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What Can Liberia Learn From China’s Trade Zones; The Case of Kunshan Economic & Technological Development Zone

By Fredrick P. W. Gaye

The blossoming flowers and friendly weather in this part of China are just a symbol of how Kunshan serves as one of the fulcrums of China’s economic growth and development. Some Liberians may say that the country is not in the position now like China to establish special economic zones (SEZs) due to the lack of revenue backing.

However, what Liberians need is to be able to receive and make use of the technology and knowledge transfers with a clear and implementable vision. There are prospects for the country based on its natural resources. Furthermore, Liberia and China friendship has strengthened in recent years with serious growth in trade volume.

It is good to start somewhere. And for me, and others may agree, it is optimistic that the country will move on par with other developing countries if both governors and governed are willing to learn from countries the like China, that had experienced similar situations some years ago.

With the most-touted publicity in strengthening the private sector, fundamental activities such as establishing special economic zones, guided by special policies could serve as a foundation for making this sector vibrant.

Special economic zones are geographically designated trade areas that are used to attract foreign investors and boost industrialization. They generally have trade laws that differ from the rest of the country and companies are offered tax incentives to set up operations.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC), under its “Belt and Road” Initiative, is partnering with African countries to scale up industrialization on the continent in addition to China’s infrastructure development projects – the “Three Major Networks” of railway, road and regional aviation. I believe that China’s own experience in industrial development through the special economic zones offers valuable lessons.

Chinese former Ambassador to Liberia and Zambia, Zhou Yuxiao, in his article published in the CHINAFRICAN Magazine, urged African countries to be ready to receive the technology and knowledge transfers. “Africa can do what China has done; China’s today can be Africa’s tomorrow,” Amb. Zhou stated.

In 2016, during our (22 African journalists) tour to Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, we visited several economic zones and other institutions.

But the flourishing features of the Kunshan Economic & Technological Development Zone  (KETD), opening economic opportunities for foreigners, coupled with the historical periods of its reforms explained by authorities, made it a great lesson for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in general, and Liberia in specific.

Though it is in Jiangsu Province, Kunshan is situated in the Shanghai Economic Zone, with the metropolitan city Shanghai to the east and the renowned ancient city Suzhou to the west. .

Leading our tour in the different areas of the zone, official said KETD zone has a number of well-developed national-level functional zones, including a free trade zone, an opto-electronics industry park and an incubation park for Chinese overseas students. A number of other industry parks are also under development, including parks respectively dedicated to robotics, finance, creativity, advanced technology commercialization and food processing. These functional zones and industry parks are shaping a geographical distribution of economic activities characterized by “two axes, two belts, two cores and multiple parks”, which are increasingly facilitating city-industry integration.

By end of 2015, KETD had attracted 2,170 investment projects, with a total value of US$ 36.3 billion and registered capital of US$19.4 billion, from 47 countries and regions, including Europe, America, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

It hosts more than 10,000 domestic companies, with more than RMB 50 billion in registered capital, which concentrate in five pillar industries: electronics and information, optoelectronic display, precision machinery, equipment manufacturing and light industry. KETD has been successively honored as a national model in intellectual property-driven development and business incubation for overseas talent. It is also selected by the provincial government as a model in innovation and IT-industry integration and scores the highest in institutional innovation among national-level EDZs in China. For consecutive years, KETD has been ranked among the top four national-level EDZs by the Ministry of Commerce for its overall competitiveness.

The efforts of the Kunshan government is to ensure a stable and healthy economic and social development, and to consequently transform the city into what some traders called one of the best places to work, live and do business in China. As an open industrial and commercial metropolis, Kunshan has remained at the forefront of the nation’s reform and opening-up policy in the past decades.

Moreover, Kunshan has adopted a series of proactive policies in an strategic plan to develop a modern service industry as part of a drive to upgrade its industrial structure.

For example, the government has streamlined examination and approval procedures to better serve investors. All the applications are required to be examined within a time limit.

This new reform is in line with a circular issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council, saying that China will ease the permanent resident permit application process for foreigners. “Qualification for residence should be flexible and pragmatic,” the circular noted.

