Chinese Ambassador Wu Peng on Wednesday 22 August 2018 said President Maada Bio is committed to the development of Sierra Leone and he believes he would succeed if he has the support.
“The first time I met with President Bio one week after his inauguration, I was moved by his passion and determination to succeed in developing the country.”
He said because of the passion that President Bio has for Sierra Leone he believes that attending the FOCAC meeting next month will be productive for him and Sierra Leone.
“President Xi Jinping has invited Maada Bio to attend this conference and he will be one of the new leaders in attendance. He will be among the 50 plus leaders from Africa that will chart the way forward between China and Africa.”
Ambassador Wu Peng also stated that First Lady of China Peng Liyuan will also meet with the first ladies from Africa to discuss health matters including HIV and AIDS.
He said this will be the biggest FOCAC meeting and he believes there will be more packages of aid and concessional loans to help Africa to grow. Ambassador Wu Peng said one important item in the FOCAC meeting that will be discussed will be the Belt and Road initiative that he said will be very beneficial to the continent.
“The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has achieved great success in Africa in the past five years, but some voices have accused China of attempting to colonize the continent. We are making the move from geopolitics to geo-economics because the Belt and Road Initiative, which is based on comprehensive connectivity of countries around the world, is basically an economic cooperation.”
He said 90% of trade is seaborne, making landlocked countries very poor. This is the reason he said why, five years ago President Xi Jinping visited Kazakhstan, for the first time, to put forward the concept of the Silk Road Economic Belt, because Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world.
“Under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), African countries can access the ocean to join the global value chain. This is basically what the BRI aims to achieve, because the world is not flat. The gaps between the rich and poor, and continental area and landlocked size are so huge. The world needs more mutual connections to solve the problem of the gap between the rich and poor, and deal with the problem that some countries, people, and sectors remain marginalized from traditional globalization. For that reason, the Belt Road Initiative is welcomed in Africa.”
Ambassador Wu Peng said the Belt and Road Initiative wants to solve the problem of poverty, development disparity, and security. He averred that four hundred million Africans still suffer from electricity shortage, and millions others have to deal with violence and terrorism.
“I think the Chinese way of solving this problem is to give hope, lift people’s standards of living, alleviate poverty, and then build regional sustainability. I think that’s the development-oriented approach of globalization, unlike what the Color Revolution and the so-called Arab Spring purport to do.
The last FOCAC meeting was held in Johannesburg in 2015 and can be characterised as a mega event that took place at the Sandton Convention Centre at the behest of Chinese.