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Busy week ahead in China for Sierra Leone’s President Koroma

Busy week ahead in China for Sierra Leone’s President Koroma

With President Ernest Bai Koroma slated to arrive in the People’s Republic of China in the coming hours, on an official invitation, strong indications are that it is going to be a very busy week for him and his delegation, especially given Sierra Leone’s strong bilateral relations with China following the establishment of diplomatic relations decades ago, since 1971.

Arriving on Monday 24th June, His Excellency President Koroma will meet with Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People, the seat of power of the People’s Republic of China. This will be the first meeting between these two leaders following the reelection of President Koroma for another term in office, and that of President Xi Jinping who came to power few months ago.

President Koroma, who was elected into office last November on an ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ is also expected to meet and exchange greetings with Mr. Li Yuanchao, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China.  Also slated to meet with President Koroma is Mr. Chen Jinping, President of Tsinghua University, the leading university in mainland China.

On the 27th of June, His Excellency the President will be attending the opening ceremony of the 2nd World Peace Forum at Tsinghua University as a distinguished guest speaker. He is expected to share a platform with Vice President Mr. Li Yuanchao, who is expected to deliver the keynote Speech, and President of Suriname also delivering a speech. The theme will be “International Security in a Changing World: Innovation, Coordination, Development”.

Located in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing, and established in 1911, Tsinghua University has over 25,900 students, including 13,100 undergraduates and 12,800 graduate students.  As one of China’s most renowned universities, it has become an important institution for fostering talent and scientific research. (http://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/then/5777/index.html )

China’s presence in Sierra Leone can be felt in a number of areas, especially in the area of infrastructural development.  There are over a dozen Chinese companies in Sierra Leone that are currently active in support of the country’s development agenda such as building of roads and bridges; provision of hydro renewable energy, education and training, medical services and building of a teaching hospital etc.

There  are many others seeking further investment opportunities in both the growth sectors, including agriculture, mining, fisheries and tourism, and in human development such as enhanced social health and education infrastructure, technical middle level training and skills development and employment genera tion particularly for our growing population.  These are the opportunities the embassy seeks to focus on, with a view to not just articulating government policy and the attractive incentives and investment opportunities that Sierra Leone has to offer, but in forging collaborative strategies and investment frameworks that will be to the mutual benefit of the two countries.

China is the world’s second largest economy and the largest exporter of manufactured goods and has continued to play a leading role in international trade especially across Africa.

Statistics by “China-Africa Trade and Economic Relationship Annual Report 2012” indicate, by 2011, China’s export to Africa reached USD 73.1 billion. In the field of investment, China’s direct investment in Africa reached USD 3.173 billion, which was up to 50.2%. In the field of contractual engineering, Chinese companies’ total turnover in Africa rose by 0.81% to USD 36.12 billion in 2011. In the area of development help, China delivered 47 complete projects in Africa financed by its aid programs. Also in the same year, China-Africa trade grew to USD 166.32 billion, which was up to 30.9% year on year and China still remains Africa’s largest trading partner.

In the same year, ( 2011), outward FDI flows to China from Africa reached USD 1.641 billion, which was up by 28.2% year on year. From the perspective of investment stock, by the end of 2011, African investment stock in China was at USD 1.2854 billion. In the field of tourism in 2011, 1.012 million Chinese chose Africa as their first stop in overseas travel, which made an increase of 90.9% and accounting for 1.4% of China’s total overseas travelers. In terms of inbound tourists, 489,000 Africans visited China in 2011.

President Koroma’s visit is expected to further lift the bars of cooperation ties between the two countries. It also will further help in maintaining the confidence that investment partners have in the country, especially given President Koroma’s drive towards prosperity, for a country whose infrastructure was left in shambles, saved for his election as President. President Koroma will be arriving in China for the 3rd time as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and will be arriving with a number of state officials.

With the presentation of copies of his letters of credence to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China, Ambassador Victor Foh and staff of the embassy are working on final preparations for the visit of His Excellency in China.

The Press and Public Information Office, Sierra Leone Embassy in China, together with the Communications Unit, Office of the President will be bringing your up-to-date report on happenings when they have arrived in Beijing.

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