Liberia and a Chinese company signed Friday the first ever steel manufacturing agreement in the West African country in more than 169 years, heralding the end to the exportation of its rich unprocessed iron ores.
The $200 million agreement was signed between Tidfore Investment Company and the Liberian government that was represented by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Finance and Lands and Mines ministers iand other senior government officials.
Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yue and officials of the Chinese company were also present at the signing ceremony.
"This is the first boost to our economy," and "the first time our own local raw materials will reach the finish point and exported to other countries", Johnson Sirleaf said.
"The company made a commitment that the unskilled workers will be only Liberians and hope they will meet that commitment," she added.
According to the agreement, about 1,000 jobs will be provided to Liberians.
Zhang Yue, for his part, welcomed the agreement saying, “this investment should be kept as a young baby until it starts its full operation from the ground.
"This investment will bring so much relief in the economy sector of Liberia," he added.
Liberia is Africa’s third largest iron ore exporter after South Africa and Mauritania, and ranks 22 in the world.
By Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh in Monrovia, Liberia
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