The President of Sierra Leone Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Friday said that he is going to visit China to principally thank the Chinese government and people for the tremendous assistance provided for Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak.
President Koroma said he also looks forward to deepening the partnership with China in the future.
It was the plane load of Chinese medical personnel and drugs from China on the outbreak of Ebola that galvanized international support for the country’s drive to kick Ebola out of the country, Koroma said.
The president said he is grateful to China for its swift response with all the support.
President Koroma pointed out that China provided “all of what was required in terms of personnel, drugs and medical supplies ” and explained that the Chinese support was not only limited to bilateral level but also at multilateral level through the World Bank, WHO and other UN Agencies.
He spoke of the cordial relationship between Sierra Leone and China based on mutual trust and respect, noting that “China is a dependable friend.”
President Koroma maintained that China’s support was not only present when the Ebola struck but has been a very significant contributor to Sierra Leone even before Ebola.
He said the Chinese have been very dependable partners in the country’s development of physical infrastructure as well as in the agriculture, health and education sectors.
He said Sierra Leone and China relations has spanned for over 45 years to the benefit of both countries, and it is necessary to sustain and deepen the partnership.
China, President Koroma said, has transformed itself to a world power and it is fitting for Sierra Leone to learn from the Chinese experience and expertise.
He said in the President’s Recovery Priorities, emphasis has been laid on diversifying the economy so that development will not only be for the urban areas but also the rural settings.
He said during his visit to China he will study the Chinese system of growth through its model of economic development and how the Chinese are able to create “economic zones” that have helped diversify the Chinese economy.
Another area of interest to the president is for both countries to collaborate in private partnership as well as encourage Chinese tourists to visit Sierra Leone now that the Chinese have developed the appetite for overseas travels.
The president underscored the need for its government to enhance the country’s infrastructure by building more hotels and improving road networks.
Source: Xinhua November 26