At long last, the Chinese-funded project to construct a ministerial complex in Liberia has commenced, a daily Observer investigation has established. A courtesy of People’s Daily in China has reported.
The complex will be the second largest building constructed by China in Africa after the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It will include several large buildings for government ministries, agencies and other multipurpose functions.
In response to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s request to the Chinese government, the two countries signed the US$60 million agreement in 2012, which was delayed due to reasons including the deadly Ebola virus that struck Liberia and other countries in the region.
Commuters in Monrovia are said to be thrilled seeing Chinese and local engineers working on the site because the project has been long-awaited.
Mr. Amos Siebo, deputy head of Liberia’s presidential deliverable unit (PDU), said China’s Hebei Engineering Group is the contractor. The construction firm, Siebo said, is employing hundreds of Liberians as well as training some local engineers for the complex and other projects.
Siebo also indicated that Liberia’s Ministry of Public Works is working alongside the Chinese team, considering constructing overpass routes in order to avoid congested traffic in the area.
He said the project is in two phases, including the expansion of the Capitol Building, the seat of the Liberian legislature. Kuangdu Construction Company, also a Chinese firm, is carrying on the project, Siebo noted.
Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and Zhao Jianhua, then Liberia’s Foreign Minister and then Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, respectively, formally penned the agreement on September 11, 2012, in Monrovia.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ambassador Zhao explained that the fund will be paid out of the gratuitous assistance stipulated in agreements on Economic and Technical Corporation between the Chinese and Liberian governments signed respectively on September 27, 2011 and January 17, 2012. “The building will be a lasting symbol of both nations’ friendship,” he said.
For Ngafuan, China has been making tremendous contributions to Liberia following the restoration of diplomatic ties.
He named packages from the Chinese government including contribution of its contingent to the peace process in 2003 and other investments including the 2009 signing of a US$2.6 billion Concession Agreement (the highest ever in Liberia) for the mining of iron ore, and the construction of the Jackson Fiah Doe Memorial Hospital (the second largest health facility in Liberia) and the modern Fendall Campus for the University of Liberia and other Chinese built high schools, among others, as well the provision of hundreds of under-and post-graduate scholarships.
Also, China contributed to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia and other affected countries in West Africa.
In 2015, China also turned over to the Liberian government a modern annex of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) as well as other projects.
Note: Joe Wandah, spokesman of the Liberian Association of Chinese-Trained Scholars (LACTS), contributed to this story. LACTS is an organization of Liberians who have completed studies and other training opportunities in China.