Accordingly, KETD was first established in 1984. It was approved as a provincial-level economic development zone (EDZ) in 1991 and as a national-level EDZ in August 1992. Covering an area of 115 sq km, KETD is home to a population of 635,000. Since its birth, KETD has been liberalizing its ways and deepening reforms, taking the lead among its peers in economic diversification, functional innovation and EDZ urbanization.

China introduced special economic zones in the 1970s as part of its policy to open up to international trade. Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms became the turning point towards a market-oriented economy. A series of experiments, including the establishment of special economic zones, became the driving force for growth.

This inspired African countries and became the rationale to establish Chinese led-SEZs (special economic zones) in Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zambia and Ethiopia in the mid-2000s. More African countries are planning to establish special economic zones. In South Africa, the Special Economic Zones Act has been passed and ten selected.

About the author

Fredrick P. W. Gaye is IN PROFILE DAILY’s Editor for News & Editorial Services. Gaye is also a fellow of the China-Africa Press Center (CAPC) Annual Media and Cultural Exchange Fellowship 2016. He can be reached at: fgaye.inprofile@gmail.com

 

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NOBEL Liberia, Ecobank In Partnership For Money Transfer Service

Nobel Liberia, on  Wednesday, October 18, 2017, added on its list Ecobank as one its partnership in the Money Transfer service. Other partners of Nobel include Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) and International Bank (IB).

This partnership with Ecobank is the newest from efforts being made by Nobel Liberia management team with several Liberian banking institutions in order to create an easy access to Liberians wanting to receive money from the United States.

The program was attended by officials of both institutions including the Managing Director of Ecobank Liberia, Mr. George Mensah Asante who expressed thanks and appreciation to the management team of Nobel Liberia for the initiative to form partnership with Ecobank in the area of ‘Money Transfer Services’.

Asante said the initiative being exhibited by Nobel Liberia to establish Money Transfer services with banking institutions within Liberia must be lauded, and also assured Nobel  of his institution’s willingness to working with them.

For his part, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Liberia, Jallah Kesselly, noted with keen interest in the growth and development of the Liberian economy, and further noted that his institution, the only Money Transfer Company that sends money in Liberia, but does not send money out of Liberia, adding, “We will like to keep money in Liberia, rather than sending money out of Liberia.”

He said his Company’s remittance service is the most convenient, cheap and notably the easier way for Liberians in the United States to send money back home to their friends and relatives.

Speaking further, Mr. Kesselly said that Nobel Money Transfer Service is currently available in Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Colorado and Philadelphia with cities and states to follow suit very soon.

On the arrangement with Ecobank Liberia and other banking institutions in the Country, the CEO of Noble Liberia lauded the management team of Ecobank Liberia considered as the Pan African Bank for its services to people of Liberia, and further lauded other banking institutions that are bringing relief to the Liberian financial sector.

Making assurances to the many customers of Noble Liberia Money Transfer Service, Mr. Kesselly said for every ten transactions that will be made by a single individual to receive Money from the US, that individual will receive a free Premium bag of Nobel US parboil rice and a T-Shirt. He said this move is Nobel Liberia way of showing love and appreciation to those utilizing their Money Transfer service. In a related development, Mr. Kesselly disclosed that Nobel Money Transfer service will be available in all UBA banks by the end of October.

Noble Liberia has over the years since its formation as a financial institution provided thousands of United States dollars to various charitable Liberian causes, for example Miss Liberia, Chicago Bright Foundation and Monrovia Football Academy to name a few.

Also present at the occasion were the Financial Comptroller of Nobel Liberia, Mr. Nim’ne Elliot Mombo, Jr., while Ecobank Liberia representatives who also witnessed the occasion included Gibson Kollie head of Consumer Banking, William Krakue; head of Remittances, Trokon Jackson; head of Clients Engagement Management and Ivy Fairley Fahnbulleh; head of marketing communication.

