With sponsorship from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, fourteen (14) Senior Government Officials from Sierra Leone, including Permanent Secretaries, on Wednesday 4th May ended a three week Seminar on ‘China’s Economic Development Practices for Sierra Leone.’
Speaking at the closing session held at the Academy for International Business Officials (AIBO), Sierra Leone’s Deputy Ambassador to China, Mrs. Kumba Alice Momoh called on participants to build their own judgments, based on lessons learned and experience gained and work towards ensuring Sierra Leone develops her industries and take advantage of her historic ties with China.
Madam Momoh referred to the outcome of the December 2015 Johannesburg Forum On China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit which saw the Chinese make a commitment of US$60 billion in support to Africa for the industrialization of ten selected sectors of growth.
With the seminar focusing on introducing participants to China’s Economic Development Practices for Sierra Leone, Madam Momoh said that should offer them the capacity to let Sierra Leone tap from the US$60 billion in support to the continent by the Chinese “and enhance its (Sierra Leone’s) development.”
She thanked AIBO for always considering Sierra Leone for training opportunities and assured of her country’s commitment to maintain and strengthen her relationship with China,
Years of tremendous growth of the Chinese, Madam Momoh said, gave rise to the huge capacity the country today experiences and has “led the Chinese people to seek markets and break new grounds around the world for transfer of technology and expertise in various fields, of products and production capacity, and to increase their influence around the world.”
Also attending was Vice President of AIBO, Huang Dengping, who referred to the closing session as one of “happy ending.”
Issues discussed in the last three weeks, the Vice President said, must have helped in deepening the participants’ understanding of China’s Economic Development. “It also enabled you know about our blueprint of modernization”, he said.
Vice President Dengping commended both Sierra Leone and China for sustaining the ties of friendship over the years, being hopeful of joining hands with the Senior Officials to “create a wonderful tomorrow” as he looked forward to seeing the seminar help promote new beginning and friendship.
Mrs. Margaret Jah-Matturi, Team Leader, in her statement, disclosed, they had learned a lot about Chinese development especially her trend of growth from the era of Chairman Mao Zedong to current President Xi Jinping.
Through various lectures, she said, they were able to understand China’s transformation and how the country was “able to reach out to the world and Africa in particular with the aide policy.”
The delegation, she disclosed, was looking forward to the ‘Belt Road Initiative’ and hoped it would impact positively on Africa.
Based on lessons learned, she said, they were certain, the development of Small and Medium Enterprises could be the preferred model of Enterprise Development for Sierra Leone’s economic growth.
Their visits to historic sites, she went on, made them observe the urbanization of Rural China and they were able to experience the past, through their visits to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City; the present-based on what they saw in the New Urban Development; and the future-following experience from the Shanghai Urban Development.
In the last three weeks, the fourteen Senior Government Officials were able to look at the experience of China’s Rural Economic Development with reference to Sierra Leone’s Economic Development; discussed China’s Development process from the framework of Special Economic Zones as well as the development of it small and medium sized enterprises.
The ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ Policy and its international effect, as well as China-Africa Economic and Trade Relations, formed part of the three-week long session.
John Baimba Sesay
Sierra Leone Embassy
People’s Republic of China.