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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

 

Ellen Casts Vote In Hometown

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 in fulfilment of her constitutional rights cast her vote in Fefeh
Bomi County. Fefeh is a heartbeat from the Liberian leader’s hometown of Julijuah.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf, early on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 joined the queue at precisely 8:20a.m. in Fefeh Town,  Bomi  County to cast her vote.

After performing her constitutional duty, President Sirleaf briefly addressed journalists who had gone to cover the polls. She called on all Liberians to put country first as they vote across the country. She denounced violence and challenged Liberians to embrace peace.

Responding to question from a journalist about how she felt after voting, she said: “I feel good and encourage all Liberians to vote right to move the country forward

StarTimes acquires exclusive media rights for FIBA’s 2017-2021 national team competitions

StarTimes, Africa’s leading pay TV operator, has acquired exclusive media rights in Sub-Saharan Africa for FIBA’s national team competitions during the period 2017-2021, including the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.

 

Basketball’s world governing body awarded StarTimes exclusive free and pay transmission rights across all territories of Sub-Saharan Africa for its leading tournaments (with the exception of free rights in Angola and French pay rights in Francophone on non-exclusive basis).

 

StarTimes is the leading digital-TV operator in Africa, serving nearly 10 million subscribers through DTT and DTH platforms with 480 authorized channels.

 

Vincent Yu, StarTimes Media Division Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are so glad to offer the very best of national team basketball to our subscribers in Africa by having secured the broadcasting rights for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and all other leading events for the period 2017-2021. We are particularly excited to offer basketball fans in the region the chance to follow their favorite teams as they compete in the Qualifiers for the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the Continental Cups 2021.”

 

“This agreement is consistent with StarTimes’ mission and values to offer the best sport content, which has always been our priority. Our partnership with FIBA will clearly be a turning point for African basketball fans.”

 

FIBA Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Patrick Baumann said: “Thanks to this partnership with StarTimes, the extent of our reach across Sub-Saharan African is bigger than ever before and we can cater to the millions of enthusiastic basketball fans. Having the very best of our national team competitions broadcast in the region will go a long way towards growing our sport’s popularity and participation.”

 

The agreement is in effect for the following countries and territories: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville (Republic of), Congo (Democratic Republic of), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia (The), Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius (excluding French language), Mayotte (excluding French language), Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion (excluding French language), Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia (including Somaliland), Socotra, South Africa, South Sudan, St. Helena and Ascension, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania (United Republic of), Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

 

The agreement covers the following events: FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and its Qualifiers; FIBA Continental Cups 2021 and their Qualifiers; FIBA AfroBasket 2017; FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2017; FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018; FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments for Men and Women (2020); all remaining 2017 FIBA Continental Cups (FIBA AmeriCup, FIBA Asia Cup, FIBA EuroBasket, FIBA Women’s AmeriCup, FIBA Women’s Asia Cup); all 2019 and 2021 editions of FIBA Women’s Continental Cups (FIBA Women’s AfroBasket, FIBA Women’s EuroBasket, FIBA Women’s AmeriCup, FIBA Women’s Asia Cup); FIBA U19 Basketball World Cups for Men and Women (2019 and 2021), FIBA U17 Basketball World Cups for Men and Women (2018 and 2020).

 

The agreement was brokered by FIBA Media, the strategic partnership between FIBA and Perform, which continues to secure multi-year agreements related to FIBA’s new calendar of events.

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Dual Citizenship: Factor In 2017 Elections?

NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoyah

“Dual citizenship, is it a factor in 2017 elections?  The settlers who came centuries ago and settled here came from Americas and today Liberia’s national leadership is primarily decided in the United States. When people want power they run to the United States to seek favor. People have Green Cards and are living in the States and here…. What negative impact the so-called dual citizenship has had on previous elections Chairman Korkoya conducted since his appointment at NEC? Every Commissioner shall be a Liberian citizen, be of age not less than 35, and shall be of good moral character.”  

