President George M. Weah
-Pres. Weah to make Liberia's case at FOCAC Confab
President George Weah has told Chinese media that Liberia is ready to align its national development strategy, the Pro-poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity, with China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The President departed the country early Monday, August 27, 2018, for Beijing, China, to join other African leaders who are in that Asian country for the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
Prior to his departure, President Weah told Xinhua News Agency, one of the largest media outlets in China, that Liberia will seek development opportunities at the Summit to be held in Beijing from Sept. 3-4, 2018.
President Weah described China as one of Liberia's biggest partners, and that Liberia's relationship with China is a win-win situation. "We believe that with China, we can achieve our goals," he told Xinhua.
Since his ascendancy to Liberia's presidency, the President has persistently described road connectivity as his government's top priority. At his inauguration in January this year, he said that his government will make every effort to enhance road connectivity, agriculture and education across the country.
The BRI, a "belt" of overland corridors and a maritime "road" of shipping lanes, is the Chinese government's development strategy that intends to connect countries across Asia, Europe and Africa.
This Beijing's multi-billion dollar initiative has also been called a Chinese Marshall Plan, a state-backed campaign for global dominance, a stimulus package for a slowing economy, and a massive marketing campaign for something that was already happening - Chinese investment around the world.
The initiative has since morphed into a broad catchphrase (quote, slogan) to describe almost all aspects of Chinese engagement abroad.
President Weah told Xinhua, "Our need is roads ... Building roads to connect the country, will help Liberia get back on track. If you look at most of our infrastructure, like the roads, they are being built by Chinese companies. This is one of the ways that China is helping," the president said.
With the CDC government's "Pro-poor Agenda" at the verge of being launched, President Weah said he expects China to support the agenda, especially in regard to our infrastructural projects and to also provide assistance for the youth.
"When you have a new friend, you cannot forget your old friend. China has a bond with Liberia. That relationship cannot be forgotten. We want to strengthen it," Weah said.
Meanwhile, the FOCAC will be held under the theme, "China and Africa: Toward an even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-win Cooperation."
The leaders from Africa and China will meet against the background of a world becoming increasingly multi-polar, with a globalized rising cultural diversity and more and more digitized societies. African leaders, representatives of related regional organizations in Africa and international organizations will participate in the summit.
The objectives of FOCAC include equal consultation, enhancing understanding, expanding consensus, strengthening friendship and promoting cooperation between African countries and China.
President Weah is expected to use the visit to explore new frontiers for increased trade between Liberia and the People's Republic of China for the mutual benefit of the two countries, the Executive Mansion said in a release.
Traveling with the President is an array of government officials led by Foreign Minister Gbezohngar Findley and Information Minister Eugene Nagbe.
While away, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff to the President, Nathaniel Farlo McGill, will chair the affairs of the Cabinet in close consultation with Vice President Madam Jewel Howard Taylor and via telephone conversation with the President.
The President is expected to return to Liberia on September 9, 2018.
William Q. Harmon