To ensure the successful implementation of these ten cooperation plans, China has decided to provide a total of USD 60 billion funding support. It includes USD 5 billion of grant and interest-free loans, USD 35 billion of loans of preferential nature with more favorable terms and export credit line, an increase of USD 5 billion to the China-Africa Development Fund and the special loan for the development of African SMEs respectively, and establishing the China-Africa Fund for Production Capacity Cooperation with an initial contribution of USD 10 billion.
How Sierra Leone could benefit from the above USD 60 billion funding support? Mr. Shen Xiaokai, the Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Freetown disclosed in an exclusive interview that besides the well-known projects such as the National Stadium, the Youyi Building, the Mange and Kambia bridges, the New Building for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Regent Youyi Road, etc., China is now planning to support Sierra Leone as follows:
With grant, China is going to build two projects. The first one is the West African Tropical Disease Research and Prevention Center, which is the most significant project for the Post-Ebola recovery plan. The center will include a new CDC office building and help to strengthen the long term ability of public health system for Sierra Leone. The second one is the 3.2km Freetown link way road from Lumkokwing University to Regent which is also very important to facilitate the capital people traveling outside Freetown. With this link road, directly connected to the Regent Youyi Road and the Wellington-Masiaka Highway, it will only take around half an hour to travel from Mamamah New Airport to Hill Station in town.
With loans of preferential natures, China is focusing on the Mamamah International Airport Project and the Rokel Water Supply Project. Mr. Shen said that China understands the importance of the Mamamah International Airport Project as the No.1 priority for the Sierra Leonean government and people, therefore this project has already been included into the budget of the USD 60 billion. He also emphasized that with USD 200 million to implement the Phase I of this project, the new airport would be fully functional and in line with international standards. After Phase I, Sierra Leone could further apply for more funding support from China to do the Phase II which would make the new airport a magnificent landmark. It is advisable that Sierra Leone grasp this funding opportunity so as to let the new airport be kicked off as soon as possible.
As for the Rokel Water Supply Project, Mr. Shen told the media that China had noticed the serious lack of water supply for Freetown and the urgent need for the Rokel Water Supply Project. He himself is also quite concerned about the livelihood of the Freetownians who are struggling their lives with no reliable and sanitation water supply. The Rokel Water Supply Project will definitely and significantly help to solve the problem of water shortage in Freetown. Mr. Shen said that this project would be implemented as soon as the Mamamah New Airport being kicked off and the living standard of the people in Freetown would be hence greatly improved.
But now, due to some external reasons, neither of the above two loan projects with preferential natures has been in construction yet. With regards to the USD 60 billion funding support, Mr. Shen said, any African country was entitled to raise its project proposals and the fund use would be determined on the basis of the feasibility and evaluation results of the projects rather than being allocated on a country-specific basis. Mr. Shen further emphasized that, the principle of China aid is — the project should be raised, agreed and led by the recipient country. Mr. Shen believed that it is the Sierra Leonean people and government who best know which project should be their first priority. He further emphasized that within this USD 60 billion funding support, Sierra Leone could make the best out of it and submit more project proposals and try to secure more fund resources to implement as more projects like the Mamamah New Airport as possible. His office would always be open to any feasible and practical project proposals from Sierra Leonean government which would tremendously accelerate the process of Agenda for Prosperity and the Post-Ebola Recovery Plan for Sierra Leone.
Mr. Shen finally opined that his office was also coordinating Chinese financial banks and agencies so as to provide more commercial loans from this USD 60 billion funding support for the SMEs in Sierra Leone.