Liberians have turned their screen board on the doors of the National Elections Commission Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, following what appears to be a leaked document about him, alleging that he has a dual citizenship, but there are  divided opinions on the issue in different quarters.

Allegedly, Chairman Korkoyah  has both ECOWAS and American passports and his accusers said  he voted as an American citizen during the 2008 American elections, but he has sharply refuted the claims and challenged anyone to carry him to court and prove the allegations.

The crux of the accusers’ concern is that Chairman Korkoya should resign as head of the NEC because, in their minds, he is not a Liberian citizen to lead the electoral process that will determine the next national leadership of Liberia, but he has resisted the call as well.

One of the main stakeholders pushing the resignation campaign against Chairman Korkoya is Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, who has called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to terminate  Korkoya’s service at NEC, claiming that there are several proofs to that effect that he has a dual citizenship status.

For  Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, he is quoted in Daily Observer  as saying that Chairman Korkoya  may have committed perjury if  it is true that he bears an American passport.

Cllr. Gongloe was quick to quote Section 2.3 of the Election Laws of Liberia, which speaks of qualifications of appointees to the NEC, stating, “Every Commissioner shall be a Liberian citizen, be of age not less than 35, and shall be of  good moral character.”

However, there are political parties , including the Coalition for Democratic Change of Senator George Weah, the Movement for Progressive Change of Simeon Freeman, likewise ordinary Liberians who are opposed to the call for Korkoya’s resignation based on accusations that he holds ECOWAS and American passports, and that he reportedly voted in American elections in 2008.

For those defending Chairman Korkoya to stay on and conduct the pending presidential and legislative elections, they argue that he had held successful elections since his appointment by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, one of the such elections being the 20 14 Special Senatorial election.

Others have also argued that when Cllr. Korkoya was nominated for the position which he had to go for confirmation hearing at the National Legislature, the Senate, or citizens who knew about his alleged dual citizenship, would have flagged the issue to deny him being confirmed and later commissioned by President Sirleaf.

Over the past almost twelve years, many appointees of the Unity Party-led government have kept their families abroad, particularly in the United States why they are working in Liberia. There are some who are accused of buying houses in the States.

It can be recalled that during the first term of the regime, former Public Works Minister Losene Donzo appeared for confirmation hearing at the Capitol Building and admitted being a citizen of America but was still confirmed.

“Dual citizenship, is it a factor in 2017 elections?  The settlers who came centuries ago and settled here came from Americas and today Liberia’s national leadership is primarily decided in the United States. When people want power they run to the United States to seek favor. People have Green Cards and are living in the States and here,” a former employee of the UP-led government commented on the issue Tuesday in Monrovia.

The former employee argued that what Liberians need to contemplate on presently is how to develop the country and that it is only sincere Liberians who can do that.

According to him, calling for Korkoya’s resignation based on his alleged dual citizenship status is an attempt to distract the attention of the citizens from the processes leading to the holding of free, fair and credible elections, wondering, “ What negative impact the so-called dual citizenship has had on previous elections Chairman Korkoya conducted since his appointment at NEC?”

 

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Police Raid “Zogos” In Ganta, Nimba County

By Gborontaye Gboron in Nimba County

 

Police in Ganta City, Nimba County have arrested several persons said to be drugs (narcotics) users. Some of the drugs users carry out criminal activities, thus giving them the name “zogos” in a Liberian parlance.

Police told this paper that the alleged drugs smokers were arrested in an area called “Congo” believed to be highly populated with criminals.

“We arrested some car loaders in the streets and in the  Congo community; but the LNP is questioning them to know among them who are the real zogos that people of Ganta City are talking about,” Ganta Police detail commander Adolphus Zuah said.

Zuah said Congo Community is considered a criminal hideout, pointed out that some residents in the community conceal information from security.

