Your trusted place for Sierra Leone and global news
HomeFeaturedPartnership Workshop – China’s growing presence in Africa

Partnership Workshop – China’s growing presence in Africa

Partnership Workshop – China’s growing presence in Africa

“Re-thinking Development Assistance in a Changing Global Order: China’s Growing presence in Africa”
China National Convention Center, Chaoyang, Beijing, 1st February 2013

Welcome Statement

Abubakarr Multi-kamara
Ambassador of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Your Excellencies, distinguished invitees to this Partnership Workshop, Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of Ambassadors Mamadi Diare and Jarjar Kamara of the Republic of Guinea and the Republic of Liberia respectively, our esteemed representative of the Mano River Union and on my own personal behalf as Ambassador of the Republic of Sierra Leone, I wish to warmly welcome you to this winter morning workshop on China’s growing presence in Africa and the changing global aid landscape, here in Beijing.

Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have continued to enjoy and benefit from excellent bilateral relations on account of our long time-honoured history of friendship and successful cooperation in aspects of politics, economics, trade and investment, technological transfer, culture education etc.  For us three Ambassadors, this legacy of solidarity and achievement, reminds us of our responsibility to expand areas and explore new ways of cooperation to ensure greater progress in our cooperation in the years ahead.

While the three countries are renowned to possess vast wealth of untapped resources and large reserves of mineral resources such as bauxite; iron ore, gold and diamond, phosphates and other minerals such as marble, platinum and rear earth metals, the three Ambassadors are also fully cognizant of the long way ahead in converting this enviable resource advantage into a development advantage for the benefit of the people and communities in these three countries.

Yet, many commentators and researchers in recent times maintain a conviction that Africa is a continent of great potential for stepping onto fast and sustainable growth path, and that in three decades to come the overall size of the economy in Africa is expected to be doubled, half of the population may become urban residents, the consumer purchasing power may also double and forces driving the economic growth will be more diversified.

These have been among the primary motivating factors behind this initiative, the quest to work increasingly collectively as representatives of our three countries, appreciate the development challenges and opportunities in our countries from a sub-regional perspective and take more proactive leadership, working more closely with our partners in the continued search for more relevant, more optimal, and more strategic, knowledge-based and sustainable solutions to our common development challenges.

It is for this and many other reasons that we have been particularly inspired by the positive response to our invitation, at very short notice, and the richness and diversity of the participants, lending much meaning and significance to the notion of ‘partnership’ in this workshop.  Without sounding as a vote of thanks, let me fully acknowledge the great interest and support you have demonstrated in being here this morning despite your onerous schedule to help broaden this conversation in the spirit of global peace and development cooperation. In particular, the three Ambassadors would like to recognize the presence of fellow Ambassadors and diplomats from the Mano River Union and other African and Asian countries; Officials of Chinese State institutions, private sector enterprises, scholars and researchers from Warwick  University, Peking University and other Chinese academic institutions, representatives of the United Nations system, DFID and other members of the international community, and all those who have come from near and far to be a part of this initiative.

The theme of the workshop is simply reaffirming that China is now a major player alongside traditional bilateral and multilateral donors in providing financial and technical assistance to Africa for its sustainable development and future prosperity. This growing presence is also a practical manifestation of the doctrine of South-South Cooperation. It is equally now reality, that China is a major economic power in the world today, with its growing economy imposing high demand for natural resources; its production and manufacturing power producing abundant consumer and industrial goods to satisfy the various needs of African countries; and its financial power and industrial capacity being great resources to provide economic assistance to African countries.  There is therefore a great opportunity for increased economic cooperation between the African countries and enterprises on the one hand, and the Chinese government and enterprises on the other.

The workshop provides an opportunity to reflect on this new international development cooperation and implications for the various actors and stakeholders who are represented around this conference table.

By way of a substantive contribution to this dialogue and ongoing conversation, the three Ambassadors have considered it opportune to jointly conceive the idea of the Makona River Free Zone Development Project, which is proposed as a cross-border initiative, the economic and financial benefit of which will be jointly and equally owned and shared by the three countries.  A lot more will be said about this project –its origins, nature and objectives etc- in a presentation this afternoon; suffice it at this stage to indicate that the proposals are very much consistent with the Mano River Union (MRU) strategy of accelerated “Growth Triangles” in the MRU; and also in consonance with the wider vision of China-Africa relations as outlined in the Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015) of the 5th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, which says “The Chinese Government and Enterprises support the development of overseas business cooperation zones established in Africa and, in addition to helping entry of Chinese and African enterprises into the zones, will support them in fitting into the strategic focus of zones to realize faster utilization of the zones so that they contribute towards rapid industrialization and economic restructuring in Africa…and the Chinese Government encourages enterprise and communities, strengthening technology and experience sharing on the shop floor and enhance technological transfer and job creation (4.2.5)”

What then are our expectations in this workshop? Given that a main thrust of this workshop would be the optimal mobilization of development assistance for a sub-regional and cross border initiative that meets not just the strategic goals of the MRU and the development aspirations of the citizens of the constituent member-states, it is expected that this workshop will serve to harness the knowledge base and expertise of the broad spectrum of partners here present, to help us move the agenda for our joint initiative forward.

Our partners from Warwick and Peking Universities, in the context of their own collaborative research project on China-Africa relations will undertake analysis for clarification and elaboration of conceptual, technical and policy issues as part of their research agenda; the United Nations system and the UNDP in particular, which has a long-standing experience in the practice of development, with its network of people on the ground familiar with local development context, community planning , job creation and good management practices, will provide advisory services with respect to the planning and execution of the initiative. Our Chinese state and private enterprise partners will assist our initiative in various ways, including giving us the benefit of China’s own development experience in areas of infrastructure, manufacturing and industrialization, helping us to develop our human capital in a manner that is practical, effective and sustainable.  Our joint initiative, in turn should provide our Chinese development partners with the experience and challenge of supporting regional cross-border development projects

In closing, please allow me to emphasize that the Makona River Free Zone Development initiative is being proposed in the wider context of a changing and evolving global economic order, which implies that we should take full advantage of the knowledge and expertise of our various partners to achieve efficiency and global competitiveness.

Let me thank you all again for coming and wish this august gathering very frank, fruitful and successful deliberations; and to all our Chinese friends and partners, a happy and joyous upcoming Spring Festival.

Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!

© 2013, https:. All rights reserved.

Share With:
Rate This Article
No Comments

Leave A Comment