Foreign Minister Ngafuan Lauds 'Excellent' Liberia-China Relations At FOCAC Meeting
Liberia's Foreign Minister, His Excellency Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has hailed the People's Republic of China for its immense contributions to Liberia's post-war recovery process.
Addressing the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) over the weekend in Beijing, China, Minister Ngafuan recalled with gratitude China's assistance in restoring peace and security to Liberia through its support, within the context of the UN Security Council, for the deployment of the UN Peace-keeping Mission in Liberia in 2003 to which China contributed its own contingent that has assisted Liberia in road-construction and provision of health care.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Minister Ngafuan has expressed excitement over the latest pronouncement made by Chinese President Hu Jintao and looks forward to working with China in deepening and broadening a partnership that will work to the benefit of the two countries as well as the entire African continent.
The Liberian Foreign Minister also commended President Hu and the people of China for China's increased support under FOCAC for a mutually beneficial cooperation in international affairs, infrastructure development, trade, finance and banking, energy, transportation, human resource development and culture.
President Hu, last week announced that within the next three years under the FOCAC initiative, China will provide a US$20 billion dollar line of credit to African countries to assist in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, and small and medium-sized enterprises.
Minister Ngafuan averred that Liberia looks to a win-win partnership with countries and investors from all parts of the world, the People's Republic of China being one of our key partners. Within the framework of FOCAC and buttressed by China-Liberia excellent relation, the People's Republic of China has helped Liberia, especially in the past six years, to tackle some of the teething challenges of the nation's reconstruction.
Liberia-China relations are, according to the Minister, "excellent as Liberia tries to rebuild after more than fourteen years of fratricidal conflict that not only decimated our population but also destroyed our infrastructure and led to one of the worst economic declines recorded in our history".
The Liberian Foreign Minister informed the FOCAC Meeting that during the past six years, Liberia has witnessed a dramatic increase in Chinese investment in Liberia, notable among which was the signing in 2009 of a US$2.6 billion Concession Agreement – the highest ever in Liberia - for the mining of iron ore.
Liberia has also witnessed Chinese investment in hotels, agriculture, and the construction of roads and bridges. Currently, the country is concluding modalities that will lead to the construction of a modern Ministerial Office Complex to be funded by China.
Minister Ngafuan who conveyed warmest greetings from the President of the Republic of Liberia, H. E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to her counterpart, H. E. Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China and its great and resilient people recalled the cordial relation existing between the two countries.
China constructed the second largest health facility in Liberia that is offering affordable health care to Liberians in rural parts. The country also constructed a modern campus for the University of Liberia and three high schools, established an agriculture demonstration center, provided over 200 under and post-graduate scholarships, among others.
In another development, the Liberian, Minister Ngafuan congratulated South-Africa for its ascendancy to the co-chairmanship of the FOCAC. He expressed optimism for a balanced and mutually beneficial partnership between Africa and China over the next three years. "China and Africa must continue to work for balanced development and a global world order that is more equitable, fair and sustainable," he said.
The establishment of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000 marked a significant turning point in China-Africa relations. The 5th Ministerial conference has added momentum that far surpasses previous meetings of this nature. From debt-cancellations to the provision of grants and preferential loans to support African development, China is taking tangible steps in advancing partnership with the peoples and countries of Africa.