He said the LNP continues to call on the citizens to report any criminal activities in any part of Ganta if the city must be crime-free.

“We have in custody about eight men who were arrested by the Police; but we are investigating whether they are the notorious criminal that people are talking about before they can be charged,” Zuah maintained.

It can be recalled that citizens of the city appealed to Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman  to intervene in the alarming crime rate in Ganta, blaming it on the alleged drugs smokers and car loaders.

The citizens told the Police IG to ensure people referred to as car loaders are removed from the streets as they were posing threats to movement.

They also mentioned of possible violence during the pending national elections if the alleged criminals are not removed from the the streets because they could take advantage of any situation to cause havoc in the city.

“Please try to take the zogo boys from the streets of Ganta because crime rate in this city has creased since you took them from the streets in Monrovia,” said Old Man Freeman Goannue, during a town hall meeting between IG Coleman and citizens in Ganta.

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NATMOTE To Train 100 Women Aspirants

By: Mafanta Kromah

 

The National youth Movement for Transparent Election (NAYMOTE) will on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 host a weeklong training for 100 women aspirants and women campaign managers from across the 73 electoral districts in Liberia.

The women’s leadership and political participation training is meant to prepare female aspirants for the 2017 legislative election. The training will be held at the Development Education Network Liberia (DEN-L) Compound, based in Gbarnga, Bong County. The overall goal of the training is to increase women’s representation in the legislature and empower them to participate in competitive politics and governance in Liberia.

According to the Executive Director of NAYMOTE, Eddie Jarwolo, participants were selected through competitive vetting process and they will be trained and equipped with the necessary tools, knowledge and skills to participate in grassroots campaigning and campaign events, and learn about campaign communications, public speaking, message development, press relations, voter contact and requirements of becoming a candidate and among other key areas.

He said the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nation Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for Peace Consolidation, Mr. Yacoub El Hillo, will delivery the keynote address on the topic, ‘The Role of Women in National Building and Accountable Governence’.

Other speakers at the opening session will include, the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the United States of America, Mr. Samuel Watson, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Minister Julia Duncan Cassell and the Co-Chair of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Sarah Toe.

NAYMOTE’s Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo further noted that after the weeklong training his institution will partner with Coalition of Political Parties Women in Liberia (COPPWIL) to host 10 citizens engagement events across 10 electoral districts in Montserrado and Margibi to find out what issues are most important to voters as well as host mock campaign events for graduates in the 10 electoral districts to improve their public speaking skills before the actual campaign period.

Mr. Jarwolo said his institution look forward working with COPPWIL to setup a ‘National Women Campaign Coordinating Team’ which will be responsible for fundraising, directing and supporting all women candidates across parties lines during the elections period.

Naymote Partners for Democratic Development is a good governance and research institution working to promote democracy and participatory governance in Liberia. Established in 2001, the institution has been one of the leading grassroots organizations promoting democracy, peace building, human rights and civic engagement in Liberia. It’s the organizer of the Young Political Leadership School based in Liberia

The United Nations Mission in Liberia Quick Impact Project support is the supporter of this program.

(Edited by Fredrick P. W. Gaye)

 

 

 

COC Row Rolls: Ellen’s Misstep? -Qualification Crisis Greets Ombudsman

By: Lewis K. Glay  /  0886469835/lglay.inprofile@gmail.com.

 

  “Massquoi was issuing UP batches and other campaign materials to people when he was Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization during campaign time for the 2011 elections.”

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, presumably wanting a close on the argument on the controversial ‘Code of Conduct’ now being made by the Supreme Court of Liberia as a law binding on Liberians, seems to have slipped in her judgment in naming appropriate team members of the office of the Ombudsman released on Monday, April 3, 2017.

Already, the wave of public criticisms over the appointments of members of the Ombudsman Team has compelled the President to rescind the nomination of Atty. Massa Jallabah due to her age limit which is said to be a qualification deficiency, coupled with her alleged inexperience to occupy such critical position that has very significant bearing on the pending 2017 elections.

