The Chinese Economic Counsellor said recently, local media quoted and carried an article titled World Bank/IMF advice against another Chinese loan, in which the author made some comments that are untrue on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and reasoned the proposed funding model of the expansion work of Freetown’s Queen Elizabeth II Quay project.
“Most of the points put forward are untrue and inaccurate in the article, but would like to share with the readers and the public some of my observations on China-Sierra Leone cooperation. As is known to all, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) since its inception, has been well received worldwide with a total of 126 countries and 29 international organizations (including 37 African countries and the African Union Commission) having signed relevant cooperation documents with China.
The BRI he said is guided by the principle of common consultation, joint contribution and pursuit of shared benefits. He averred that there is no solid evidence to prove that any certain country fall into the so-called debt trap by cooperating with China. On the contrary, African countries have greatly enhanced their development capacities by partnering with China.
“China is a partner to African countries as well as other continental players in pursuing legitimate trade and economic development. China is not out there pointing fingers on any country working in Africa so we believe that we should not be seen as the enemy for African development.”
Counsellor Zhang said while conducting cooperation with any country, the Chinese government and the Chinese companies fully respect the will of the country and will never impose their ideas or conditions onto the latter. It is no exception when they conduct cooperation with Sierra Leone.
“China is one of the important international development partners to Sierra Leone, and China-Sierra Leone bilateral cooperation forms an integral part of the international cooperation with Sierra Leone. I’m of the view that China and Sierra Leone are sovereign countries and China-Sierra Leone bilateral cooperation does not need a third party to make decision on their behalf, nor does it need a “referee” to judge.”
The Economic Counsellor reiterated that any attempt to sow seed of disaccord between China and Sierra Leone or to undermine China-Sierra Leone cooperation will not be achieved as both countries are working amicably with respect and since President Bio came they have signed many bilateral programs that have been implemented and others are in the pipeline.
“China has respect for Sierra Leone and we only support programs that the government is interested in. We have never imposed on any government what they should do with us or what investment they must accept. We believe in the true spirit of brotherhood and we will continue to work for the development of both countries.”