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The president of Guinea-Bissau is making a visit to Beijing

President Umaro Sissoco Embaló has embarked on his first official trip to China as the two nations mark 50 years of diplomatic relations
  • This is only the second visit to China by a head of state from Guinea-Bissau, with the first taken by the late João Bernardo ‘Nino’ Vieira in 2006

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UPDATED: 08 Jul 2024, 7:31 am

President Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea-Bissau arrives in Beijing on Tuesday for his first official visit to China, during which he will sign a general cooperation agreement between his country and China.

Officials expect to analyse “all aspects” of cooperation between the two countries over the course of the three-day visit, noting that China already has strong ties with Guinea-Bissau in the fields of infrastructure, education, health, agriculture, fisheries and defence. A diplomat from Guinea-Bissau remarked to Portuguese news agency Lusa that President Umaro Sissoco Embaló’s visit represents “a unique opportunity” to strengthen ties with one of the country’s main partners.

Sissoco Embaló will be accompanied by Carlos Pinto Pereira, his foreign minister, and General Biague Na Ntan, chief of the general staff of the armed forces. This marks only the second visit to China by a Bissau-Guinean head of state, with the first taken by the late João Bernardo ‘Nino’ Vieira in June 2006.

[See more: Guinea-Bissau is set to open a new photovoltaic plant]

Infrastructure is an area where China has contributed a great deal to Guinea-Bissau. The palaces of the government, justice and the parliament were built with Chinese cooperation, and China rebuilt the presidential palace, destroyed during the unrest of 1998 to 1999. China is currently constructing an 8.2-km-long highway between the international airport and Safim, the first in the country, at a cost of 13.6 million euros (US$14.7 million), and has financed renovations on the main fishing port, located in Bandim.

Until 2020, around 70 fishing vessels from private companies owned by Chinese ship owners were operating in the waters off Guinea-Bissau. A year earlier, China donated over 53,000 euros of farm equipment and food supplies, including 44 agricultural tractors and motor cultivators, over 20,000 bags of fertiliser and 50,000 bags of rice.

China also provides scholarships annually to the government of Guinea-Bissau, as well as training opportunities at Chinese universities for some of the best students in the country. It also provides doctors for multiple hospitals, as well as donations of medication and other medical supplies. 

UPDATED: 08 Jul 2024, 7:31 am

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