It also appears that the wrong judgment of the President points to the appointment of the Chairperson of Ombudsman Team, former LNP Director Chris Clarence Massaquoi, who most recently was admitted into the Liberian Bar Association as Counselor of the Liberian Judicial System.

Critics have claimed that Cllr. Massaquoi is still inexperienced to handle judgments expected to arise from cases coming from complaints the Code of Conduct would prick against would-be violators.

Moreover, it is not only Massaquoi’s  alleged inexperience in the legal profession for such a delicate duty, but he has been branded as being ‘unreliable’ to pass fair judgment due to his link to Ellen Cockrum’s imbroglio  which  brought the Ellen-led administration into public dispute, coupled with his alleged bad ‘administrative practice’ at the Liberia National Police over the years.

In many political gatherings, Massaquoi is still known to be a staunch member of the ruling Unity Party whose Vice President Joseph N. Boakai is a strong contender for the presidency during the pending elections. As one observer noted, “Massquoi was issuing UP batches and other campaign materials to people when he was Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization during campaign time for the 2011 elections.”

Another member of the Ombudsman Team, Atty Edward Dillon, is not off the hook of suspicion as critics focus the make-up of the team by President Sirleaf. Dillon is linked to a close tie with Cllr. Charles Brumskine who is political leader of the Liberty Party, a party President Sirleaf is being alleged of supporting for the 2017 presidency, even though this is yet to be proven.

Atty. Dillon is also seen as having a strong connection with the Liberty Party on grounds that his brother- Darius Dillon is an influential partisan of the LP; however, it is not established  the kind of correlation  to justify such claim.

Accordingly, Section 5.1 of the contentious Code of Conduct termed as an act on political participation dictates that  “all presidential” appointees such as ministers and other public officials, including those in tenure positions desirous of contesting for elected offices must resign two and three years respectively prior to elections.”

As  it stands, three opposition political  parties- Liberty Party, Movement for Economic Empowerment and Alternative National Congress whose contenders are seemed to be in violation of the Code of Conduct are fiercely resisting the legality or lawfulness of COC to bar their would-be candidates  from participating in the pending elections.

However, opinions are divided over the Code of Conduct row, as there are some Liberians who support the enforcement of the law while others have argued that the law only targets certain potential would-be candidates in the elections.

Meantime, the wave of reactions from the public including that from the House of Representatives as quoted in the News Newspaper on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, following the release of the names of members of the Ombudsman office, appears to create deepened concerns as to how and when the legal fray would be laid to rest before the conduct of the pending elections.

