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Chinese Ambassador Zhou Yuxiao attended the graduation ceremony of the Training Course on Bamboo and Rattan Weaving Techniques

The graduation ceremony of the training course on bamboo and rattan weaving techniques was held at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex on February 13, 2008. H.E. Mr. Zhou Yuxiao, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Mr. Joseph N. Boakai, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, Hon. Etomonia Tarpeh, Minter of Youth and Sports, Acting Ministers of Agriculture and Internal Affairs, other senior government officials and representatives from UNDP and UNHRC attended the ceremony.

In his speech, Ambassador Zhou congratulated the 55 trainees who have acquired basic skills of bamboo and rattan weaving during the 6 month training and thanked the 5 trainers from China for successfully completing the course by overcoming all sorts of difficulties, particularly the shock brought by the unfortunate assassination of the female deputy team leader Mrs. Jiang Chongyun. He urged the relevant Liberian authorities to bring the criminal suspect to justice as soon as possible.

Amb. Zhou said: "The project was much more than a China-aid project. It was a joint venture in a sense. The strong support from the Liberian government and the UNHCR equally contributed to the success of the project. The personal presence of Vice President was a clear indication of the importance the Liberian government attaches to the project that create employment opportunities."

Training itself was not the purpose, he said, the ultimate objective of the training course was to empower the youth and the unemployed to get employed after skill training. He pointed out that the end of the training course means a beginning of a new project on business creation and he emphasized the need to get those graduates self-employed or get them organized into cooperatives to engage commercial production, so that they can make a living by producing bamboo and rattan products. That's where the government institutions, particularly the Ministry of Commerce should get in to create domestic or international market for them, he said.

He believed that China and Liberia were complementary to each other in the said area, pointing out that China had rich experience and skills in producing wide varies of bamboo and rattan products while Liberia has plenty of bamboo and rattan resources. "China is read to help Liberia to turn its resource advantages into development advantage", he pledged.

Vice President Boakai spoke highly of the project by saying that the project was in line with the Liberian government's Poverty Reduction Strategy which is aimed at developing productive and management skills for unemployed youth and potential small business entrepreneurs to be able to engage in and undertake feasible economic projects that would positively impact the Liberian economy. He called the training course "a fishing project" by quoting a Chinese saying: "give a man fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for life'. This training program was an indication that the Chinese believe in this adage", the Vice President said.

He then expressed his gratefulness to the government and people of China for supporting Liberia in its national rebuilding process. He said, China's help and assistance was an expression of true friendship which is firmly rooted in the saying that 'a friend in need is a friend indeed".

Before the graduation ceremony, the Vice President, accompanied by Ambassador Zhou, visited the display of bamboo and rattan products made by the trainees under the guidance of the Chinese experts.

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