Liberian President George Weah talks to Chinese media in his office in capital Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 21, 2018. Liberia is ready to align its "pro-poor agenda," the national development strategy, with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Liberian President George Weah has said. (Xinhua/Sherif Amzat)
by Guo Jun and Olatunji Saliu
MONROVIA, Liberia, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Liberia is ready to align its "pro-poor agenda," the national development strategy, with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Liberian President George Weah has said.
Talking to Xinhua in his office in capital Monrovia, the president said Liberia will seek development opportunities at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit to be held in Beijing on Sept. 3-4.
Weah will attend the summit for the first time as the head of state.
"We believe that with China we can achieve our goals," the footballer-turned-president said, calling China "one of Liberia's biggest partners" and describing Liberia's relationship with China as a "a win-win situation."
Shortly after winning the 2017 presidential election, Weah said his government will make efforts to enhance road connectivity, agriculture and education.
"Our need is roads ... With building roads to connect the country, Liberia can get back on foot," he said.
He said China is involved in infrastructure projects in Liberia, such as the construction of roads. "If you look at most of our infrastructure, like the roads, they are being built by Chinese companies. This is one of the ways that China is helping," the president said.
Weah said his government is currently in talks with some Chinese enterprises which want to invest in agriculture in Liberia.
"If we can improve agriculture for our people ... it can help us bring growth to our economy. This is why agriculture is one of our main priorities," he added.
Besides combating corruption and reducing illiteracy, Weah has put creating jobs, improving infrastructure and raising people's living standards high on the agenda of his presidency. To achieve these goals, the "pro-poor agenda" has been launched.
Weah said he expects China to support the agenda, especially to provide assistance for the youth.
"When you have a friend, you cannot forget your friend ... China has a bond with Liberia. That relationship cannot be forgotten. We want to strengthen it," Weah said.
The president thanked China particularly for providing much-needed aid to Liberia during the Ebola outbreak between 2014 and 2015.
"During our dark days of Ebola, China was the first country to play a part," he said, referring to the Chinese government sending army doctors and medical equipment. China also built a treatment center in Liberia.