November 16th, 2007
Your Excellency Madam President
Hon. Minister of Public Works
Country Representative and Officials from the World Bank
Officials from the UN family
Friends from the media
Today is a very special day for all of us as the rehabilitation of the Monrovia-Buchanan Road is the largest infrastructure project ever to be conducted since the end of the civil war in Liberia. On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend our hearty congratulation to all the stakeholders, particularly to the Liberia government and people.
This long awaited project means a great deal.
First, it tells us the importance of peace. Peace is important to development as oxygen is to human life. Without peace, no developmental project is possible. Therefore, we shall treasure peace as much as we cherish fresh air and we shall be thankful to the 16,000 UN peacekeepers who have been dutifully maintaining peace here in the country.
Second, it shows the significance of international cooperation. No individual country or organization is able to help rebuild the war-torn country single handedly. Yet, we the international community can do it, if we get together and cooperate in a harmonious way. This project is a case in point. The World Bank works very hard to raise funds for infrastructure development in Liberia. Its noble efforts should be highly appreciated. The Liberian government attaches great importance to the project. The presence of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who will personally inaugurate the project is a clear indication of her government's determination to improve infrastructure that affects the daily life of everybody. The Indian company is providing its consultancy in a professional manner. UNMIL provides security and traffic control. The China Henan International Corporation or Chico is doing its best to fulfill the contract. It has overcome numerous difficulties to get over to Liberia all the construction materials and more than 100 pieces of equipment, some of which are here today. I wish to take this opportunity to encourage the Chinese company to prove itself to be a worthy and credible contractor by doing an excellent job both in speed and quality. You have to go home if you fail to do so.
Third, it heralds development. The rehabilitation of the road will not only improve traffic, but also generate jobs for the unemployed and instills hope and confidence in the Liberian people. It represents a major step forward towards a better future and marks a beginning of a post-war development thrust. I am confident that there will be many more projects in the near future, as the government is trying very hard to map out development policies and get assistance from all sides. China alone is doing about 10 projects in the next two years in the form of economic aid. We are proud to be part of this project and to be an active partner of the development initiatives of Liberia.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you may know, at Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, China announced eight policy measures designed to strengthen its economic ties with African countries including Liberia. Two of them are investment related. The first is to provide 3 billion US dollars of preferential loans and 2 billion US dollars of preferential buyer's credits to Africa. The other is to set up a China-Africa development fund of 5 billion US dollars to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Africa. More recently, China has established a national investment corporation with an asset of 100 billion US dollars. In addition to that, the Chinese Embassy has also been endeavoring to encourage the Chinese private sector to invest in Liberia. I sincerely hope that Liberia can benefit from these funds and initiatives for its development.
I am confident from the bottom of heart that the Liberia three or four years later, when I say goodbye to you, will become much better and stronger than what it is today. To this positive change, I shall endeavor to contribute my own share as a friend of Liberia and as the Chinese Ambassador.