Liberian Gov’t Official Hails China’s Increasing Support

{By Fredrick P. W. Gaye in Beijing}

Minister Grigsby and other members of Liberian delegation
Minister Grigsby and other members of Liberian delegation

Liberia’s Minister of State without Portfolio, Sylvester M. Grigsby, has hailed the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for its increasing support to his country and Africa as a whole.

Representing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the recently held coordinators’ meeting on the implementation of the 2015 Johannesburg FOCAC Summit outcomes, Grigsby said since the FOCAC Project was launched in 2000, Chinese funded footprint projects have sprouted in Liberia as well as across the landscape of the African Continent.

“We remain grateful to the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China for the enormous support given in combating the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the region” he said.

The Liberian minister said ECOWAS was delighted that the Johannesburg Action Plan (2016-2018) incorporates post-Ebola recovery efforts that will bring an end to the Ebola plague. ECOWAS is Economic Community of West African States.

He also encouraged Chinese more investment in medical and healthcare services as well as to improve healthcare infrastructure through construction, renovation and equipping of health facilities in the region.

Also in a message on behalf of President, as chair of the Heads of ECOWAS, Grigsby said the Beijing gathering reaffirmed the longstanding strong bond of friendship and cooperation between Africa and China based on equality and mutual respect. He added: “The level and quality of representation today of over 300 hundred delegates including 100 of Ministerial rank bear testimony to the strength and intensity of the Africa-China relationship.”

Grigsby recounted the numerous projects by Chinese investors in Africa including railways, highways and industrial plants which bring light and better livelihood to millions who otherwise would never have benefited from such amenities in their lifetimes if investment were to be determined strictly by the traditional profit motive. He stated that the underpinning China’s development assistance has overwhelmed Africa and Africans, when other donors classify as risky investment Chinese assistance sees as response to real human development need.

He further said, as China has increasingly become the engine of growth for the global economy, so has China’s development assistance graduated from being perceived as a source of alternative development.  Today, Grigsby said, China is a major donor partner, being an architect of the China/Africa Development Fund, the Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) and the BRICS Bank.

Grigsby also used the occasion to commend China for its contribution to regional security and its strong and continued engagement in security cooperation with ECOWAS that has great wealth of experience in dealing with regional security including peace keeping. “Terrorism has become a serious menace to our region and indeed to the entire Continent and the world. This peril is manifesting itself on land, in the air and on the high seas. It must be confronted collectively and decisively,” he indicated.

Meanwhile, the Liberian Minister has called on the Chinese Government to help contribute to balanced regional development in Africa. According to him, West Africa is the most integrated region on the Continent with decades of experience in successful visa free movement of people and a common ECOWAS Passport. He mentioned regional role peacekeeping and collective security around the region is unparalleled.

“We have made impressive progress towards adopting a common eternal tariff (CET) and have developed a roadmap entitled Vision 2020 for the development of highways and railways connecting all the countries in the region; regional power grid; telecommunications and agriculture and regional industries for value addition with a market of more than 400 million people. We invite China to undertake some pilot projects with us in these endeavors. ECOWAS would like to encourage public-private partnership with Chinese enterprises in industry and infrastructure development,” Grigsby maintained.

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About Cholo Brooks 17225 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.