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China in Africa, lifting the bars of people-to-people and political diplomacy; prospect and desire of a coming Ambassador PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Baimba Sesay –IA, PR China   
Sunday, 28 April 2013 23:26

Sierra Leone’s sustained growth continues to make great progress with specific reference to the governance period of President Ernest Koroma. During his first five years, he moved the country toward a change drive. That was done, successfully as demonstrated in areas of infrastructure, in energy generation and distribution, agriculture and fighting corruption. This is same at the diplomatic front. President Koroma in January 2012, appointed Victor Bockarie as Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the Peoples Republic of China, with accreditation to several other countries in south-east Asia.

 

Ambassador Foh’s appointment came at a time Sierra Leone is moving with a prosperity drive, spearheaded by the country’s President. This prosperity drive is as important for our economic growth, as it is with the role of China in the fulfillment of this all important agenda. When discussing the Sino-Sierra Leone relation, one thing to be made apparent is also the significant role that Sierra Leone played in pushing for China’s entrance into the United Nations. That was after diplomatic relations were entered into by 1971 between the two countries. President Koroma attaches great significance to the friendship and diplomatic ties between the two countries. In 2011,he spoke of the special ties between Sierra Leone and China, whilst calling for further efforts toward strengthening those ties, not only on government level but to deepen the interface at the private sector level. For President Koroma, "China is becoming a market of the future and we (Sierra Leone) must take advantage of that…" especially in trying to cooperate with multilateral institutions.

China is indeed a growing world economic power. China’s foreign trade in 2012 was at $3.87 trillion, given the fact that the country is the world’s biggest world’s exporter and second largest importer and these expanding imports, according to China Daily, will enhance the country’s influence in global market. This is encouraging for developing nations especially for third world nations. China is Africa’s strategic develop0ment partner. Practically, China‘s continued emergence as a major trading partner for Africa is expected to continue growing. The International Business Daily of China-Africa (February 2012) reported that China’s export to Africa’s rose by 5% in 2012, which was seen as a faster growth than to other regions. It quoted figures released by Standard Bank that 18% of African imports in 2012 came from China as compared to 16.8% in 2011, 10% in 2008 and 4.5% a decade ago.

The Sino-Africa development cooperation is not only limited to trade but takes into account infrastructure. Zhai Jun is quoted by China Daily (February 22-28) as saying Africa faces numerous challenges and as such "China will play a role as a firm supporter of its renaissance and unification by making contributions where they are needed and wanted" In fact, in a Policy Brief, Volume1, Issue 4, 29 July, 2010, the African Development Bank Group Chief Economist Complex, writing on "Chinese Trade and Investment Activities in Africa" made the point, that "official Chinese economic activities in Africa are structured on a bilateral basis, with discussions being held between China‘s central government and its African counterparts." Thus, in line with the context of development cooperation, we see several Chinese state-owned banks devoting their operations to backing China‘s presence in Africa.

This is an encouraging development given China’s model of development cooperation with African governments. Presenting a paper at a Partnership workshop in Beijing, February 2013, on "China’s Engagement and Aid Effectiveness in Africa, including Trade, Investment and Special Economic Zones" Sierra Leonean born Professor Franklyn Lisk from the Centre for the Study of Globalization and Regionalization (CSGR), Warwick University submitted that Chinese Model of Development Cooperation is focussed on among other frameworks; Mutual relations and benefits: ‘win-win’, partnership, ‘shared growth’, country ownership and Investment-oriented: trade, special economic zones, industrialisation.

Sierra Leone continues to utilize all options available in line with her desires to fostering socio-economic and infrastructural development. Ambassador Bockarie Foh recently spoke of his determination to further strengthen the relationship between Sierra Leone and China by moving beyond the tradition diplomacy of infrastructural development, but also sustain the political diplomacy that once existed as demonstrated in the ties between President Siaka Stevens and Mao Zedong of Sierra Leone and China, respectively.

Strengthening such ties is something that the Director-General of the Bureau of African Affairs International Department of the Central Committee Communist Party of China, Cao Baijun has always welcomed. In May 2012, he spoke of how his department "would want to further such relationship" This should come into play taking into account when in 1978; Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Ji Pengfei visited Sierra Leone as was also the case in 1984, when Vice Premier Tian Jiyun visited Sierra Leone, among other high profile visits. On the Sierra Leone side, President Siaka Stevens, founding father of Sino-Sierra Leone relations, visited China in 1973, two years following the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, as was also the case with President Ernest Bai Koroma, Leader of the ruling party in Sierra Leone, who visited China twice, in three years of becoming President. There are several other high profile visits.

