MFAIC Press Office Freetown: Thursday 22nd August, 2019
The Governments of Sierra Leone and Japan on Thursday, 22nd August, 2019 signed an agreement on Technical Cooperation and Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer Programme at the Minister’s Conference Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Tower Hill, Freetown.
Welcoming the Japanese delegation, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. A-Hassan Kondeh reaffirmed the government of Sierra Leone’s commitment to deepening and strengthening the country’s bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Japan, other countries and development partners.
In his statement, the Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Sierra Leone resident in Ghana, His Excellency Tustonu Himeno said, he was delighted to sign on behalf of his government and people another important document which will further strengthen and deepen the good relationship between Japan and Sierra Leone in the area of Technical Cooperation.
Ambassador Himeno said the signing of the agreement is an indication of the Governments of Japan and Sierra Leone’s commitment to continuing to bind the good relationship between them.
He added that, Sierra Leone and Japan have been enjoying extensive good relationship, cooperation and collaboration in various development areas.
In her remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Nabeela Tunis, said the signing ceremony signaled the beginning of a much more robust relationship between the two countries.
The agreement which she said has received cabinet approval and Parliamentary ratification has two components: the Technical Cooperation and the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer Programme.
The Technical Cooperation component, Hon. Nabeela Tunis said will see Sierra Leone receiving at Japan’s expense, equipment, machinery and materials to enhance technical training and other forms of cooperation to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. On the Japan Overseas cooperation Volunteer Programme component, he said the country will be providing exemption fees on consular, taxes including customs duties and fiscal charges and import license for machinery and materials to be used in JICA operations in Sierra Leone.
As a government, Minister Tunis said, they are very keen to provide the enabling environment for development partners to thrive; adding that in as much as they are doing so, they are also very cautious as not to allow such facilities to be taken advantage of.
Minister Nabeela Tunis maintained that, as a government, they do believe that there is the responsibility of both parties to adhere to the components of the agreement and look forward to using it as a show of strengthening the bilateral ties between the two countries.
The signing of the Agreement, the Minister said, is a demonstration of the further deepening and strengthening of the excellent bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Sierra Leone she went on, signed the agreement as it is part of the Government of His Excellency Julius Maada Bio’s efforts to heighten the country’s economic diplomacy in its interaction with bilateral and development partners.
She said she is hopeful that upon signing the Agreement, both Sierra Leone and Japan will sit and discuss several other projects that will emanate from the Agreement.
Speaking on Japan’s development interventions in Sierra Leone, Minister Nabeela Tunis said, over the years, the two countries have enjoyed excellent bilateral ties on Economic and Technical cooperation in the fields of Japan Food Aid, power and water supply infrastructure, rural development. Human resource developments among others, she concluded.
The ceremony was climaxed by the signing of the said Agreement by the Hon. Minister and Japanese Ambassador. The ceremony was also witnessed by the Country Rep of JICA-SL and the Directors of Asia, Africa and Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.