Customers of Nobel Money Transfer Service can also pick up their money from the Nobel Liberia head office on 11th Street, Tubman Boulevard in Sinkor, located in the Bible Society Building; working hours daily are 9am through 7pm from Monday through Friday; and on Saturday from 9am to 2pm. For more information regarding Nobel Money Transfer please call: (Liberia) 0886612037/ 07770011013 (USA) +1-886-996-363; On our Face Book page visit: www.facebook.com/nobelliberia

 

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Eco Bank Runs To Supreme Court

EcoBank Liberia is seeking the Supreme Court’s intervention after being found liable for over one million United States dollars.

The bank, though its lawyers, has filed an appeal with the high court, expressing dissatisfaction with the decision rendered by the Judge of the sixth Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court for Montserrado County, Boima Kontoe.

Judge Kontoe recently served a Writ of Execution on the Management of Eco Bank for an action of damage of wrong worth over US1M dollars.

He court sheriff as saying, “The Writ of Execution in the possession of this paper states thatyou are hereby commanded to seize and expose for sale the lands, goods and chattels of the Appellant/Defendants herein named of the City of Monrovia, Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia and if the sum realized therefrom be not sufficient than their real property, until you shall  have raised the sum of One Million, Eighty Thousand , and twenty United states dollars (US$1,080,020.00)and Twenty Thousand, five hundred Liberian dollars. (LD$20,500.00).”

The Writ of Execution was ordered on Thursday October 19, 2017 at the Temple of Justice.

A letter in the possession of this paper, dated October 20, 2017, from the Clerk of the Supreme Court, instructs Cllr. Necular Y. Edwards (counsel for plaintiff) of the Wrights and Associates Law Firm to appear on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at a conference with the Associate Justice presiding in chamber, Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh in connection with the petition filed against his client (Austen Clarke).

The contending issue for the justice in chamber is to determine whether the Bill of Exception was not filed on time and whether the law cited by Judge Kontoe is applicable in this case, because the counsel representing the bank’s interest earlier argued that the ten days as required by statute for the filing of a Bill of Exceptions does not apply to this case because the case was a jury trial and not a bench trial.

It can be recalled that, on September 14, 2017 the Civil Law court rendered final judgment of liable against defendant (Eco Bank) after hearing evidence and entertainment of argument to the court’s final judgment, the defendant (Ecobank) excepted and announced an appeal to the high court which was granted.

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EcoBank In Over US$1M Trouble

By: Yassah J. Wright

The Civil Law Courthas issued a writ of execution on the Management of Eco Bank for an action of damage of wrong by a complainant.

The writ of execution in the possession of this paper quotes Judge Boima Kontoe as saying on Thursday, October 19, 2017, “You are hereby commanded to seize and expose for sale the lands, goods and chattels of the Appellant/Defendants herein named of the City of Monrovia, Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia and if the sum realized therefrom be not sufficient, then their real property, until you shall  have raised the sum of One Million, Eighty Thousand , and twenty United states dollars (US$1,080,020.00)and Twenty Thousand, five hundred Liberian dollars. (LD$20,500.00).”

The Writ of Execution further stated that, “In addition thereto seizure and sale; and if you cannot find said lands, goods and chattel of said defendants, you are hereby commanded to arrest the living body (ies) and bring them before any judge of competent jurisdiction to be dealt with according to law; unless they will pay the said sum(s) of money (ies) or show property to you to seize and sell for same.”

It can be recalled that the action of damages for wrong out of which this motion to dismiss appeal grew was assigned for trial on July 14, after a motion for new trial was granted by late colleague his Honor Johannes Z. Zlahn who presided over a jury trial of the case at first.

Accordingly, on September 14, 2017 the Civil Law court rendered final judgment of liable against defendant (Eco Bank) after hearing evidence and entertaining argument to the court’s final judgment, the defendant accepted and announced an appeal to the high court which was granted.

Subsequently, the defendant filed a motion for new trial on September 18, 2017. The motion was countered by counsel for plaintiff (Austen D. Clarke) who filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on September 26, 2017.

According to the court document, Cllr. Necluar Edward appeared for Austin D. Clarke (plaintiff) while counsel for Eco Bank Cllr. Albert S. Sim appeared for respondent defendant but after five minutes of the call of the motion for the hearing, Cllr. Sims filed a letter of excuse stating that all lawyers of the Sherman and Sherman are requested to meet at the Sherman and Sherman’s law firm.

