His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has told a high level Chinese delegation to State House that he wants Sierra Leone to be a trading partner with the East Asian nation rather than being a buying partner.
He further told the team comprising Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency Chen Xiaodong and Assistant Minister, African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China, that his administration would focus on many areas to help diversify the economy, especially in areas of agriculture and fishery. He explained his plans to help transform Sierra Leone into a hub for business and investment in the region, adding that education, agriculture and infrastructure would form the basis of that drive.
President Bio, who is very passionate about developing human capacity, also stated that his administration would provide free education at both primary and secondary school levels, adding that improving on tertiary and vocational education was also key. He added that his government would appreciate support in all of those areas to help build a nation that could be self-reliant.
On the relationship between China and Sierra Leone, President Bio mentioned that the two countries had built a long-standing connection over the years, based on mutual respect and the desire to help each other. He noted that the visit was a mark of proof to that relationship, which Sierra Leone would continue to cherish.
President Bio said that he would continue to engage the Chinese government in bilateral and other discussions geared towards moving the interests of the two countries forward.
Delivering his statement on behalf of the Chinese government, His Excellency Chen expressed his felicitations to President Bio on behalf of the people of China. He said that the meeting was meant to build on existing discussions around bilateral relations in a bid to increase the volume of trade between the two countries.
He mentioned that Beijing had always been supportive to Sierra Leone, both in crisis and in normal times.
The Chinese Foreign Minister disclosed that the government of China was always ready to support President Bio in achieving his development programmes and policies, adding that they were committed to working with Sierra Leone.
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State House Media and Communications Unit