Forging traditional and political diplomacy is not Victor Foh’s only desire. He spoke of wanting to learn from China on how to promote issues of women and children. The need to also constantly engage investment institutions like China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) and Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) is as crucial as the need for Ambassador Foh to be supported by and sundry. Exim-Bank is the world’s third largest export credit agency, with a mandate to "implement state policies in industry, foreign trade and economy, finance and foreign affairs". The vast majority of infrastructure financing arrangements done by China in the African continent are reportedly financed by the China Exim Bank. The Bank has financed over 300 projects in Africa, with infrastructure, being the core of its undertakings. On the other hand, with representative offices in four African countries; South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia, CADFund was established in 2006 as the first equity investment fund in the country, primarily focusing on investment in Africa. It has an aim of enhancing China-Africa economic cooperation and promotes Africa’s development through direct investment. As of last year the agency, the agency had invested about 2.3 billion dollars in Africa with over 30 projects, including their investment in Real Estates in Sierra Leone. (Source:, Hu Zhirong, Vice President for CADFund 2012). There is great work ahead and Victor Foh will surely succeed, with our collective support.

 

Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

Read more...

Business News

ACC CAPACITATES SIERRA LEONE COMMERCIAL BANK STAFF ON ANTI-BRIBERY AND ANTI-CORRUPTION ISSUES

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on the request of the Management of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) on Thursday 20th July, 2017 commenced anti- bribery and anti-corruption training with staff of the Bank.

The training which was held in the Bank's Conference Room 9th Floor, Christian Smith Building 29/31 Siaka Stevens Street, Freetown attracted over twenty members of the Executive Management.

Addressing colleagues, the Managing Director, SLCB, Idrissa Aloma Kamara disclosed that the Bank has integrated into the Bank's operations anti-corruption measures, such as the development of anti-corruption policy, anti-graft messages inscribed on Bank Statements and sensitization of staff on the dangers of corruption. With all these, the MD stated, it is the view of the Bank that the ACC which is the statutory body responsible for the campaign against corruption be brought in, to provide awareness training on anti-bribery issues for an efficient and effective banking system.

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Media News

Two veteran Journalists, now in the United States have paid a courtesy call on Sierra Leone's Ambassador

Two very respected and veteran Journalists who are in the United States of America for various reasons have called on Sierra Leone’s Amr. Bockari Kortu Stevens not only to appreciate the work of the Embassy, but also to pay courtesy as protocol demands.

Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson, former Lecturer Fourah Bay College, former Director of Information Ministry of Information and Communications, Former Director Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), Former Chairman Independent Media Commission (IMC) and stringer French News Agency  etc. is on vacation and Mr. Cyril Juxon Smith Director Information and Communications House of Parliament, former Acting Director General Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and former UNESCO Media Consultant  is in the United States of America to attend the funeral of his father.

Speaking at the Ambassador’s residence on 4821 Colorado Avenue, Washington DC  Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson said “Thank  you Amr. Stevens for accommodating us in the middle of your tight schedule, and also to discuss with us in a homely spirit.

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Commentary

REVIEWING THE JUNE 2017 ECOWAS SUMMIT

A PASSIONATE LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT:  44TH EDITION

REVIEWING THE JUNE 2017 ECOWAS SUMMIT
 Your Excellency Sir,
 It’s been six months since I subscribed to my usual publications of this piece. And this is primarily because I have been out of the country for the entire period, and as such would not normally objectively tender a subscription. I do apologize to my readers for this. So having being in Monrovia, Liberia for the recently concluded ECOWAS Summit, I would like to do some analysis on such a historic august body and gathering of this sub-Saharan/West African region.
 