The judge finally ruled stating that, “wherefore and in view of the foregoing, the appeal announced by Respondent/Appellant on September 14, 2107 at the rendition of this court’s final judgment, out of which this motion to dismiss grows is hereby granted and defendant/appellant’s appeal announced on September 14, 2107 without filing a Bill of Exceptions up to and including today’s date is hereby dismissed And hereby so ordered”.

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ORANGE Launches Massive New Promo -Gives Away Ten Bikes, Five Vehicles

In a continued build-up of its presence in the Liberian telecommunications market, Orange Liberia has launched a massive new promotion under the theme: “With Orange, Christmas Starts in October.”  The new promotion was rolled out at a major press conference held at the company’s headquarters on Capital Bypass in Monrovia.

Orange’s Corporate Communications Strategist Dr. Kimmie Weeks outlined that from October through December, Orange would give away 10 brand new motorbikes and 5 new cars.   “We know that Christmas is a time of happiness, love and bringing families together.    It is a special time in Liberia and we want the Liberian people to begin to feel that happiness and joy starting from October,” Weeks said.     He outlined that to bring the Christmas cheer to Liberians early this year, Orange would give away a brand-new motorbike every week, a brand-new vehicle every two weeks, and the grand prize a few days before Christmas.

Weeks highlighted that Orange had made it simple for its subscribers to be eligible to enter to competition.    “All our subscribers have to do is to recharge once a week at least $1 and activate any Orange package to be eligible to win a bike, recharge at least once a week two weeks in a row to win a Ford or Renault vehicle, and recharge at least once a week for every week until December 21 to be eligible to win the Toyota Rav 4 valued at US$35,000.” Weeks added that to increase their chances, customers need to recharge more often with higher amounts, whether it is with scratch cards, e-recharge or Orange Money.

In separate remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Orange Liberia Mr. Mamadou Coulibaby said that he was extremely happy and proud about the launch of the new promotion.   He noted:  “the launching of the Orange “Christmas Starts in October” promotion is a part of the Orange commitment to demonstrate to the Liberian people that Orange cares.

This is a very, very big investment for us as a company.   However, it is something we are happy to do knowing that the lives of many, many Liberians will be positively impacted.”

Orange says the first motorbike winner will be announced on October 23, and the first person will walk away with a brand new vehicle on October 31.

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“Betting On Africa To Feed The World”

The African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture today as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16-20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

The Norman Borlaug Lecture titled “Betting on Africa to Feed the World” will be on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration.

President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday, October 19. The prize is to agriculture while the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.

The World Food Prize board announced President Adesina as the 2017 Laureate (http://APO.af/nNtr9w) in June for his work in improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers, and for laying the foundation for the youth in Africa to engage in agriculture as a profitable business.

The World Food Prize, founded by Nobel Laureate, Norman Borlaug, is the foremost international honour recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

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Tony Elumelu Foundation To Host Largest Ever Gathering Of African Entrepreneurs

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy dedicated to catalyzing entrepreneurship, on October4, 2017, announced that the 3rd annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum – the most diverse annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and SMEs – will take place on October 13-14 in Lagos, Nigeria.

This is the first year that invitation to the Forum is extended beyond the 1,000 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs from the 2017 cohort, to include selected SMEs, media, hubs, incubators, academia and investors from diverse nations across Africa; from Mauritius to Cape Verde to Kenya and more. Assembled SMEs will build networks, share knowledge, connect with investors and link with corporate supply chains.

“Since launching the TEF Entrepreneurship Program – and committing $100 million to empowering 10,000 African entrepreneurs in a decade – we have unleashed our continent’s most potent development force, its entrepreneurs,” said TEF Founder Tony O. Elumelu, CON. “In just 3 years, our first 3,000 entrepreneurs have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated considerable wealth.  On October 13 and 14, the global entrepreneurship community will gather in Lagos to build a New Africa, a thriving, self-reliant continent capable of replicating the results of our ground-breaking Program.”

