Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Scratching Liberia's Back: China Delivers Independence Gift - A Modern University

07/2010 - Precious S. Seboe
Source: FrontPage Africa

CHINA'S GIFT:Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhou Yuxiao and U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield look on as Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf cuts ribbon to the new $21.8 Million Fendell campus. Besides the University campus, China is also helping the University of Liberia to build three labs, and a Confucius Institute. The Chinese are also building three schools in Monrovia and Bomi counties and some 58 Liberian students are now studying in China under the Chinese government scholarships, and 450 Liberians have received short-term training in China in the past several years while more Liberians are being trained by Chinese experts in Liberia.

Monrovia -

The Chinese government Tuesday unveiled the largest investment ever built with Chinese assistance since the normalization of relations between China and Liberia, a brand new $21.8 Million Fendell Campus of the University which was handed over to the Liberian government during a formal ceremony aptly dubbed Liberia’s gift on the occasion of her 163rd birth anniversary.

Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhou Yuxiao turns key to campus over to Sirleaf Wednesday.

The gift comes as China has been making inroads in the Third World.

The campus construction done by contractors of China Guangdong Xingguag covered an area of 110,000m² with 24,800 m² of floor space . Construction work took two years and has five components specifically: a teaching and administrative building, apartment buildings for faculty member, a teaching and administrative building, apartment buildings for faculty member, dormitory buildings for students; auxiliary facilities like power generation, water supply and sports groun,; and teaching and research equipments.

Besides the University campus, China is also helping the University of Liberia to build three labs, and a Confucius Institute. The Chinese are also building three schools in Monrovia and Bomi counties and some 58 Liberian students are now studying in China under the Chinese government scholarships, and 450 Liberians have received short-term training in China in the past several years while more Liberians are being trained by Chinese experts in Liberia.

The Liberian leader also showed appreciation to the United States Government for the University of Liberia post-war development and thanked Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield for $ 1.2M grant provided by the US to renovate the engineering building at the college of science and technology.

Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhou Yuxiao, speaking at the occasion said: “We are scratching your back just because you are rubbing your chest yourself.” The envoy noted that the project signifies the strength of cooperation and friendship shared by the two nations. “The political and social systems are different between China and Liberia but neither China, nor Liberia bases its relations with the other on political ideology. Neither side imposes its view and value on the other; instead we develop sate -to-state relations on the basis of sovereign equality, political trust, mutual respect, mutual support and mutual benefit; it is this genuine spirit of cooperation and friendship that has made cooperation projects like the Fendall Campus possible,” Ambassador Yuxiao stated.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf thanked the Chinese Government for the gesture and said the newly renovated campus will enable the enrollment of more students and create an environment more conducive for learning.

The Liberian leader also showed appreciation to the United States Government for the University of Liberia post-war development and thanked Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield for $ 1.2M grant provided by the US to renovate the engineering building at the college of science and technology.

“As I read the draft to this statement, there was a line there that said is it politically correct to put into an event recognizing China that we also thank the United States government,” President noted and with that statement she turned to Ambassador Greenfield saying “we’ll talk Linda.”

Madam Sirleaf answered herself by saying that the situation was not only politically correct, but it is also an example of the spirit of partnership that is promoted in Liberia, and with that she commanded the Chinese and Americans for their collaborated efforts which have yielded tremendous result.

Speculations have surfaced in recent months that the inroads being made by the Chinese in Liberia was putting Liberia at odds with its perennial stepfather, the United States of America, but Ambassador Zhou, in a 2009 FrontPageAfrica interview said simply: "Good relations with Liberia are taking place under such circumstances. Liberia is a country devastated by the war which lasted 14 years. No single country in this world can help Liberia out. It requires the whole international community to help Liberia in terms of aid, economic cooperation, in terms of supporting Liberia’s democracy, in terms of working in the area of the rule of law and order. So I don’t think we are competing or we want to replace anybody."

According to Zhou, the difference between China and other countries is that when the Chinese promise certain amounts of money, all that money goes to the project. “Very small amounts go to the secretariat of the managerial staff in the implementation process. Like the Fendell University campus, on our books it’s about US$23 million. But if it is done by somebody else, the cost would be maybe US$50 million or even US$100 million. Some times the figures on the books are small but the results are big. Why? Because there is no middle man that can make money. Our wage system is very low and we try to practice favorable economy. So construction workers do not live lavishly. If you get the aid workers to live lavishly, most of the money will go to those aid workers rather than on the project. So that also is poverty reduction oriented.”

Zhou says education is one of the main areas of China’s poverty reduction focus. “When we build schools and a university, that’s aimed at improving your education system because after all almost a generation of education was lost. So you need catch that up.”

The ceremony was graced by the UL President Dr. Emmet A. Dennis who also extended heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the people of China for their huge investment.

China is seen as a strong contender to The United States, once an unquestionable global powerhouse. Now the People’s Republic is using the influence of culture and lifestyle to fight for global economic and political supremacy. And Liberia appears to be the beneficiary at least for now, in that many investments are being done in the Country by the Chinese government and the Chinese language is being taught at the State-owned University of Liberia.

In 2007, during his visit to Monrovia, Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a number of agreements with Liberia in Monrovia, pledging more aid and investment to the West African nation. The deals included the cancellation of $10m (£5m) of Liberia's debt to China and waiving duties on Liberian exports. Mr Hu also promised to help Liberia - which is still recovering from a long civil war - tackle malaria and assist in education and agriculture.

Besides the signing away of of $10m debt owed to Beijing, China also decided to give to Liberia within two years... $25m (£13m). The money will be spent on projects to help rebuilt Liberia, following the 1989-2003 Civil War that ravaged the country.

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Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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