Liberia and the People’s Republic of China have signed a “Letter of Intent” geared towards boosting agriculture and fisheries production through value addition.
The agreement, according to an Executive Mansion release, is in furtherance of government’s determination to diversify the economy and to propel agro-based investment potential aimed at spurring the economy.
Both parties signed the agreement in the President’s office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia during an official visit of a Chinese trade delegation currently in the country.
Agriculture Minister, Dr. Moses Zinnah, signed on behalf of Liberia, while Professor Lin Zhanxi did likewise on behalf of the Chinese delegation.
On receiving the delegation, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed appreciation for the visit especially at a critical time when Liberia, she said, is reshaping its focus on diversification of economic potentials anchored on value addition.
She urged the delegation to explore and access the prospects of doing business and capitalizing on investment opportunities with emphasis on the agro-processing sectors.
President Sirleaf expressed delight over the delegation’s visit and informed the Chinese that Liberia is ready for business.
She recalled the many contributions made by the Chinese Government to Liberia, and acknowledged the strong ties existing between the two countries.
She said she is optimistic that the projects will get started as soon as possible once all the technical details are concluded.
She assured the delegation of her government’s support at all times aimed at getting the proposal to a fruitful conclusion.
Concerned about the future of young people, President Sirleaf appealed to the Chinese to invest in the country’s youth population as they represent a hope for Liberia. The Chinese delegation’s major areas of focus include agriculture, rice production, technology and fisheries, among others.
She also indicated that the Chinese business delegation have identified critical sectors of interest, which are of great importance not only for the government’s agenda, but also the country’s Post-Ebola Economic Stabilization Plan.
She prevailed on the delegation to move around the country in order to appreciate the beautiful sites Liberia has to offer with a view to creating economic possibilities for Liberians.
The President pointed out that Liberia was open for business, particularly the kind of business that will foster inclusive economic growth.
She assured Mr. Song Kening and his delegation that their investment will be fully protected under the laws of Liberia.
In his remarks, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue, said China remains fully committed to working closely with Liberia in fostering the country’s development agenda.
Responding, the Director of Foreign Affairs’ Fujian Province and head of delegation, Song Kening, thanked President Sirleaf for affording them the opportunity to undertake such a unique visit to Liberia and assured her of their deep interest to invest in the areas of agriculture, fisheries and rice production; adding,
“We are willing to work with the people of Liberia in getting the agriculture sector to a more vibrant level.”
He disclosed that the Chinese entrepreneurs see lots of opportunities in Liberia and expressed interest in training local talents in the areas of rice production and fisheries, and promised to send experts to Liberia for hands-on technical guidance.
In their remarks, Liberia Ambassador to China, Dudley McKinley Thomas and Minister of State without Portfolio, Sylvester Grigsby, thanked the Chinese delegation for their interest and expressed the hope that the practical implementation of the “Letter of Intent” would soon begin to show signs.