The two-day Forum will feature plenary panels, masterclasses, sector specific networking opportunities and policy-led forums focused on enabling African business growth.

TEF Chief Executive Officer Parminder Vir OBE said: “This is the first year we have opened the Forum up to include the full pan-African entrepreneurship ecosystem. In doing so, we are enabling African SME communities to come together and expand the possibilities for intra-African partnerships. I am looking forward to welcoming our invited policy-makers and investors to join us at the Forum, as we empower the next generation of African business leaders.”

Speakers will include: Wale Ayeni, International Finance Corporation; Stephen Tio Kauma, Afrexim Bank; Andre Hue, African Development Bank; Stephen M. Haykin, USAID Nigeria; Heikke Reugger, European Investment Bank; Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, United Nations Development Programme.

The Foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Tony Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector, and most importantly its entrepreneurs, as the catalysts for the social and economic development of the continent.

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Guangzhou promotes Fortune Global Forum in Tokyo

Guangzhou, China’s most integral business center and gateway to the outside world, is enabling a new level of collaboration and innovation between Chinese and Japanese enterprises by following through on a series of progressive business and economic initiatives set forth by the humming southern capital of Guangdong Province. In 2016, import-exports between Guangzhou and Japan grew to USD$ 12.77 billion representing a 12.5 percent total increase from the year prior. Of that, imports from Japan to Guangzhou totaled USD$ 9.31 billion, an 11.8 percent rise, while exports from Guangzhou to Japan increased 14.4 percent, to USD$ 3.46 billion.

 

By the end of 2016, Japanese companies had invested in and established 626 enterprises in Guangzhou with the actual use of foreign capital totaling USD$ 5.24 billion. At the same time, Guangzhou companies continued to invest in Japan, establishing 16 enterprises with a total investment volume of USD$6.65 million.

 

“There’s a powerful synergy that’s growing between our two great nations, with Guangzhou at the heart of it all,” said Guangzhou Vice Mayor Cai Chaolin. “Many leading Japanese enterprises have already recognized the benefits and ample opportunities that exist for them through Guangzhou’s business-friendly environment, and it has been our great honor to work closely with them to advance our two economies. We look forward to an even brighter, more interconnected and collaborative future with our Japanese counterparts.”

 

The Vice Mayor is in Tokyo this week keynoting a private forum on innovative cooperation between Chinese and Japanese enterprises. This event comes as an early precursor as the Chinese city readies to host the highly anticipated 2017 Global Fortune Forum in December. The Global Fortune Forum will convene world leaders and the heads of global business in Guangzhou to discuss the dynamic world of international commerce, creating an opportunity for CEOs of the  Fortune Global 500 to meet and engage with Chinese leaders from the public and private sectors.

 

In Japan this week, the Vice Mayor is joined by additional representatives from the Guangzhou government, the Consulate General of China in Japan, the Chairman of the Guangzhou Automobile Group, Mr. Zeng Qinghong, as well as representatives from the Fortune Global Forum, JETRO, Nomura Holdings and various Japanese Fortune 500 companies. Their locally-hosted forum will welcome 100 executives from major Japanese corporations to learn about and discuss collaboration and innovation between the two regions, and jointly address the best path forward for businesses.

 

Many of the world’s top 500 enterprises have set up stations in Guangzhou, with a broad investment portfolio ranging from electronics to automobiles, fine chemicals, food and beverage, electronic information, metal manufacturing, intelligent equipment and beyond. Already, Japanese auto giants like Honda, Toyota and Nissan have established automobile manufacturing plants in the city to capitalize on its progressive investment offerings and rapidly growing business landscape. In addition, Guangzhou has welcomed the likes of Honda TechnologyResearch, JFE, Denso and other related businesses; Mitsui Sumitomo Bank, Mizuho Bank and other modern service enterprises; as well as Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Hitachi and other advanced manufacturing enterprises.

 

The Guangzhou Automobile Group is a prime example of the kind of innovative collaboration taking place between the two nations. The Chinese group has successfully endeavored joint venture businesses with Japanese enterprises to form Guangzhou Automobile Honda, Guangzhou Toyota and Guangzhou Automobile Mitsubishi; through these joint ventures the group can hasten the localization process, develop more Chinese products and services and constantly enrich its product line, resulting in a mutually beneficial, win-win cooperation.

