Liberia: The Chinese Connection

Beijing is welcoming African leaders to the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.

The African Continent has been in shadows for centuries, looking to the West for aid that will help propel key development initiatives. Getting aid for several projects from the West has been the way for most of Africa. Over the last three decades, China has demonstrated that it is one of the major players in global economic, trade and geopolitical policy decision across the continent of Africa.

China has given support and needed aid to Africa ranging from bilateral scholarships, infrastructure development, science and technology, as well as trade and commerce. Most African nations see China as a major frontier for needed aid and bilateral assistance in key development areas.

For instance Liberia, like many other African nations, has not fallen short of Beijing gesture.

Over the last decade the small West African nation has benefited from the People's Republic of China cooperation giving steam to renew Sino-Liberia relationship.

Soccer Legend George M. Weah, turned politician, who inherited a broken economy and a bad fiscal regime, has been doing everything to reassure the population, and restore confidence in the business community by initiating changes in the monetary and fiscal sphere of Liberia. President Weah has also been making efforts to breach the Country's huge infrastructure gaps including roads which are key to transform Liberia's poverty stricken population into a potential middle class nation by the end of 2025.

Roads for Weah are the most essential tools to expanding key economic corridors across Liberia.

This Week, the Liberian Leader led a delegation of senior government officials to Beijing, the Chinese Capital for the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation FOCAC) with key African leaders.

The seventh summit of the FOCAC, which has as its theme: "China and Africa: Towards an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future Through Win-Win Cooperation," runs from September 3 - 5, while the seventh Ministerial Conference takes place on September 2, 2018.

According to a dispatch from Beijing, President Weah is expected to hold bilateral discussions with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping on Saturday, September 1, 2018, before the main talks.

President Weah is expected to emphasize roads as the key area of focus for his pro-poor government. The Liberian leader will be looking forward to a strategic discussion with his Chinese counterpart.

As part of his activities, the Liberian leader will attend a high-level dialogue between African and Chinese leaders and business representatives.

This year's summit seeks to build a stronger community with a shared future between China and Africa which will yield important outcomes including the connection of the Belt and Road Initiative with Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the UN 2030 Agenda on sustainable development.

Chinese and African leaders will have close interchanges, create stronger strategic guidance for cooperation as well as add new substance to the community considering new circumstances, which will also contribute to the building of a community with shared future for mankind.

The summit is also expected to strengthen the cooperation between China and Africa to a high level with the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan. A number of bilateral cooperation agreements will also be signed, which will outline a plan for China and Africa cooperation over the next three years and beyond.

Fourteen sub-forums and side events, covering various people-centered areas, will take place before and after the summit.

The 2018 Beijing summit will be chaired by President Xi Jinping, who will also hold relevant activities on the sidelines of the summit.

Over the past 18 years, achievements have been made in political, economic and people-to-people exchanges between China and Africa. Trade volume between China and Africa increased by 17 times between 2000 and 2017. China's investments in Africa have also grown significantly.

Since its inception 18 years ago, the FOCAC have held two summits to date, with the most recent taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa from December 3 - 4, 2015. The first summit was held in November 2006 in Beijing, PRC.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Marie Clar Weah, who is expected in Beijing at the weekend, is expected to join other African First Ladies at a High-Level Dialogue on AIDS prevention and control Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

President George Manneh Weah says his administration is determined to further strengthen the already cordial bilateral relations between Liberia and the People's Republic of China.

President Weah made the comment in a brief interview with the Liberia Broadcasting System, LBS, shortly upon arrival at the Beijing International airport Wednesday, August 29, 2018.

The Liberian leader praised the flourishing ties subsisting between the two nations, but stressed that there were possibilities to explore new avenues of bilateral cooperation for the benefit of their respective peoples.

At least forty one African leaders and their spouses are expected to attend the ceremonies.

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