Feature: Sierra Leoneans heap praise on China for aided projects

Updated: March 4, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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FREETOWN, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The road linking the towns of Regent and Kossoh to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, used to be nicknamed "death trap" due to its muddy surface and sharp incline.

That has been a thing of the past after the road was reconstructed with the help of the Chinese government in 2014.

"The new road is wider, the incline is not as slippery as it was before, gradual in descent, it has become a much safer road for commuters," said Alfred Kamara, a resident in Freetown.

The road now bears a new name -- the China-Sierra Leone Friendship Road, which has been widely recognized by locals.

According to China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG), the contractor, over the past ten years, the signature China-aided project road has not only improved the traffic conditions on the outskirts of Freetown but also spurred economic development of the towns along the route.

"We have been committed to improving the livelihoods of our Sierra Leoean brothers and sisters since the first day we entered the market," said Kan Yadong, a manager of the CRSG.

The diplomatic relationship between China and Sierra Leone has spanned over 50 years, during which the Chinese side has aided various projects in the West African country from roads to bridges, of which many have become landmarks in Freetown and other cities.

The Youyi building in Freetown, aided by the Chinese in the 1970s, still serves as the country's government office. "Youyi" means friendship in Chinese, and it has become an old phrase in Sierra Leone that almost everyone can pronounce because of the building's popularity.

"The building is a testament to the long-lasting friendship between the two countries," said Francis Odwyer, a 53-year-old resident.

The China-aided Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital, another building bearing the word "friendship," is widely labeled as one of the best comprehensive hospitals in the country.

The hospital hosts the Chinese medical teams dispatched by the Chinese government, which consist of top-notch medical specialists in different fields. In the face of health emergencies such as Ebola and COVID-19, it was the Chinese doctors who joined hand in hand with their local counterparts to help the country weather the storm.

Every year, more than 20,000 local patients receive medical treatment from Chinese doctors in the hospital.

Sarah Conth, president of the Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital, said the help from the Chinese government and the medical team has been tremendous. "We are hopeful that this cooperation will strengthen and will get more and more for each other."

Editor: Li Shimeng