ECC Wants Code Of Conduct Section 5.2 Amended

By Mafanta Kromah

The Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) is calling on the National Legislature to amend Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct and also called for a national conference to look at the modality in the implementation of the Code of Conduct particularly around Section 5.2.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday March 5, 2017 at the ECC office on 16th Street Sinkor in Monrovia, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the ECC, Oscar Bloh, noted that ECC respects the opinion of the Supreme Court regarding the legality of the Code of Conduct.
However, Bloh said the ECC is making the call “given the country’s history of political and socio-economic exclusion and in the spirit of consolidating the democracy and increasing citizens participation as well as strengthening the constitutional provision of all persons being equal before the law (Article 11c) and equal opportunity for work (Article 18).”
He stressed that the Government should conduct a national conference with all stakeholders from all sectors including the three branches of government, various embassies, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and all political parties to discuss the implementation of Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct.
In the same development, Bloh expressed the Committee’s concerns over the appointment of certain individuals by the President to enforce the implementation of the Code of Conduct.
He maintained that the Code of Conduct falls short of stating the qualifications, competencies, experience and tenure of individuals to run the office of the Ombudsman and how they can be removed.
Recently, the President issued Executive Order Number 83; she also appointed Christian Massaquoi, who has headed several security positions in the current government and is considered to be one of the president confidantes, as member of the office of the Ombudsman.
Atty. Edward Dillon, another appointee is said to be in close relationship with the Liberty Party and also said to have word in the office of the Brumskine & Associates/Pierre, Tweh & Associate Law Firm when the Ombudsman is an independent autonomous body in keeping with Section 12.1 of the Code of Conduct.
Chairman Bloh affirmed that Section 4 of the Executive Order gives additional power to the office of the Ombudsman that is not prescribed in the Code of Conduct (Section 12.2) formulated in keeping with Article 90 (c) of the Liberian Constitution, noting the additional power includes the ability to investigate on its own initiative violation of the Code of Conduct.
Based on the said information on the two individuals, Bloh said the ruling establishment and to an opposition party undermine the “spirit and intent of the independence of the office of the Ombudsman, therefore they are not the most suitable Liberians to occupy these positions.”
“Given the sensitive nature of the implementation of Section 5.1 and 5.2 of the code of Conduct and their implications for the peace and security of the country during electoral process, we call on the president to withdraw or recall the appointed names mentioned above and undertake a wider consultative process with diverse stakeholders in nominating names to fill the office of the Ombudsman. If our call is not considered, we urge the Senate not to confirm them for same reasons provided above,” Oscar Bloh, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee, indicated.
The Election Coordinating Committee is a non-partisan professional network of civil society organizations that mentors documents and report on election issues to promote transparency and accountability in the democratic process. The election work of the ECC is conducted in Partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

LADA Offers US$85K Grant To Two Agriculture Institutions

The Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA) on Tuesday provided a grant of US$85,000 to the Joan Agriculture Center and Bravo Sister Enterprise.

LADA is an international non-governmental organization that is working with smallholder farmers through private sector investment in the agriculture sector in the Country in order to increase their income and to boost the sector.

Bravo Sister Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Wedour Emily David signed for her entity  and   Joan Williams Chief Executive Officer of the  Joan Agriculture Center  signed  for her entity while  LADA Chief of Party Daniel Gies  signed for his entity.

Speaking to reporters following the signing ceremony, Bravo Sister Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Madam Wedour Emily David lauded LADA for the grant.

She said LADA will pay fifty percent of the $75.000.00 grant  while her entity will pay the balance fifty percent.

She said her entity, “Bravo Sister Enterprise” with over 300 employees is evolved in cassava and corn processing, gari processing, Fufu dust processing ECT and is being sold in various super markets, shops.

According to her, with the grant her entity is now empowered to train more Liberians most especially females to encourage in the business and used the occasion to call on Liberians to develop interest in agriculture for the growth and development of Liberia.

Also speaking the Joan Williams Chief Executive Officer of the Joan Agriculture Center who received a grant of US$ 10,000.00 congratulated LADA   for their kind gesture and noted that the grant will boost her agro dealers’ initiative.

Madam Williams in a joyous moon explained that out of the US$ 10,000.00 her organization will pay US$5.000.00 while LADA will pay the remaining US$5.000.00

She said agro dealers business which  she is evolved  in the sale of farming equipment , including fertilizers and  other  agriculture  supplies has improved  as  she has opened another office in Ganta City Nimba County.

Expressing her thanks and appreciation to LADA, the Joan Agriculture Center Chief Executive Officer noted that the grant will be wisely used for its intended purpose.

LADA Chief of Party Mr. Daniel Gies  lauded Joan Agriculture Center and Bravo Sister Enterprise  for their patient  and commitment  and  said that LADA  will continue to  mobilize  private  input suppliers ,agro dealers and aggregators around organized  producer groups.

Mr. Gies also said that LADA   will increase the use of quality agricultural inputs and technologies and ultimately increase smallholders’ fat5rmers incomes.

He said that LADA has identified for its value chain rice, cassava and vegetable but will also focus on the Government of Liberia priorities for the agricultural development.

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.