As part of their continued support to Sierra Leone, the Chinese government has decided to build a Tropical Disease Research and Prevention Center that will be in Sierra Leone for the entire West Africa to make use of.
In an exclusive interview with the Chinese Economic Counselor, Mr Shen Xiaokai, he said due to the ebola that ravaged the country, thereby damaging the country’s economy and health, his country has decided to build this research centre that will help in any future disease attack in the country and the sub-region.
“The West African Tropical Disease Research and Prevention Center, which is the most significant project for the Post-Ebola recovery plan, will include a new CDC office building and help to strengthen the long term ability of public health system for Sierra Leone.”
This project will be built under USD5 billion of grant and interest-free loans that China promised during the China Africa Summit in South Africa in December 2015.
“With loans of preferential nature, China is also focusing on the Mamamah International Airport Project and the Rokel Water Supply Project. Mr. Shen said that China understands the importance of the Mamamah International Airport Project as the No.1 priority for the Sierra Leonean government and its people, therefore this project has already been included into the budget of the USD 60 billion.
“With USD200 million to implement the Phase I of this project, the new airport would be fully functional and in line with international standards. After Phase I, Sierra Leone could further apply for more funding support from China to do the Phase II, which would make the new airport a magnificent landmark.”
The Economic Counselor said it is advisable that Sierra Leone grasp this funding opportunity so as to let the new airport project kick-start as soon as possible.
As for the Rokel Water Supply Project, Mr. Shen told the media that China had noticed the serious lack of water supply for Freetown and the urgent need for the Rokel Water Supply Project. He himself is also quite concerned about the livelihood of the Freetownians who are struggling their lives with no reliable water supply. The Rokel Water Supply Project will definitely and significantly help to solve the problem of water shortage in Freetown. Mr. Shen said that this project would be implemented as soon as the Mamamah New Airport kicks off and the living standard of the people in Freetown would hence be greatly improved.
Mr Shen averred that due to some external reasons, neither of the above two loan projects with preferential natures has yet to kick-start.
“With regards to the USD 60 billion funding support, African countries are entitled to raise their project proposals and the fund use would be determined on the basis of the feasibility and evaluation results of the projects rather than being allocated on a country-specific basis.”
Mr. Shen further emphasized that the principle of China aid is – the project should be raised, agreed and led by the recipient country. He believes that it is the Sierra Leonean people and government who best know which project should be their priority.
He siad within the USD60 billion funding support, Sierra Leone could make the best out of it and submit more project proposals and try to secure more resources to implement as many projects they want including the Mamamah New Airport as possible.
“My office will always be open to any feasible and practical project proposals from Sierra Leonean government, which would tremendously accelerate the process of Agenda for Prosperity and the Post-Ebola Recovery Plan for Sierra Leone.”
Mr. Shen finally opined that his office was also coordinating Chinese financial banks and agencies so as to provide more commercial loans from this USD60 billion funding support for the SMEs in Sierra Leone.