In resume, among other crucial achievements, ECOWAS, through its military apparatus, ECOMOG, played very sacrificial and invaluable roles in bringing peace, security and democratic governance to both Sierra Leone and Liberia during their past civil wars, and most recently ensuring that the Gambian people’s democratic change of government from the notorious dictatorial twenty seven years regime of Yaya Jarmeh, to the current government of President Adama Barrow, through their tactical robust intervention, overseen by President Helen JohnsonSirleaf of Liberia and other ECOWAS Presidents/actors, was enforced. Furthermore, ECOWAS has also spearheaded the enactment of several socio-political, advocacy and economic treaties in the sub region.
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View Point

WHY SIERRA LEONEANS HATE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

Honestly speaking Sierra Leoneans are well known for their hospitality all over the world, especially in Africa. But ironically many of them hate each other. But they love foreigners. They have high respect for strangers. But unfortunately they do not have respect among themselves. You can attest this to what is happening in the social media. Where they are showing their pull him down (PhD) syndrome. By castigating their compatriots unnecessarily. Some of them just because of jealousy and envious evil spirit they possess. They prefer to promote foreigners than their own brothers and sisters both in and out of the country.

Day in day out they are insulting each other.They are using all sorts of vulgar languages against each other. And even their own highly respected president in the world, President Ernest Bai Koroma they are insulting him openly. Therefore, it is an open secret that many Sierra Leoneans are not well cultured.

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News - Press Release

Regent village head calls on LAB to tackle domestic violence

The village head for Regent, Ms. Jokomie Browne has called on the Legal Aid Board to help curb the increase in incidence of domestic violence in the Regent Community in the outskirts of the capital Freetown.

Ms. Browne wants the Board to hold outreach events in the village to educate the people on issues of law relating to domestic violence, gender, women’s rights, redress mechanisms and support services for victims.

‘We want to benefit from the Legal Aid Board’s Legal Empowerment Programme because there is an urgent need for one in the community,’ Ms. Browne told the Executive Director of the Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles on the phone. ‘The situation is desperate. I am afraid if you do not come in now the situation could spiral out of control.’

The call follows series of referral of victims of domestic violence to the Legal Aid Board office in Freetown. The latest victim sent to the Board is one Baindu who was battered by her boyfriend Borbor Abu in the presence of their one year old son.

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Society -Local News

China-Aid Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project hand over Agriculture Materials to the Ministry of Agriculture

On  21st July ,2017 at a handing over ceremony held at Ogoo Farm in Freetown, China-Aid Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project Team handed agricultural materials to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS). 

The items include seed rice, maize, agro chemicals, fertilizer, pesticides and power tillers for farmers within the western area district. Dignitaries present included The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Food security Prof. Monty Jones and his entourage ,  Mr Shen Xiaokai, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, the District agricultural officer, the Chinese technical team, National federation of farmers Sierra Leone representative and lot of farmers in the western Area.

During his statement, Mr Shen said for over 40 years China has been fulfilling its commitment to Sierra Leone with regard the agricultural technical cooperation project.

He said China will continue to assist Sierra Leone in its developmental strides by providing technical support and assistance and by also providing training to help develop the human resource capacity of the workforce.

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Development

30 Staff of the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development will go China for Seminar on Economic Planning

Thirty (30) staff of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will depart the shore of Freetown to China on 14th August 2017. The purpose of their trip is to attend a seminar on Medium and Long-Term Economic planning for Sierra Leone. The National Development and Reform Commission of China will organize the seminar from 16th August to 7th September 2017 in the capital city of Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

The Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Freetown, Mr. Shen Xiaokai met with the 30 participants at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) on 2rd August 2017. In his remarks he told the participants that in December 2016, His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Momodu Kargbo visited China, where they had high level bilateral meetings with Chinese Government Officials. 

He said this seminar is as a result of those meetings. “When China makes a commitment, China will fulfil it” he reiterated. He said The Ministry of Finance is one of the most important ministries in this country, therefore this seminar was designed specifically to meet the needs of the ministry.

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Politics

News from China, June 28th: Youth Affairs Minister addresses 2017 Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation in Capacity Development in Beijing, China
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Youth Affairs has said, the 2017 Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation in Capacity Development hosted by the Chinese government should help enhance the ties of friendship and foster the wheels of bilateral cooperation between the two nations and particularly strengthen cooperation in the field of human resource development.
 
Hon. Bai Mamoud Bangura spoke on Wednesday, 28th June, 2017, at the start of the week long Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation, which has brought together participants from various countries, including eight (8) from Sierra Leone.
 
According to minister Bangura, in line with the spirit of friendship and cooperation, the event could serve as an opportunity to jointly define new strategic directions in Sierra Leone’s ties with China and in opening up another episode of friendship and cooperation between the two.
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