Ambassador Zhao Yanbo in his statement at the Youyi Highway at Regent last Saturday said it is another new fruit of China-Sierra Leone friendship.
He said on behalf of the Chinese government, he was extending their warm congratulations on the early-expected completion of the road, and extending his gratitude to President Koroma for gracing the commissioning and also extending his appreciation to China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG) for having done a very good work.
“Marking the 53rd Independence Anniversary, we are here to hold a ceremony to hand-over the newly completed road happens to be an ideal gift to the anniversary of Independence Day, which embed in proud Sierra Leoneans. Please let me join you and say together ‘Happy Independence Day to Sierra Leone’.”
The new Youyi road is one of the best roads ever constructed in the country; it is also a very crucial road in Western Area. The Ambassador said he received lots of information from friends and colleagues that this road serves as the most important outlet to the Eastern areas, easing a lot of traffic and saving them time and fuel.
“They congratulated Sierra Leone on the completion of the road. Here I wish to convey all these congratulations to the Sierra Leonean government for making the right decision in constructing this road, and to the CRSG for doing a very good work.”
Ambassador Zhao said many people are very happy as they can drive to the East with ease. He then took the opportunity to seriously remind the drivers that the road has many curves and bridges. “Do not over speed on this road in order to avoid accidents.”
He said Sierra Leone has achieved rapid economic development, and is well prepared to realised the goals enshrined in the Agenda for Prosperity, but there are still many challenges faced by Sierra Leoneans. One of them he said is the infrastructure which creates bottleneck for all-round development.
The Chinese government over the years has committed itself to helping Sierra Leone improve its infrastructure since the establishment of diplomatic ties because they are aware of the importance of infrastructure construction from their development experience.
“In China, we have a popular saying, ‘if you want to be rich, you have to build the road first’. The commissioning of this road is definitely very significant for improving investment along the road, bringing job opportunities to the local communities, and promoting economic development of Sierra Leone. I have travelled on this road a couple of times and I have found new houses, new factory site and new shops already set up.”
Ambassador Zhao said China’s help to Sierra Leone is not only characterised by infrastructure construction, but also by agriculture, education, health, training etc. He said a Chinese Agricultural technical team has been working in Sierra Leone for about 40 years. He said China provides Sierra Leone with about 30 government scholarships annually since 1976. From 2008 to 2012, China has held 562 training classes and 1095 Sierra Leoneans have been trained for capability building and skills training.
Looking back, Ambassador Zhao said the China-built National Stadium, Youyi Building and Youyi Hospital in Freetown are the historical landmarks of China-Sierra Leone friendship. He said he has joined President Koroma to commission the new Foreign Affairs building and the Bo Stadium. All these he said are symbol of good relationship between the two countries.
“As a true friend and sincere partner of Sierra Leone, China will, as always, support the socio-economic development of Sierra Leone. China is willing to make concerted efforts with the Sierra Leonean side to explore new ways and channels for mutually-beneficial cooperation so as to achieve common progress and development.”
He said he hopes the road is not only a road of China-Sierra Leone friendship, but also a road to Sierra Leone’s development and prosperity.
By Austin Thomas
Wednesday April 30, 2014