The Governments of Liberia and China on Thursday signed an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement valued at nearly US$17 million. The agreement is intended to finance eight ongoing bilateral projects in Liberia.
Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhao Jianhua signed for their respective governments at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill.
“I’m always happy to sign this kind of documents because signing them demonstrates China’s commitment to providing grants and assistance to the Liberian Government that are agreed upon which shows China is a reliable and trustworthy partner to Liberia”, said Ambassador Zhao.
The Chinese Ambassador disclosed after the signing of the documents that the money will go towards the technical and maintenance support of the Jackson F. Doe (JFD) Tappita Hospital in Nimba County, the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) and Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports Complex as well as the expansion project of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC).
The Chinese Envoy also said some of the money will go towards the support of the Chinese medical team at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Hospital in Monrovia and the agricultural demonstration center at the Center for Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Bong County.
“It’s my great pleasure to come here to sign this agreement”, he stated, adding that similar document was signed in last November for the already signed landmark US$60 million ministerial complex with construction expected to begin soon.
“Once we sign the agreements, once we identify the means to the project, China will implement; meaning China means what it says”, the Chinese Ambassador assured.
He added that he looks forward to working closely with Foreign Minister Ngafuan in identifying projects that could be financed by the Chinese government in the next five years.
“This means we are willing to enhance our bilateral relations from a long-term perspective so that we can make the Chinese Government’s assistance to our friends even more tailored to the needs that you are going to have for the next five years”, Ambassador Zhao said as he commended Minister Ngauan for his hard work on the existing projects.
In response, Foreign Minister Ngafuan, on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Government and people of Liberia, expressed thanks to the Chinese government, President and Chinese people through the Ambassador for China’s continuity of commitment to Liberia.
The Liberian Foreign Minister said Liberia looks forward to more consolidated relationships as committing funds to ensure continuity of commitment speaks more to better bilateral relations between the both governments.
He stressed that the US$17 million assistance in every form in helpful to the country, including the SKD Complex which the Chinese built and is still maintaining, the MVTC which technical educational skills will enhance the country’s skilled manpower, and the Chinese intervention in the medical area such as in Tappita where the JFD Hospital he said is gradually becoming a regional hub of medical relief for Liberia’s neighbors.
The Minister informed the Chinese Ambassador that the Liberian Government stakeholders are currently compiling everything and will communicate with the Chinese Government shortly as it relates to the five-year project.