Many jobless Liberians, especially photographers, have found new opportunities at the China-Liberia Friendship Park in Congo Town, Monrovia.
The park is a hotspot, with traders around the shoulders of the park while minivans with ice cream are stationed throughout. The park is one of many gifts from the People’s Republic of China, issued through the ChinAid program.
Built in 2016, the park has become an employment spot for photographers under the name Boulevard Photographers Association.
As early as 8 am on weekdays, photographers of the association assemble at the park, waiting for customers to visit for a commercial snapshot.
While others come to the park to take selfies or for leisure, the park attracts hundreds of people each day.
Elijah Kollie, a member, said over 50 professional photographers are part of the BPA. He added the economic situation, especially due to COVID-19, has led to photographers in Paynesville City having no choice but to go to the park every day.
“We have signed an MOU with the township, which allows us to take photographs for private individuals who come and need our services” Kollie said.
He added of the 50 members of the organization, only 25 are allowed each day to visit the park.
With many of the country”s scenic spots destroyed during the war years, the China-Liberia Friendship Park has provided a valuable service by giving visitors a space to enjoy the scenery on whatever occasion they choose.
The many different trade and aid policies being pursued by China globally have been heavily criticised but can developing countries become more independent or will China’s policy reform?