Speaking at the event, Madam Kumba Alice Momoh, the embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires referred to the launch of the China-Sierra Leone Hand-In-Hand International Foundation as “the birth of a new era during a period that Sierra Leone is celebrating 46 years of bilateral relationship with China”.
She paid tribute to Madam Lina Guo, President, Beijing Chamber of Commerce for Cultural Industries for working closely with the Embassy towards the establishment of the Foundation with a vision of seeking to “cultivate good citizenship by enhancing social, environmental, cultural and economic wellbeing of communities”. Madam Kumba was hopeful the Foundation will build itself into an outstanding, trustworthy, and charitable organization across the country.
Delivering a statement, Madam Lina Guo said, the Foundation was in line with the One-Belt-One-Road policy of the Chinese government “to help Chinese private enterprises to go out,” and enable more private capital to participate in Sierra Leone’s growth process.
Madam Lina expressed hope that the Foundation would be built into a mature brand within a three year period as it will “setup a bridge of friendship” between the two nations all in a bid to promote international culture and art exchanges.
Funds from the Foundation, she said, would be used in sectors like fisheries, transportation, tourism, and health amongst other areas, whilst assuring to work towards an industrial belt, “which will set a good example for the reform and opening up in Sierra Leone.”
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Madam Elesabeth Mans, on behalf of the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma said the establishment of the Foundation would be “a welcomed phenomenon which if ably supported can and will assist in our drive to improve the living standards of the less privileged in our societies.”
In furtherance of deepening the existing relationship and collaboration, the Minister said, she looks “forward to exchange visits, investment and training opportunities in fish processing, commercial fish farming, commercial vegetable gardening, fish canning and gara-dying for our women”, whilst continuing to seek help to support SMEs, and female organizations in our country.
Madam Mans highlighted China’s intervention in Sierra Leone particularly in the areas of roads infrastructural development, health, agriculture, mining, education. Such interventions, she said, continue to see a steep increase, “covering sectors of our economy and social life.”
She referred to the establishment of the Foundation as being “timely and inspirational” to the country’s development goals.
Sierra Leone, she said, has had series of challenges, one being the ebola outbreak. This, she said, had had adverse effects on the country “not only in economic terms, but also on the social, moral and human fabric.”
The Foundation’s first Executive President, Professor Sun in his statement said, there is a total of 10 million Yuan donation, of which 5 million will be in the form of a cheque “and then be transferred to the public account of the Foundation.” The other 5 million Yuan is to be injected into projects to support the development of Sierra Leone specifically towards the establishment of a school, hospital and 10 cold storage systems.
To help solve the difficulties faced in the processing of fisheries products and in food preservation, amongst others, 100 refrigerators were donated amongst others.
The delegation from Sierra Leone comprised of the APC Women’s Congress President who is also the country’s Fisheries Minister, Hon. Elesabeth Mans, Social Secretary of the Women’s Congress who also serves as the country’s Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation II, Hon. Zuliatu Cooper; Ms. Aisha Badamasi, Ms. Yabom Sesay, Chairlady for Market women-North, Ms. Aminata Tarawally, Chief Haja Bomposeh Kabba and Madam Mary Conteh.
John Baimba Sesay
Sierra Leone Embassy
People’s Republic of China