President Ernest Bai Koroma last Friday opened the Sierra Leone National Pavilion at the China EXPO 2010 in Shanghai to a rousing welcome from both Sierra Leoneans and foreign nationals present to see the first African Pavilion opened to the public.
In his address, the President warmly welcomed all present on behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone and extended his deep gratitude to the Mayor and all the people of Shanghai for organizing such a wonderful EXPO in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
He commended the organizers of the great global event and thanked the government and people of China for the tremendous work they have done.
President Koroma pointed out that the 2010 Shanghai Expo and its theme ‘Better City Better Life’ brings into focus the great aspirations of the Chinese people to make the world a more peaceful, prosperous and harmonious place for all the people of the world.
He noted that Sierra Leone is deeply proud to be a participant at the Shanghai EXPO 2010 believing that the event will help broaden cooperation with the people of China and the world. President Koroma reiterated that for Sierra Leone, the event is also an opportunity to display and promote Sierra Leone’s cultural heritage, history and traditions which define them as people.
He intimated that by interacting with other people and their culture, Shanghai EXPO presents to them the chance to enhance mutual understanding, friendship and peace.
He added that their presence in Shanghai will above all present to them new opportunities in the fields of commerce, technology, market information, promotion of economic research and development and eventually promotion of a sustainable environment for international trade and economic integration.
President Koroma emphasized that industrialization at all levels requires sustainable provision of energy saying Sierra Leone has a huge potential for the development of hydro-electric energy and solar power adding that investment in that area is most welcome in partnership with local private and public enterprises. He further maintained that the country’s marine resources are some of the most abundant in the world while the potential for the development of tourism presents tremendous exciting possibilities for sincere investment.
He also stated that in the last few years the government of Sierra Leone has established an environment which provides the full protection and security for investment and that they are ready to enter into any agreements with foreign investors to ensure that their investment in Sierra Leone is insured against a wide range of risks. President Koroma pointed out that World EXPO events in the past had generated revolutions in industries, science and technology and contributed to a closer global relationship. He reiterated that it is his firm belief that the Shanghai EXPO 2010 will contribute to strengthen the forces of science and technology as they march into the twenty first century and hoped that the truly global event will further accelerate the bonds of friendship and cooperation between China and Sierra Leone and the people of the entire world.
He finally told the audience that Sierra Leone today is an exciting environment for investment in a variety of areas such as agriculture, tourism, mining, animal husbandry and food processing.
He was later taken on a conducted tour of the EXPO Park.Responding to the President, the Minister of Agriculture of China Mr. Han Changfu said Sierra Leone is the first African country to be invited to the Shanghai EXPO 2010 which demonstrates the strong bilateral ties between the two countries.
He added that they believe that the ties between the two countries will continue to expand especially under the leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma. Mr. Han Changfu assured President Koroma that as Minister of Agriculture, they are ready to partner with Sierra Leone in the area of agriculture to ensure that the country attains its food self sufficiency program and are ready to work with Sierra Leone at all times on the basis of mutual benefit. He also expressed confidence that the Sino-Sierra Leone ties are bound to be sustained and further enhanced.