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Embracing the Forum on China-Liberia Economic and Trade Cooperation…

By: Ekena Wesley Heritage Newspaper, April 23, 2010 

We closed on our last commentary – sounding up-beat in anticipation of the historic visit of the Chinese delegation led by the Deputy Commerce Minister to Liberia. The visit, this time round will focus as it were on “China-Liberia Economic and Trade Cooperation”. Now, we want our avid readers to get this point – the approach by the Chinese to dub this visit as “Forum on China-Liberia Economic and Trade Cooperation” is indeed a concrete manifestation of a ‘win–win’ situation. Why do we need to embrace the “Economic and Trade Cooperation”? The dividends to be derived from the economic forum will guarantee jobs for our country and people. That makes it something to celebrate!!

One of the serious considerations that has been on the table in the line up of China’s intervention is the construction of a Free Zone in the Buchanan enclave of this country. Its realization is economically viable to this country. China offers huge potentials in the area of economic prospects as a world-class leader on the face of the earth. China has a proven track-record in many African countries – as is further evident by its prudent socio-economic efforts in various countries on the continent. Liberia – is indeed a country rich in natural resources and opportunities – but out vast resources could be as good as nothing when they remain untapped and serve no practical interest. Economics is all about – trading – investing – and a chase over the profit margins.

The Chinese are coming in a show of mutual cooperation along economic frontiers – and it is the expectations of Liberians to see new deals or Memorandum of Understanding entered into, which will pave the way for the much need jobs social survivability. Yes, the people have been longing – hoping that their government sought their mandate to inherit state power and address their most pressing needs. It is all about creating the necessary economic environment that will propel economic growth and prosperity for the nation. It is the Chinese who have come forward – offering to participate in a economic and trade cooperation forum purposed on mutual benefit for all parties.

We are under obligation to extend a hand of genuine friendship and economic solidarity to our Chinese counterparts as the forum attempts to break new grounds for the good of our country and its people. Liberia must be able to enter the talks in the national interest – Liberia must mutually agree to the terms that will ensure that our country is placed first. We do welcome the Chinese efforts to opt for economic and trade cooperation – not the unequal advantage – as this clearly demonstrates that we are poised for a forum threshold on a kind of economic cooperation and trade that will serve our collective interests. When Liberia trades with China – there is a prospect to give hope to the thousands of job-hungry citizens throughout the nation. When Liberia decides on economic partnership with China – we enter into concessionary wedlock that will bring smiles to hundreds of faces in this part of the world. When Liberia fosters trade deal with China – we lift our people from poverty to better livelihood.

The user-friendly atmosphere is expected to be incensed by realistic discussions and negotiations involving how Liberia could tap into China’s continued bilateral assistance to the African continent – specifically of interest to Liberia – it growth – socioeconomic recovery and sustainable development agenda. We remain vastly blessed in rich land fertility – for agriculture productivity – but that growth an only become the kind of manifestations as envisaged when a conflict-graduated country as Liberia is prepared to work with the likes of China – that is a proven success story in agro-based industrialization. China well-known and highly publicized sustainable development strategy is engrossed in the ability of the Chinese people to be able to feed their nation – and have so much for export.

While we all might not be trained as agriculture technicians – we need no schooling to appreciate that we can throw about a cassava stick – and in a few weeks it will begin to sprout – a confirmation of the fertility of our soil. The experiment in Foya District, Lofa County with the first post-war mechanized farming project can bear us out that indeed our soil offers great prospects without fear of mobilizing huge consignment of fertilizers to facilitate bumper growth and encouraging yields. Why is the emphasis on agriculture? This country has whatever it takes to become self-sufficient in food production and it is commonsense that when we are able to feed ourselves and make economic gains from the surpluses – the country benefits. Can anyone tell this country how we would be referred to when we can or are able feed ourselves? Our ability to feed ourselves addresses a critical security consideration – the begging syndrome would have reduced dramatically. The fight against poverty would have crossed a considerable junction.

The Forum on China-Liberia Trade and Economic Cooperation comes at the right time for our country. What is right about the time? Timing indeed has to be planned and strategic to the success and survival of whatever the goals or objectives to be achieved. We have just ended years or national nightmare – that displaced the vast majority of the population in this country. We destroyed so unpatriotically just everything you could imagine. Mindlessly, we did so – as though there would be no tomorrow. We were mistaken – but the greed for power and wealth blinded our sensibility to act prudently. The time has come to reverse such trend – to turn a new leaf for the good of our fatherland. This is the time to build – to reconstruct our lives – lift up thosee villages and towns once destroyed at out own peril.

The moment of talks – economic and trade negotiations will take place in Monrovia – an opportunity that seeks to provide mutual benefit after all. We expect Liberia to head for the discussions in an open and frank manner - putting the national interest above all other considerations. Yes, a time when our leaders must put their act together for the good of this nation. It must be about Liberia First! By putting Liberian first, we will ensure that agriculture – energy – mining - forestry – off-shore oil exploration – intermediate technology – construction – infrastructure – fisheries and manufacturing become the basis for the mutual economic and trade cooperation meetings. Our expectations could be high though but when negotiations abound – the options would remain open. It is only an open exchange that will enable a lot of thoughts flow – that could become the fulcrum for a realistic outcome.

This is our moment – it is our time – it is indeed an hour in history that if seized upon – has the potential to take us to another level. We cannot afford to lose out on the dividends to help us change and move on as a people – rebuilding our lives and ensuring that there is hope for all of our nation and its people. This is our honored welcome to the Chinese high-powered delegation to this glorious land of liberty by - God’s command. Not a religious gathering as it were but we cannot divorce the sanctity from the sacredness of our religiosity.

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