The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Dr. Alie Kabba and Japan Ambassador, His Excellency Tustonu Himeno, Tuesday, 26th February, 2019 signed the exchange of notes on Food Aid Programme between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Government of Japan.
Speaking at the signing ceremony which was held at the Minister’s Conference Room on the 5th Floor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Japanese Ambassador to Sierra Leone His Excellency, Tustonu Himeno said the signing of notes for the Food Aid Programme was appropriate as it would contribute to the ‘New Direction’s’ Flagship programme, (Free Quality Education) through their support to the school feeding programme.
He said, Japan has always been there to support Sierra Leone and that they will continue to support the country on the basis of the ‘New Direction” Government policies including the major flagships programmes of education, health, agriculture and infrastructure.
He said Sierra Leone and Japan are friends and that the two countries have been working together in a number of development programmes with JICA serving as the main vehicle for Japan’s development assistance to Sierra Leone.
His Excellency Tustonu Himeno recalled that, during the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the TICAD summit last year, Minister Kabba engaged his Japan counterpart and other government officials in the area of promoting more development programs in Sierra Leone.
This year’s TICAD Conference he said, would be very important as it will bring the two Presidents, their governments and people closer than before.
He assured that Japan will continue to support Sierra Leone in her development strides.
The Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Alie Kabba in his response, on behalf of His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, expressed deep appreciation for the historic ties the two countries have established since independence; noting the dept of bilateral relationships they have maintained.
He said the signing ceremony was a testament to that long history of engagement and that he was pleased to hear that JICA is looking at expanding its geographical operations.
He told the Ambassador that, under the ‘New Direction’, His Excellency, Brigadier Julius Maada Bio always emphasized on the need for his government officials to focus on an inclusive governance and development, which according to him means that, every part of the country should benefit from the ‘New Direction’s’ National Development plans.
Dr. Kabba said that, as a government, they appreciated the specific focus of Japan on the ‘New Direction’s’ major flagship programmes.
He said the government’s focus on the Free Quality Education was to ensure that they address not only the needs in the classrooms but to make sure that no child goes to school hungry and that all children should have access to the Free Quality Education.
Minister Kabba said Japan’s Government emphasis in supporting the Free Quality Education speaks volume to their commitment to the ‘New Direction’s’ National Development Plan that they are rolling out.
He further expressed appreciations to the Government of Japan for their focus on the country’s Agricultural sector, which is one of the pillars of the ‘New Direction’ National Development Plan.
He said their aim in promoting agriculture in the country is to achieve national food security. This he maintained was a goal set by His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio.
Minister kabba went on to state that he was confident that, they can count on Japan’s expertise to ensure that the country grows its own and invest in large scale agriculture in order to maximize the productivity of the country’s agricultural land.
He said this was in line with the Bio led government which wanted to make agriculture fashionable for the young people of this country.
Agriculture, Minister Kabba said, would elevate the people of this nation from poverty.
The ceremony was chaired by the Director General and Ambassador at Large of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Paul A.S.Minah