 

Foreign-funded enterprises in Guangzhou enjoy high level of localization in terms of management and technical personnel, and many foreign enterprises have established research and development centers in industrial parks of the city, which help them to understand and effectively cater to regional markets.

 

The city is also constantly raising the level of investment and trade facilitation, and developing reforms for entrepreneurs to foster a convenient investment, operational and development atmosphere. This includes the streamlining of administrative examinations and approval permissions. Guangzhou also continues to reduce the burden on enterprises, lowering operating costs and helping enterprises by reducing administrative fees, setting up government funds and implementing policies to reduce insurance rates. In recent years, the city’s talent introduction scheme has also enabled the region to attract more international talent with innovative spirit and drive.

 

As a comprehensive transportation hub, Guangzhou also allows for more global openness and interconnectivity via its vast port, rapidly expanding international airport, far-reaching railways and strong highway system.

 

“Beyond the incredible business environment blossoming in Guangzhou, our city serves as a welcoming cultural interchange, allowing people and enterprises to come together harmoniously,” Vice Mayor Cai added. “Our long summers and warm winters make our home even more welcoming, plus our fantastic food and beverage offerings make this one of the most ideal places to live and work, and that is only becoming more true as we usher in more talent and inspiration from our Japanese friends.”

 

Source: Guangzhou Municipal Government

YONER-Liberia Ends One-Day GIST TechConnect Event

By Mafanta Kromah

The Youth Network for Reform (YONER-Liberia), in partnership with US Embassy on Tuesday March 4, 2017 ended a one-day GIST TectConnect event in improving and promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, science and technology for youth empowerment and socioeconomic development in the country.

 

Speaking on the topic, “building and supporting your start-up community”, Christina D. Taylor, the National Sale Manager Cellcom Technologies who served as the 1st Motivational Speaker noted that entrepreneurship is the act of taking up a risk to start-up a business with the hope of getting a profit.

 

She said an entrepreneur is a person with passion to move from being an employee to an employer, noting that it should be a way that will benefit the community.

Madam Taylor stressed that being an entrepreneur is to avoid the ’30 days Notice’, which she described as working for someone and fear to start your own business because of failure.

 

She maintained that it is good to start business with Other People Money (OMP) which includes loans, partners and government money and apply passion to move to another stage of the business.

 

She encouraged young entrepreneurs to dream big, always make a positive decision, be doer, with determination.

She said dedication to what one is doing is very important along with devotion and detailed understanding of what they are doing.

Madam Taylor who is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Liberia and the owner of a real estate Eagles Landing Apartment Inc. is noted for promoting women professional development.

 

At the same time, the Manager of ICampus, Luther Jeke urged young entrepreneurs to be more creative in whatever part of entrepreneurship they are involved with.

He said they should create sustainable ideas that can go beyond people expectations and collaborate with their fellow young people that might have the same ore similar idea.

 

Jeke noted that ICampus is willing to help any young entrepreneur that has great ideas especially in agriculture.

 

YONER-Liberia is a non governmental organization that seeks to promote the talent of young people through entrepreneurship, innovation, science and technology. It also seeks to promote development through the skills of young Liberians.

New Promotion Film of China’s Guangzhou Unveiled

On the morning of March 28, 2017, a five-minute promo video of Guangzhou was premiered at the opening ceremony of 2017 Guangzhou Annual Investment Conference.

Guangzhou is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China.

The video, titled “Guangzhou, Flower City in Bloom”, showcases an artistic, international and high-tech Guangzhou with beautiful environment and happy life.

According to a dispatch from Augustus Chen of Information Office of Guangzhou Municipality, the the story of the video is about a foreign man and a Chinese lady, knowing each other and falling in love in Guangzhou. From their perspective, the video shows the city’s legend & originality, color & warmth, growth & vitality. In this video, you can see traditional Guangzhou as well as modern Guangzhou.

