By Minkailu Turay
The outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Mr. Kuang Weilin has assured Sierra Leoneans that, his mission will communicate with the Chinese government to ensure that the amount charged by the China -Sierra Leone Friendship Association Hospital at Jui for the treatment of patients is reduced and meets the level of the citizenry.
Speaking past Thursday at a press conference organized at the Chinese Embassy at Spur Loop, West of Freetown, Ambassador Weilin noted that the reason for high charges by the hospital was that the authorities who built the hospital had wanted to cover up the cost of the project in a short term.
He pledged Chinese support to the developmental aspirations of Sierra Leone and catalogued some of the projects undertaken by the Chinese government in the country. The Ambassador disclosed that, his government and the government of Sierra Leone were engaged in serious discussions for the construction of a modern airport at Mamama in the Port Loko District.
He also informed the press that the low quality Chinese products are imported into Sierra Leone because the people could not afford to pay for high quality ones manufactured in China. The Chinese Ambassador stressed that, his government has opened its doors for large investment in Sierra Leone but that whilst China moves fast, Sierra Leone slowly lags behind.
Ambassador Weilin further maintained that after 35 years of reform and opening up, the erstwhile agricultural China now stands as the world second largest economy and top holder of foreign reserves.
Over the past 35 years he said China has achieved average economic growth of 9.8% far above the world’s 2.8% in the period. He mentioned that, China’s GDP in 2012 reached 51.9 trillion Yuan (US$8.28 trillion), up from 364.5 billion Yuan (US$59.4 Billion) in 1978.
The Ambassador also told newsmen that per-capital GDP in 2012 stood at US$ 5680, up from US$190 in 1978. He further noted that, China’s economy has become an important engine for world economic recovery and growth adding that China contributes to the world’s economic growth by more than 20%. The diplomat said his country has made remarkable achievements in development but that it remains the largest developing country in the world.