This reminds of the popular saying: ‘The best of friends never part ways as the two countries remained solidly behind each other through thick and thin’. Now, let us examine some of the major pointers in the flourishing relationship between the two countries.
Records have it that barely three months after Sierra Leone officially entered into diplomatic relations with China, the West African country voted in favor of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, which recognized the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate representative of China in the UN Body of Nations.
Between 2000 and 2011, for example, there were approximately thirty seven Chinese official development finance projects identified in Sierra Leone, based on media research.
These projects range from highway repair to a $22 million debt relief, in addition to a concessional loan of $16.6 million to support Sierratel.
The People’s Republic of China continues to provide support to Sierra Leone in the direction of strengthening the country’s medical and public health infrastructure, mining and industrial cooperation focusing on processing of mineral products for value addition, fishing and agriculture to encourage Chinese fishing companies to invest in Sierra Leone, in addition to infrastructural development, including the soon to be constructed Mamamah Airport.
Promoting human resource development in Sierra Leone is also at the heart of the Chinese people.
Tangible infrastructural support provided by China includes bridges, government buildings, stadiums and roads.
Most recently, China-aided infrastructure projects such as Charlotte, Bankasoka and Makali hydropower stations remain commendable, and the completed state of the art Regent to Kossoh road project, the Bo stadium and even the Siaka Stevens stadium are all examples of over 40 years of fruitful and bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Sierra Leone is at the verge of pulling off within the shortest possible time considering the Youth Village and the proposed new airport, being landmark projects of the Chinese government.
The construction of a new airport on the mainland of Sierra Leone, costing over 300 million dollars forms another component of the development cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and Sierra Leone.
The Mamamah Airport Project, with China agreeing to finance it through a loan from EXIM Bank., will eventually put the country in an advantageous position to compete favourably in International Trade and Commerce, Sierra Leone’s Press Attaché to the People’s Republic of China recently stated, adding: “This project, one believed to be a priority by the government, will help open up the country’s economic potentials, and at the same time would play a crucial role in opening up the country”.
It is no gainsaying the fact that the years following the decade long civil war in Sierra Leone tightened the ties between the West African country and the People’s Republic of China.
China again has emerged as a trusted trade and investment partner intervening in countless development areas.
The Ebola and post Ebola period has witnessed an exponential growth rate in ties between the two countries.
China’s rapid response via the deployment of medical personnel and the overall support underscore the friendship that has existed between the two countries for decades.
A total of 426 medical personnel were deployed in Sierra Leone September 2014 and June 2015.
In terms of capital funds, the country provided 1.5 million dollars cash, plus 2 million dollars of food supply through the World Food Programme, and 11 million dollars to the United Nations Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund.
An additional two million dollars was given to the World Health Organization and two million dollars to the African Union, at the multilateral level.
It remains good news that the ties between the two countries continue to grow year in year out.