Hon. Professor David J. Francis was appointed on 30th April 2021 by H. E. the President, Brig. Gen. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation.
Before he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Francis served as the first Chief Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone since May 2018. As Chief Minister, he served as one of the Principal Advisers to the President. He was responsible for the supervision, monitoring, coordination and performance management of 28 Ministries of the Government of Sierra Leone. As a Senior Cabinet Minister, the Chief Minister served as a member of the National Security Council; National Defence Council; member of the Economic Management Team; the National Investment Board, member of Cabinet Sub-Committees and member of the Presidential Task Force of COVID 19 National Preparedness and Response.
As Chief Minister, Professor Francis provided strategic policy leadership for the following Parliamentary legislative bills for key government agencies such as the Independent Commission for Peace & National Cohesion and the National Disaster Management Agency. As Chief Minister, Professor Francis set up and chaired several cross-cutting Inter-Ministerial Governance-related Committees and chaired many Governance/Security-related Presidential Task Force Committees. In this capacity as Chief Minister, Professor Francis chaired and led several high-level Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) negotiation processes with international, multilateral and private sector agencies and institutions. As part of supervising GoSL Ministries, Professor Francis organized high-level GoSL Cabinet Retreats, including the first-ever political and administrative interface retreat. This retreat brought together Cabinet Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and government Heads of Agencies, Parastatals, Commissions and State-owned Enterprises. As Chief Minister, Professor Francis worked closely with the House of Parliament and the Government-SLPP Parliamentary Leadership and opposition parties to facilitate government legislative bills and programmes.
Professor Francis was also appointed in April 2018 by President Bio as chairman of the Governance Transition Team of the New Direction SLPP Government. In this capacity, Professor Francis attained national and international prominence for effectively leading the Governance Transition Team. Moreover, the submission of the Governance Transition Team Report recommended, amongst other things, the establishment of a Judge-led Commission of Inquiry to investigate the state of governance of the previous APC administration.
In April 2018, H. E. President Julius Maada Bio designated Professor Francis as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation to represent the country in the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting (CHOGM) / Commonwealth Summit in London, 18 – 20 April 2018 and the state visit to the State of Qatar from the 21- 23 April of 2018.
Before joining Government, Professor Francis was the Head of the world-renowned Department of Peace Studies & Director of the John & Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. He served as Commissioner for the UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. Also, he held the UNESCO Chair of African Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Bradford. Professor Francis held a Research Professorial Chair in African Peace and Conflict Studies, the first-ever to be established at a leading UK University. He has a PhD degree from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom; Diploma in Law, Development and Social Justice from the Institute of Social Studies, from the Hague, The Netherlands; Diploma in Human Rights from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Lund University, Sweden, and BA (Hons) from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.
Professor Francis has published ten books and more than fifty journal articles, book chapters and commissioned-policy papers. Some of his published works include Peace, Democracy & Development in Africa Adonis & Abbey Publishers: London, July 2020 (Ed); African Peace Militaries: War, Peace & Democratic Governance, Routledge, 2016 (Ed.); When War Ends in Africa: building peace in divided communities. Ashgate: May 2012 (Ed); Policing in Africa. Palgrave /Macmillan, April 2012 (Ed); US Strategy in Africa: AFRICOM, Terrorism and Security Challenges. Routledge, Feb. 2010 (Ed); Peace and Conflict in Africa (Ed.) London: Zed Books, September 2008 (Translated into Arabic in May 2010 by the Egypt-based Arabic Translation Institute); Uniting Africa: Building Regional Security Systems, Aldershot: Ashgate January 2006; Dangers of Co-deployment: UN Cooperative Peacekeeping in Africa (Ed.) Ashgate, 2005; The Politics of Economic Regionalism: Sierra Leone in ECOWAS Ashgate, 2001.
As a distinguished international academic, senior policy adviser, and consultant for more than 25 years, Professor Francis successfully supervised six doctoral completions, 14 Ph.D./Doctoral External Examinations in the UK, Europe, North America, and Africa, as well as more than 50 Master’s dissertation supervision. Professor Francis has served as a consultant consulted for numerous Governments, intergovernmental agencies (EU & Commonwealth), and vital UN agencies (UNAMSIL Sierra Leone, UNMIL Liberia, UNESCO on Peace Education, UNDP on Infrastructure for Peace, UNHCR on Internally Displaced Persons in Liberia); ECOWAS (ECOWAS Early Warning Mechanism & National Early Warning System); African Union (African Peer Review Mechanism & the AU Post-Conflict Reconstruction & Development).