• November 8, 2023


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The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Sierra Leone, Wang Qing has described the Tonkolili-Pepel Port and Railway lease agreement signed with the Leone Rock Metal Group as a progress for both countries’ ties.

“The Tonkolili-Pepel Port and Railway lease agreement signed with the Leone Rock Metal Group marks a new progress for China-Sierra Leone bilateral relations and practical cooperation,” said Ambassador Wang. The Chinese diplomat made the disclosure whiles addressing state and non-state actors at the commencement of the expansion and rehabilitation of the Pepel Railway and Port on 5 November 2023. He said the lease agreement is another important milestone of China-Sierra Leone cooperation in mining and infrastructure sectors under the framework of BRI.

“So today I would like to connect these two significant events and share some of my views with you, that over the past ten years, the Belt and Road cooperation has extended from the Eurasian continent to Africa and Latin America,” he informed, and added that; “More than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations have signed Belt and Road cooperation documents. The BRI has completed more than 3,000 co-operation projects, galvanized nearly USD 1 trillion of investment globally, lifted 40 million people out of poverty, and helped many developing countries accelerate their pace of modernization. This is a path of cooperation, opportunity and prosperity that leads to common development and has become the most popular international public good and largest international cooperation platform in today’s world.”

He added that as for Sierra Leone, the Tonkolili Iron Ore Mine Site managed by Leone Rock Metal Group is the largest and most successful project between our countries until now and has effectively carried immense development dividend, pointing out that the project created millions of revenue and thousands of jobs. The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone furthered that the project also provided strong support for Sierra Leone’s economic and social development during the last several years, especially in the challenging times of Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine War, and sluggish world economy.

He therefore informed that the lease agreement represents the recognition of the Government of Sierra Leone to the hard work of LRMG and the willingness of two sides to continue this successful story. As Chinese Ambassador to SL, I am very pleased to see this agreement in place, he said.

Ambassador Wang Qing disclosed that the Tonkolili-Pepel Railway and Port lease agreement demonstrates a bright and promising BRI cooperation between Sierra Leone and China, adding that President Xi Jinping informed at the opening of the Third BRI that the modernization he is pursuing is for all developing countries not just for China. Ambassador Wang Qing furthered that President Xi also unveiled eight major steps China will take to support high-quality Belt and Road Cooperation including setting up a financing window to support the Belt and Road Initiative projects on the basis of marketing and business cooperation.

So we can see the direction of BRI high quality cooperation in the future: focusing on development and improving local industrialization and modernization, stay committed on the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and carry out more market-oriented operations. I know LRMG is deeply committed to expanding its investments in Sierra Leone, aiming to establish a strong presence in this prosperous land. They have devised a five-year plan that entails increasing the output to 20 million metric tons, upgrading the railway and port, and even constructing a steel plant within Sierra Leone…

The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone reassured that with the new lease agreement; “I hold the firm belief that in the future the Tonkolili Iron Ore Mining Project will become a global leader, propelling industrialization and contributing significantly to Sierra Leone’s economic growth.”

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