Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Zhao Yanbo has said that even the slowdown of his country’s economy will not affect their outbound investments to Africa. He made this disclose last weekend at his Wilberforce Loop office.

Koroma-Zhao

“Contrary to popular perception, Chinese participation in the continent’s infrastructural projects will increase. The pledges President Xi made in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting in Johannesburg last December will definitely be implemented.”

He said people are of the perception that China’s economy is slowing down, but he said he is not in agreement as the country is still recording an average growth of 7 percent, which is higher compared to other global players.

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Amb. Zhao Yanbo said there are many infrastructural projects being undertaken by the Chinese government and companies and Sierra Leone, he said, is no exception as they are engaged in hydro, road construction, schools and agriculture. He averred that the Mamamah airport project will definitely go on and it will start this year.

Quoting Mark Smith who is the Head of Infrastructure & Capital Projects in Deloitte, East Africa, he said the fourth edition of the Deloitte Africa Construction Trends Report highlighted that the total value of mega projects on the continent stood at $357 billion in 2015, a 15 percent increase from 2014. Of these projects, Southern Africa contributed the biggest share with 109 projects worth $140 billion, followed by West Africa with 79 projects valued at $116 billion.

Rapid urbanization and influx of an expanding middle class continues to drive the need for infrastructural reform, expansion and upgrading, Smith said.

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Amb. Zhao said the report also stated that with the participation in 145 of the 301 projects in Africa, DFIs (development finance institutions) are the largest financiers representing 48 percent of total projects and 34 percent of continent-wide financing.

“Governments are the second highest providers of funding, followed by the amalgamation of the participation of all singular countries’ financing and then by China on a stand-alone basis,” reads the report.

The report stated that governments continue to own the projects by 71 percent (214) projects followed by private domestic owners with 38 projects and Africa DFIs with 9 projects (3 percent).

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In construction, the amalgamation of all the singular countries building participation represented the highest involvement at 28 percent, followed slightly by government at 27 percent. “China is present in 14 percent of all the projects on a standalone basis.

China’s investment in East Africa continued to lead other foreign countries save for International Development Finance Institutions (DFIs). Kenya and Ethiopia are/will be the biggest recipients in the region.

Ambassador Zhao Yanbo said so long as he is in Sierra Leone he will fight for the country to get more support from China as there are areas that more support is needed to help boost the economic growth and improve human capacity.

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“Sierra Leone has a passionate leader who is bent on developing infrastructure and that is good for the country in the future as it will increase trade, strengthen the economy and make the entire country accessible to all. A country can’t develop without good roads and basic health system, which has been the focus of the President.”

He admonished all Sierra Leoneans to support the government and put hard work first if Sierra Leone is to be successful.