The Governments of the Republic of Liberia and the People’s Republic of China signed two separate bilateral agreements aimed at enhancing the Liberian Government’s fight against the deadly Ebola virus, and helping the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) respectively.
Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and China’s Ambassador to Liberia, His Excellency Mr. Zhang Yue signed on behalf of their respective governments.
According to the first agreement, the Chinese Government provided the Liberian Government with a batch of medical materials as gratuitous assistance, one million Chinese Yuan (valued at US$162,310) as the Liberian Government continues to exalt efforts in eradicating Ebola.
The Chinese Government, through the second agreement, also provided technical aid and training to the LBS at the value of more than US$1 million (6,500,000.00 Chinese Yuan). According to the agreement, the Chinese Government will dispatch four technicians (one for transmitter, one for audio frequency, one for generator and one interpreter) to Liberia, to provide technical instructions in the operation and maintenance of the facilities of the LBS and conduct technical training for its personnel. The Chinese Government shall also supply some necessary equipment and spare parts.
During the signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill, Foreign Minister Ngafuan, on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Liberian people, thanked the Chinese Government for its response to the fight against Ebola in Liberia and support to LBS.
Describing China as a true friend, the Liberian Foreign Minister lauded his Chinese counterpart for the efforts and further stated that such signing ceremonies only testify to the solidity of Liberia-China relationships.
He said the Chinese provision of the medical equipment towards the Ebola fight in Liberia shows that China is a “friend indeed”.
Minister Ngafuan used the occasion to also laud China’s continuous assistance to LBS. He stressed the importance of effective communication which he said is the gap between what is being done and how it is marketed.
He lauded LBS’ ‘great job in the rural parts’, alluding to the impacts the state broadcasting entity has in rural Liberia when the station is on but also when it is not on.
For his part, Ambassador Zhang said, “We appreciate very much the efficient efforts being made by the Liberian Government since the outbreak of this virus and also the media that raised the social awareness about the prevention of this virus…At this critical moment, China as a friend to Liberia, is reaching out with a helping hand when our friend is in need during this period of difficulties.”
The Chinese Envoy said he believes that the strong leadership of the Liberian Government and its people, with the cooperation of the International Community, will overcome of the Ebola virus.
On the technical assistance to LBS, Amb. Zhang emphasized that it will further enhance the cooperation between the two countries in the area of telecommunications which he believes will improve the mutual communication and the mutual understanding of the peoples of China and Liberia.
He also thanked the Liberian Government for its support and coordinated cooperation for such initiatives. The Chinese Ambassador then assured the Liberian Government that such cooperation will continue in building the capacities of the state-owned broadcasting entity.
Reflecting on China’s wealth of experience on dealing with such national health emergencies, Health Minister Walter Gwenigale expressed his appreciation to the Chinese for their contribution towards Liberia’s fight against Ebola.
The Health Minister also used the occasion to reveal that there have been no new cases of Ebola reported for the past weeks in Liberia.
The Liberian Health Minister also listed some of China’s huge contribution to the Liberian health sector including the Tappita Hospital and the Health Ministry’s current headquarters in Congo Town.
For his part, the Director-General of the LBS, D. Ambrose Nmah, on behalf of the entity’s board and its entire management expressed gratitude to China for its endless support to LBS which he said is far beyond what has been expected.
He emphasized that the success of any nation depends on effective communication with its people. Director Nmah recalled China’s assistance to the LBS including aids to its television network and its expansion exercise nationwide as well as China’s ongoing effort in helping Liberia to transform from analog to digital before the June, 2015 expiry date.
Horatio Bobby Willie
Assistant Minister/Public Affairs