberian relations. Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, representing the Government of the People’s Republic of China and Foreign Minister Augustine K. Nguafuan, representing the Liberian government, signed US$60m project agreement for the construction of a ministerial complex. The complex, to be constructed in the municipality of Paynesville adjacent the ELWA Compound, is expected to host about ten ministries and agencies of government.
The project, one of the biggest on the continent of Africa to which the Chinese Government has committed itself, according to Ambassador Zhao, is second to the headquarters of the African Union in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa constructed by the Chinese government. As stated by the Chinese Ambassador to which we concur, the availability of such ministerial complex will not only help to beautify the city, but most importantly create the environment and opportunity for the Government of Liberia to reserve and direct so much cash to the socio-economic welfare of the people of Liberia.
Interestingly also, it would, to the greatest extent, diminish the high rate of inflation characterizing rental of private buildings by public officials for personal aggrandizement. In our minds, such gesture by the People’s Republic of China will have the “aged-old legacy” of huge annual expenditure by the Liberian Government on rents for buildings housing ministries and agencies broken.
“By constructing a multi-million dollar ministerial complex at a cost of approximately US$60 million- the second largest structure built by China in Africa next to the African Union’s New Headquarters in Addis Ababa, President Sirleaf and her Government will be finally closing the chapter on the inconvenience of being a tenant and opening a new chapter on the respectability and cost-saving of being a landlord,” noted Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan during the Tuesday signing ceremony on capitol hill.
Such huge undertaking for our country by the Government of the People’s Republic of China is, no doubt, the most practical result in recent time of how effective and efficient is the conduct of our country’s foreign policy by the current administration.
All we can only pray and hope for after the complex shall have been completed, is a sincere and expeditious relocation or transfer exercise wherein key ministries and agencies such as the Ministries of Education, Justice, Commerce and Industry and Transport, as well as the Investment Commission and maritime Authority, among others will be prioritized to relieve the government of the shame befallen it because of the presence of these public institutions in private buildings.
Sino-Liberian relations, without any doubt, is a true reality characteristic of tangible developments mostly benefitting Liberia, a nation emerging from years of untold devastation as a result of intermittent conflicts. Perhaps being cognizant of such sad story and the Liberian Government’s desire to rebuild, the Chinese thought to engage our country to experience the impact of such diplomatic relations.
Since the resumption of diplomatic relations with Liberia since eight years ago, the Government of the People ’s Republic of China continues to ensure opportunities for Liberians in that country in the areas of Education, Agriculture, Trade and Commerce, Administration, Management, as well as Telecommunication, among others. The issue of the development of the Fendell campus of the University by the Chinese Government and Research facilities at the Central Agriculture Research Institute in Suacoco, Bong County in this direction cannot even be over-emphasized.
Fortunately, unlike other relations to whom Liberia is attached, Sino-Liberia has no strings attached. We wholeheartedly do commend such diplomatic interactions.
While we embrace this multi-million dollar achievement in Sino-Liberian relations, we can only hope for the strengthening of this diplomatic tie so much so that the administration will ‘turn its back’ as a result of pressure and envy (jealousy) by other relations characterized by exploitations of all sorts.