President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has warned that any company wanting to invest in Liberia must act now, as time is of the essence for any investment negotiation now.
With only two years left for the Johnson Sirleaf administration, all efforts to ensure that her government leaves behind tangible legacies before turning over power in 2018, are focused on what can be achieved in the shortest possible time.
Speaking with members of the Sino-Liberia Win-Win delegation visiting the country at her Foreign Affairs office, President Sirleaf said that whatever they have to do in the country has to done in the earliest possible timeframe.
The Chinese Business Delegation, which was led to the Foreign Affairs by the Liberian Ambassador to China, McKinley Thomas, and his Chinese counterpart, has been in country for over about a week now, seeking new partnership with local businesses.
The high-powered delegation, since arrival in the country, has informed local Liberian business entrepreneurs that they are in the country to seek new partnership with them to ensure that both countries explore opportunities in agriculture, infrastructure and energy.
The delegation, known as the “2015 Sino-Liberia WIN-WIN Visit”, has been holding major discussions with stakeholders from both government and private entities. Many of the companies on the delegation are involved primarily in energy, infrastructure, mining, and food processing. Companies represented include, China Harbor Engineering Company, Sino Tech Mineral Exploration, China Hydro, among others.
President told members of the delegation, who had introduced themselves and informed the President about their interest in the country, that time is of the essence for any negotiation or investment under her government.
“Time is of the essence. Whatever we do and what we want to do as partners, should be done fast, further warning that these should be done to quality and international standard. Quality works and international standards, no doubt, should be the order of the day,” President told the delegation.
She hopes that all of the necessary arrangements would be done as soon as possible, noting that bureaucratic bottlenecks have always impeded some works in the past.
The President said that the three major projects that the Chinese government has committed itself to would be starting very soon as the rainy season comes to an end. These projects include the Ministerial Complex, National Legislature building annex and the renovation of the Samuel Kayon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.
She said that multilateral Chinese businesses have been contributing immensely to the development of the African continent, especially in Ethiopia, Tanzania and others, but this is yet to be fully manifested in Liberia.
She said that the relationship between two countries, in terms of development on the African continent, has not really been what she hoped to see. She indicated that the Liberia-China relationship needs to move to another level.
The head of the Chinese delegation, Yang Zhan Qing said that their visit to Liberia is to explore new opportunities in the Liberian economy for investment. They expressed hopes to collaborating with Liberian businesspeople here.
Mr. Qing indicated that his delegation has first-class companies, very strong not only in china but globally. He expressed the hope that their visit will help expand Liberian businesses in China.
He however expressed optimism that both Liberia and China will work to achieve their business goals and objectives.
Some of the companies expressed interest in reconstructing the Robert International Airport, dredging of the ports of the National Port Authority and investment in rural energy generation and other potential areas of investment.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yi, is expected to pay an official visit to Liberia. Minister Wang Yi’s visit is at the invitation of Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan.
The Chinese diplomat will visit from 8 to 9 August 2015.
He will have official meetings with President Sirleaf. According to a Foreign Affairs release, this visit will further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries and exchange of views on the bilateral cooperation in post-Ebola recovery era.