Dozens of Sierra Leonean students & 11 man Agriculture Ministry delegation arrive in China
The Embassy of Sierra Leone in the People’s Republic of China, together with the Sierra Leone Student Union in china on Saturday, 1st September welcomed dozens of Sierra Leonean students who have come to further their education as a result of scholarships granted them by the Chinese government. Since Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China entered into diplomatic relations in 1971, such ties have continued to grow yearly, especially in terms of fostering such within the educational sector.
In 2011/2012, a total of 26 Sierra Leonean students arrived in China for different courses and since 1971 over 980 Sierra Leoneans have graduated from different fields of studies from Chinese Universities. This latest batch of students includes three females and 24 males, with one more expected to arrive soon.
Welcoming the students in China, Head of Chancery, Sierra Leone Embassy, Paul AS Minah cautioned them to always abide by the rules and regulations governing not just their learning institutions, but those of the country in general. “You are in a different country and you must obey the laws here and give time to your studies”, he said, whilst also encouraging the new students to work with the student union body that has been working assiduously towards coordinating students affairs between the embassy and the student body.
Paul A S Minah also called on the students to see each other as a family and encouraged them to have time to visit the embassy as “it is always open for you people.”
This latest arrival of Sierra Leonean students in China has been seen as an encouraging one, especially as it will serve as a plus to developing the country’s our human resource capacity. Giving his reaction, President for the Sierra Leone Student Union in China, Alphajor Alhadi Bah expressed gratitude to the people and government of China for their continuous support to Sierra Leone, especially in terms of building Sierra Leone’s human resource. He said, “for a country to develop, human resource should be the base and from what we have been seeing, it is encouraging that our government back home is also working hard to improve on the country’s human resource” he said on the phone, whilst expressing optimism that “over 8o% of those coming to study will go back home and contribute to the socio-economic development of our country.”
Meanwhile, the students have all departed for their various universities out of Beijing.
In another related development, a delegation of eleven officials from the Ministry of Agriculture in Sierra Leone also over the weekend arrived in Beijing under the South-South Cooperation to learn from their Chinese counterparts, among other things, on how to increase Sierra Leone’s yearly harvest from rice.
During a courtesy call on the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing, the Head of Delegation, Francis AR Sankoh, Director-General Ministry of Agriculture in Sierra Leone spoke, both China and Sierra Leone have continued to strengthen their relations as could be seen in the area of agriculture and that “not just them (Chinese) going to visit Sierra Leone, we agreed on a transfer of personnel on exchange visits through the South-South Cooperation.” China, he said, has continue to have big investments in Sierra Leone and specifically made reference to the recently signed rubber and rice plantation project which he said, will ensure not just food availability for Sierra Leoneans when fully actualized, but “will support us in the area of job creation for especially our youths.”
On the selection of the team for the visit, he explained, it was carefully selected to reflect the needs of Sierra Leone since the team has a livestock expert, an agriculture engineer, Heads of Agriculture from the Kenema, Bombali, Bonthe districts and the Western Area as well as the Deputy Secretary in the Ministry and a representative from FAO and SLARI.
Head of Chancery, Paul Minah welcomed the delegation to China and expressed joy that progress is being made in the agriculture sector in Sierra Leone. He also paid tribute to President Ernest Bai Koroma for paying special attention to the agriculture sector as a top priority, “since has made progress in the areas of energy and infrastructure.” He also commended the role that China is playing in Sierra Leone, saying, “…they are very supportive of us as a country and we need to continue taking advantage of this as they are our brothers.”
Sierra Leone, he went on, is reaping the benefit from the Sino-Sierra Leone cooperation, referring to the Chinese support to Sierra Leone in the area of infrastructure and agriculture as could be seen in the recent handing over of the Foreign Ministry of Sierra Leone, built by the Chinese government for Sierra Leone.
The team is expected to visit the hybrid millet production in Zhangjiakou Academy of Agricultural Science, visit and meet with rice post-harvest enterprise, visit and meet with Aquaculture Base and enterprise of Qianjiang City and with the Agriculture Bureau of Hubei Province and also will be visiting the National Agricultural Technology Extension Serviced Center, amongst others.
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