Dr. Christiana Thorpe, Deputy Minister 1 Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Hon Abdulai Sesay, Member of Parliament for Constituency 63; and Paramount Chief Bai Kuru Kanagbaro Sanka 111 of Konekay Chiefdom; From the Chinese side were His Excellency Wu Peng, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, and Mr. Shen Xiaokai, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy. More than two thousand local people including School children witnessed the occasion.
During his remarks, Ambassador Wu said that he was delighted to be at the handing over ceremony on behalf of the Chinese government. He highlighted the importance of education in the development of any nation, and said the donation of two schools to the Masingbi and Makeni communities was a demonstration of China’s support towards the development of Education in Sierra Leone. The Ambassador thanked Dr. Minkalu Bah for his closely working with the Embassy on these projects. He also thanked Dr. Samura Kamara, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for his valuable support and collaboration in all of China’s bilateral dealings with Sierra Leone. The Ambassador said that Dr. Samura Kamara is a true patriot of great Sierra Leone and a promoter of China-Sierra Leone long standing friendship relations which brings tangible benefits to the people. He reiterated China’s commitment to continue assistance to Sierra Leone in infrastructural development in accordance with His Excellency the President’s post-Ebola Recovery Priorities.
Dr. Minkalu Bah said during his key note address that China and Sierra Leone have a long standing relationship dating back in 1971. ”China has done so much for Sierra Leone”. He stated that during the Ebola outbreak while others were running away from Sierra Leone, China came and gave unflinching support to Sierra Leone in the form of medicines, medical equipment, Jui hospital, the P3 Research Lab, and above all medical staff including doctors and nurses to help fight the epidemic. He furthered that China constructed the Regent – Jui road as a gift to Sierra Leone and that in 2008, the Chinese government built and donated two schools at Fourah Bay College and Yoni chiefdom respectively, and that China provides Scholarship to many Sierra Leoneans to pursue masters and PHD programs in China. The Minister said he hopes the two new schools will help to address overcrowding in classrooms and also motivate parents to send their children to school so that they can gain knowledge. He further said during the decade civil war most of the schools were destroyed and that the government is still struggling to build new schools to accommodate the high enrollment rate. Dr. Minkalu Bah said that he was grateful for the donation and expressed his profound thanks and appreciation to the Chinese Ambassador for his hard work and commitment to Sierra Leone. He concluded by saying that “China is a true friend of Sierra Leone, a friend who does not abandon you during turbulent times”.
After the handing over ceremony, PC Bai Kuru Kanagboro Sanka III gave the vote of thanks. In his statement He thanked the ministers and other dignitaries who came to grace the occasion. He personally thanked Ambassador Wu Peng and the Chinese government for their remarkable contribution towards education in his community. He said the people of Konekay Chiefdom are happy for the donation as demonstrated through singing and dancing.