The Government of the People’s Republic of China on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, handed over 12 vehicles (sedans) and 4 buses valued at over 1M United States Dollars to the Government of Liberia to be used for protocol purposes.
The official presentation ceremony was held at the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs after an Exchange Of Notes took place between Liberia’s Foreign Minister, H.E. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Zhang Yue for their respective governments.
Receiving the vehicles on behalf of Liberia, Foreign Minister Ngafuan thanked the Government and People of China for the gesture and recalled China’s immense contributions to Liberia especially during the Ebola crisis, when China dispatched an airplane loaded with medical supplies to aid in the fight against the disease which he added helped kicked off the international response.
Minister Ngafuan said the donation signifies that Liberia is in the new phase after the Ebola outbreak, noting that during the deadly Ebola crisis, the People’s Republic of China joined Liberia in the fight against the disease.
“We have not come to receive ambulances, but to thank the People Republic of China and other international partners; thanks to the courageous leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the resilience of the Liberian people; We have conquered Ebola, and so, we are in a new phase, a phase of recovery, a phase of emergence to tell the International community that Liberia is back,” the Minister declared.
Minister Ngafuan stated that after Ebola, his ministry’s aim is to elevate the image of Liberia abroad, recalling the challenges faced by the protocol department in hosting foreign guests.
The Minister further observed that in the face of these challenges, his ministry in its limited budgetary capacity, has made available vehicles with inadequate and low sophistication to facilitate the movement of visiting foreign diplomats so as to give them the kind of comfort they deserve.
He pointed out that Liberian officials are given fair and comfortable reception and accommodation while abroad by their foreign counterparts, but the country is lacking the capacity to reciprocate such treatment received abroad.
He added “Today, is the day to clear the embarrassments from the face of the government”, this whole process stated some two years with Ambassador Zhang Yue’s predecessor when we met, and talked about the request regarding the protocol vehicle and the Ambassador bought the idea again and said to me we will see what to do”, the Foreign Minister recalled.
He paid special tribute to the Director General of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), Dr. Augustine Konneh for his pivotal role in helping to carry out the negotiation leading to the supply of vehicles.
On behalf of the Government and People of Liberia, Minister Ngafuan expressed President Sirleaf’s gratitude and appreciation to the Chinese President and the people of china for the donation and assured the Chinese Government through its Ambassador that the vehicle will be used for its intended purpose.
Earlier, Chinese Ambassador, Mr Zhang Yue said the 12 sedans and 4 buses are a token of friendship from China which come at a very good time when Ebola outbreak is over and the Liberian Government and people are poised for the post-Ebola rebuilding.
”The arrival time of these consignments shows that during the Ebola outbreak period, our people have not stopped processing this donation. I believe these protocol vehicles will help increase the reception capacity to foreign guests of the Liberian government and better contribute to cooperation and partnership between China and Liberia, as well as Liberia and other countries,” the Chinese envoy stated.
He added that the handover of these protocol vehicles will help deepen China-Liberia friendship and cooperation, stating “as a friend and partner, China will continue to provide assistance to support Liberia’s efforts in infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing industry, education and public health.
The ambassador disclosed that the Chinese working team has already launched the renovation of the SKD stadium and resumed the construction of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center stressing that the designing team will come here next week to work on the Ministerial Complex and Annexes to the Capital Building projects.
He stressed China will continue to provide government scholarships and training opportunities to professionals and young people from all sectors of Liberia and assign more experts to Liberia, especially experts in health, to help rebuild the public health system.
“The latest god news is that we are to open 6 training courses exclusively for people from Liberia in the second half of 2015. These training courses are covering Epidemic Prevention and Control Technology; Public Health Management and Disease Control and Prevention; Construction; Elevator Maintenance and Operation; and Training faculties for vocational schools.”