Hailed as Flower City, flowers are certainly the highlight of the video, the city flower kapok, azalea along the street, flowers in the park, flower fair, and flower market.

Culture is also an important part being shown in the video. Kwon-glazed porcelain, Cantonese Embroidery, Cantonese Opera, herbal tea, fashion design, sculpture, and more are presented to show Guangzhou’s charm and character.

The main melody of background music is “Colorful Clouds Chasing The Moon” (in Chinese 彩云追月), a classic piece of Cantonese music. It is a new orchestration of Chinese and Western musical instruments, including flute, guitar, gong & drum and jazz drum.

Previous to this, the 30-second version of this promo video was displayed on the “China Screen” at New York Time Square from March 11 to 17, drawing coverage of about 400 foreign media, including USA Today, Yahoo, Deutsch Press Agency, ABC, NBC, and FOX. In only two days, the video was viewed for over 5 million times online, 200,000 times on Fackbook and Twitter, with numerous likes.

A New Zealand net friend Loh Siewling commented that Guangzhou’s changes over the past 20 years are incredible; the city’s airport used to be like a bus station, no highways nor skyscrapers could be seen in the city; now Guangzhou is like any other modern mega-cities in the world.

Netizen Doris King who liked the video said the the city is so beautiful and the buildings are amazing. Many overseas Chinese from Guangzhou also commented that they missed Cantonese morning tea a lot.

FLOWER FAIRS

Guangzhou has the nickname ‘Flower City’, thanks to its year-round warm weather which other parts of the country is denied of. The locals’ enthusiasm for flowers as decorations at home reaches its prime when the annual Flower Fairs is held just before the Chinese New Year.

Usually lasting for around a week and finishing late on the eve or a week after the Chinese New Year, the Flower Fairs are staged in all 8 districts of the city and reaches the climax right on the eve of the Chinese New Year. You should expect to see various types of flowers in rows, as well as the crazy crowd around them. People believe that flowers are symbols of prosperity, so at the turn of the year it’s extremely important to have the flowers with you to change the feng shui and hope for good luck for the coming year.

It is said that Guangzhou has held flower fairs for more than 500 years now and the locals truly believe the old saying, “No flower fairs, no New Year.” If you happen to be traveling to/in Guangzhou during the Chinese New Year times, go and experience it.

SHOPPING PARADISE

Being the center of the Pearl River Delta, also dubbed as “the world’s factory”, Guangzhou is a place where you can find everything at a very competitive price, for foreigners and local Chinese alike. There are quite a number of wholesale markets in the city, ranging from electronic products to clothes, shoes, accessories, bags and suitcases and many others. If you are not up for wholesale, it’s also a retail center! Shopping centers and streets provide loads of options at very attractive prices. Make sure you have a good budget control and are aware of your luggage limits for all your shopping in Guangzhou!

Located on the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub.

Guangzhou is currently, the third most-populous city in mainland China, behind Beijing (2nd) and Shanghai (1st); holds sub-provincial administrative status; and is one of China’s five National Central Cities. In 2015 the city’s administrative area was estimated to have a population of 13,501,100 and forms part of one of the most populous metropolitan agglomerations on Earth. Some estimates place the population of the built-up area of the Pearl River Delta Mega City as high as 44 million without the Hong Kong SAR and 54 million including it. Guangzhou is identified as a Beta+ Global city. In recent years, there has been a rapidly increasing number of foreign residents and illegal immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, as well as from Africa This has led to it being dubbed the “Capital of the Third World”. The migrant population from other provinces of China in Guangzhou was 40 percent of the city’s total population in 2008. Most of them are poor rural migrants, and they speak only non-Cantonese varieties of Chinese, such as Mandarin.

Guangzhou was long the only Chinese port permitted for most foreign traders. The city proper fell to the British and was opened by the First Opium War. It lost trade to other ports such as Hong Kong and Shanghai, but continued to serve as a major entrepôt. In modern commerce, Guangzhou is best known for its annual Canton Fair, the oldest and largest trade fair in China. For the three consecutive years 2013–2015, Forbes ranked Guangzhou as the best commercial city on the Chinese mainland.