Liberia is among the latest countries that have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) on cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Over 150 countries and international organisations have so far joined the Initiative. The BRI, previously the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was initiated by China in 2013 aimed at enhancing all-around connectivity through infrastructure construction, exploring new driving forces for world economic growth, and building a new platform for world economic cooperation.
According to a dispatch from the Liberian Embassy near Beijing, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel Farlo McGill, who represented the Liberian government at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, signed on behalf of the Liberian Government, while Mr. Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of National Development and Reform Commission signed on behalf of the PRC.
The Signing of the MOU, which took place on the eve of the Forum, was a culmination of the many levels of discussions and efforts held with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Liberian Embassy near Beijing as well as between the Presidents of Liberia and the Peoples Republic of China.
On September 1, 2018, during a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), President George Manneh Weah expressed Liberia’s interest in participating in the BRI as it serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples.
Recognising the political consensus of jointly promoting the BRI, the two governments have decided to work together to form cooperation between their two economies, enhance policy coordination, deepen mutual beneficial and practical cooperation and mutual learning between civilisations, with a view to realising joint development and common prosperity.
Both countries intend to work together to enhance political relations, economic ties, security cooperation and people-to-people exchanges; strengthen cooperation and promote regional connectivity; jointly establish an open, inclusive and balanced economic cooperation framework to maintain regional peace and development, and more importantly, promote bilateral cooperation.
The two countries have agreed on five cooperation priorities, including policy coordination, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity.
The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing under the theme: Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future.”
Events included a leaders’ roundtable, a high-level meeting, thematic forums, a CEO conference and other side activities.
Host China, together with 37 heads of state and government, representatives from over 100 countries, including heads of international and multilateral organisations, took stock of BRI achievements and worked on a blueprint for future cooperation to further enrich BRI cooperation.
The BRI is an important initiative for international cooperation proposed by President Xi to enhance both China’s development and its cooperation with global partners. Since its inception, the BRI has received strong endorsement & warm support from the international community.