China to build two dams in Sierre Leone


China is to build two hydro-electric dams in Sierre Leone as part of efforts to foster ties with the West African country.

Chinese ambassador Qiu Shaofang told reporters Sierra Leone‘s President Ernest Bai Koroma was due to make a state visit to China starting on Sunday to discuss bilateral ties and assistance, Reuters adds.

“Despite the current international economic downturn, China has promised not to reduce assistance to African countries, particularly Sierra Leone,” Qiu said.

The two dams would be built over three years in the northern city of Makeni, Koroma’s home base, and in Port Loko, 75 miles (120 km) from the capital Freetown.

Sierre Leone is seeking to put years of conflict behind it and attract investors.

China, which has seen its trade with Africa jump in recent years, has frequently offered help to African nations in building dams despite criticism from campaigners about their impact on the local environment.