President Bio Signs MoU with Chinese Government to Increase Investment in the Country’s Fishing Sector
State House, Freetown, Tuesday, 19 June 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has today signed a memorandum with the Republic of China that will add value and boost investment into Sierra Leone’s fishing sector.
The signing ceremony, held at State House, was witnessed by a high-level delegation from China, headed by the country’s Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Yu Kangzhen, who signed the memorandum on behalf of his government.
Mr. Yu thanked President Bio for the honour to meet with him. He said that Sierra Leone and China had enjoyed a fruitful relationship since the bilateral tie between the two countries was established in 1971.
He recalled that the relationship between the two nations deepened to become a strategic one that would continue to cover many areas from the trade, agriculture, fisheries, security among other sectors.
“Your Excellency in on order to foster investment in the two countries and live up to trends in the international arena, the two countries have to sign such agreements that will allow us to invest in the fishing sector. This is a huge milestone and one that symbolizes a high-level of the corporation between the two countries. We are grateful for your support and we believe that with your corporation we will be able to develop the two countries,” the Chinese Vice- Minister of Agriculture said.
He added that China would start by sending fishing vessels that would help to conduct research in the country’s fishing sector.
On behalf of his government of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Yu also used the opportunity to invite President Bio to attend the China-Africa confab, scheduled to hold this September in China.
President Bio expressed his gratitude to the delegation for their visit to the country and described the relationship between the two countries as mutually beneficial and one that spanned decades. He noted that Sierra Leone and China have had many areas of corporations, including sectors like fishery.
“One of my areas of economic diversification is the fishery sector. This is because we believe that if the right investment is made the sector will be able to serve as a strong base for our local revenue generation drive. This signing symbolises our desire to encourage further investment into our country and as we go about our development process, we will want to add more value to our fishery products even before they are brought to the market for sale. As we move further, I want to assure you of my corporation,” he said.
President Bio also thanked the Chinese delegation for the proposed fishing vessels, adding that his government was determined to strengthen surveillance of the country’s territorial waters. He accepted the invitation to China and noted that that would offer him the opportunity to meet with the President of China and other Africa leaders.
President Bio, who has set his path to development, added that while in China in the next couple of months he would also use the opportunity to explore possible avenues for investments in Sierra Leone.
It could be recalled that Sierra Leone and China have had a long history of cooperation in the fisheries, dating back to 1985 when the first Chinese fleets reached the shores of the West African nation. Presently, five Chinese fishing corporations operate in the country, creating many employment opportunities for Sierra Leoneans.