Is a new high way what Liberia needs now?
Liberia’s foreign minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan on Sunday said that Africa’s biggest trading partner, China would build a new coastal highway for Liberia as part of its aid to the country recovering from Ebola. This was made known by the minster while speaking at a news conference with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi who was visiting Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the countries hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic.
It is reported that before this offer, China had earlier been criticized for not doing enough to help fight Ebola. Due to these criticisms, China had to send hundreds of medical workers to Africa and contributed aid of more than $120 million to the anti-Ebola effort.
About 10672 cases and 4808 deaths have been recorded due to Ebola epidemic in Liberia. It has also been reported that about half of the survivors of the Ebola outbreak are facing chronic health conditions such as serious joint pain and eye inflammation, which can lead to blindness.
The big question now is- does Liberia need the new coastal highway China is planning to build when it has a pressing issue to tackle?
A country, which has been hit by its worst epidemic, will be in dire need of aid such as drugs, food, clothing and psychological therapy but China’s opinion is different. They want to spend money on the construction of a new coastal highway that will connect Liberia’s capital, Monrovia to the border with Ivory Coast through the port city of Buchanan. The port city of Buchanan is used for the export of resources such as iron and timber which China is interested in.
One can say this is a sign that the Chinese government is trying to use Ebola aid to achieve its selfish goals, which includes hoarding of Mineral resources. This can be seen as another move in exploiting Africa. But how long will Africa sit back and allow this to continue? The Liberian government needs to be very careful with the kind of aid it is accepting from the western world and China so as not to remain highly indebted to them.