The Foreign Ministry on Capitol Hill in Monrovia recently played host to an Investiture Ceremony in honor of departing Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua. The ceremony, presided-over by President Sirleaf in her capacity as Grand Master of the Orders of Distinction, also coincided with a farewell reception took place in the C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium in the presence of an number of dignitaries, including Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Chief Justice, His Honor Francis Korkpor, Cabinet Ministers and other senior officials of Government, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps, traditional leaders, among others.
During the investiture, the Humane Order of African Redemption, with the grade of Knight Great Band was conferred upon His Excellency, Ambassador Zhao Jianhua by the Liberian President for distinguishing himself as a representative of China, and bringing great dynamism to bilateral relations, as well as seeking new avenues of cooperation to support Liberia’s reconstruction and development. The Liberian President described the Ambassador’s accomplishments as impressive, further emphasizing that while diplomatic and economic cooperation were at the core of Sino-Liberia Relations, it was because of many of the Ambassador Zhoa’s personal initiatives that the two peoples have come close together culturally, increasing people-to-people cooperation and partnership.
She reaffirmed her Government’s unwavering commitment to the “One China Policy,” noting: “for this steadfastness, China had rewarded Liberia by playing a crucial role in its recovery and development; we will continue to promote and strengthen the long-standing bilateral relations that exist between our two countries.” True to the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s words of appreciation and gratitude to the departing Chinese Ambassador, it is only fair to further corroborate that the benefits evolving out of Sino-Liberia Relations are just accountable and untellable.
The completion of the new Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, as well as grant agreements for the ongoing construction of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center and soon-to-be construction of a modern ministerial complex to house over ten government ministries bespeak of what Sino-Liberia has proven to be. The rehabilitation of the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex, extension of the Capitol Building for the Liberian Legislature, as well as scholarship opportunities in China and the Ambassador’s own Scholarship Scheme for local scholarships are also indelible marks of such bilateral relations. Other fruits of this diplomatic cooperation include earlier gifts and grants made during the tenure of the Ambassador’s predecessors, among them: the construction of the new University of Liberia Fendell Campus, construction of the state-of-the-art Jackson F. Doe Referral Hospital, which serves the needs not only of Liberians, but citizens of the Mano River Union, and provision of professional medical personnel to boost the health delivery sector, the rehabilitation and construction of roads, schools and other health facilities, and hand pumps and water wells for safe drinking water to many rural communities by Chinese engineers, and provision and installation of solar panels to light up the streets and traffic lights, among several others.
As President Sirleaf recalled during the investiture ceremony in Monrovia recently, China was one of the first to demonstrate confidence in the Liberian economy, through a China Union-investment of US$2.5 billion, over a 25-year period, in the mining sector, blazing the trail for many more investors to choose Liberia as a safe and secure destination for private investment. Last, but not least, China’s interest in strengthening and developing the media sector as evidenced by several capacity-building programs at universities in China and its recent upgrading of the facilities of the Liberia Broadcasting System, also worth cherishing and remembering.
Liberians can only join their President to say to the outgoing Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Zhao Jianhua: “We are sad to see you go, Mr. Ambassador, but also grateful for the time you spent with us, making yourself at home and very accessible as you interacted, regularly, with them from all walks of society.” Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, and may Sino-Liberia Relations continue to make progress in all aspects of Liberia’s socioeconomic and political development through the foundation left behind by you.