Statement Delivered by Minister at the Launch of the 1st “All Protocols Observed” Handbook

Launching of the Book "All Protocols Observed

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation


Launching of the Book “All Protocols Observed: A Handbook on Protocol Practices and Procedures’’


November 24th 2020

Minister’s Statement

Mr. Chairman,

Ministers of Government present


Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


I am deeply honoured to be here this evening to launch the book: ‘’All Protocols Observed: A Handbook on Protocol Practices and Procedures’’ written by one of Sierra Leone’s finest diplomats, Ambassador Soulay B. Daramy.

As the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone I am particularly pleased that a product of our esteemed institution, has achieved this great success not only for himself and immediate family members, but for the entire nation.

My greatest joy however, stems from the fact that Government officials and the general public now have a reliable contextual reference point whenever questions on the observation of Protocol arises. As Ambassador Daramy expertly stated in his book, to overserve protocol is to follow the rules. But without knowledge of the rules that apply at every stage and at every given occasion, observing all standard protocols is always challenged.

Each and every one of us may have erred in one way or the other regarding the application of Protocol Rules in its strictest sense. Whilst a few of the errors maybe due to blatant violation by some members of the public, most Protocol Rules have been found to be violated due to sheer lack of knowledge of the practices and procedures that should be observed and followed at each given time.  

However, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we cannot continue to disregard the undesirable consequences of substituting standard protocols with unconventional practices and therefore, we should endeavour to correct and rectify those aspects of our engagement which may not conform with the standards laid out for which etiquettes and general comportment are also central.

It is therefore my ardent desire that this expertly written guide will fill those knowledge gaps and provide the much needed insight into the rules of protocols; where etiquettes are second nature, those rules which will trigger widespread public respect for protocol practices and procedures, and inspire everyone to adhere to those international standards and best practices for hosting events, welcoming guests of the state and conferring honour and reverence in a manner that will make all of us proud of our great nation.


Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

This book could not have been launched at a better time than now when Sierra Leone is heightening relations with the outside world and firming up its leadership in global governance. As we have seen in the past year, the country has received a number of high-profile guests and is expecting many more in the near future.

When international cooperation with other countries in trade, commerce, security, and other socioeconomic sectors is intensified as we have done as a government, it naturally attracts high-profile people to visit and experience what the country has to offer.

I am fully confident that in reference to governance, investment opportunities, tourism potentials, and even the warmth and hospitality of Sierra Leoneans, our guests would not be disappointed at all. But one area in which I have always demanded considerable improvement has been in the area of Protocol and Protocol Services. Even though this book is not by any means a panacea to the plethora of current challenges, I believe it is one huge step towards addressing some of the difficulties we encounter on a daily basis with following protocol rules.

On a personal note, I find Chapter 8 of Ambassador Daramy’s book the most compelling portion of the entire piece. On Page 97 and 98, Ambassador Daramy made an impressive attempt to elucidate the current social trend in political and technical governance across Africa and around the world, that has seen increased participation of women in public life at the highest level. The book recognized and highlighted some of the women who have occupied high-ranking and high-profile positions at national and international levels.

Ambassador Daramy, the stories of those women mentioned in your book are the same stories our government is working hard to live out for millions of our young girls in Sierra Leone. As His Excellency the President, Dr Julius Maada Bio continues to give the platform for deserving women to serve in senior positions, I hope this book will further inspire many more girls and young women to work towards meriting similar positions of honour in the future.

I now use this opportunity to call on all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to get copies of this book for members of their staff, as it will help them to gain the much-needed insight into the intricacies of Protocol Practices and Procedures.

Since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is the citadel of all protocol practices, I have directed the Director-General and Ambassador-at-Large to ensure that each and every member of our staff gets a copy of the book and READS it.

May I use this opportunity to thank Ambassador Soulay Daramy and all those Ambassadors and former senior staff members of the MFAIC who have willingly devoted hours to consistently train our staff on protocols and other relevant areas over the past 18 months. The guidance provided and knowledge shared has been and always will be appreciated. We look forward to formalising this relationship with the Foreign Service Academy.

Mr Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen

On my own behalf and on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone, let me conclude by thanking Ambassador Soulay Daramy for this wonderful contribution to the Human Capital Development aspirations of His Excellency the President of the Republic and Fountain of Honour, Brigadier Retired Dr Julius Maada Bio. This is indeed the work of a patriot. Ladies and Gentlemen, I think Ambassador Daramy deserves a round of thunderous applaud.

Without further ado, I have the singular honour to formally launch Sierra Leone’s Encyclopedia for Protocol Practices and Procedures ‘’All Protocols Observed’’ by Ambassador Soulay Daramy.

I thank you all for coming.





Statement Delivered by Minister at the Diplomatic and Consular Corps Reception held on November 28th 2019

Statement Delivered by Minister at the Diplomatic and Consular Corps Reception held on November 28th 2019

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Diplomatic and Consular Corps Reception

Sierra Lighthouse

November 28th 2019

Minister’s Statement

Honourable Ministers of Government;

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs;

Honourable Members of our noble Parliament;

Members of the diplomatic and consular corps;

The Deputy Director General and colleagues of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation;

Good evening!

Let me first of all join my strict but hard working Acting Director General to welcome you all to this reception which is the least my staff and I could do to show how much we appreciate the cordial working relationship that has existed between the Ministry and the diplomatic community in Sierra Leone.

Let me also use this opportunity to convey to you, warmest greetings from His Excellency the President, Dr. Julius Maada Bio, our Chief Diplomat.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen  

A good number of you here tonight are career diplomats and I am 100% positive that you are all very good at what you do. However, one of the many diplomats I admired was Colin Powell. Powell once defined diplomacy and I quote:  

‘’Diplomacy is listening to what the other guy needs. Preserving your own position, but listening to the other guy. You have to develop relationships with other people so when the tough times come, you can work together’’ end of quote.

My interaction with the diplomatic community both in Sierra Leone and abroad over the past six months have made me realize that Powell couldn’t have been more accurate in his characterization of the job that we do.

Everywhere we go as diplomats we listen to our partners, we try to establish and sustain relationships for dealing with bilateral as well as multilateral issues that confront us on a daily basis. But in doing all these things, we try not to lose the core value of who we are and what we stand for. Does this make us a unique specie in the socio-political ecosystem? I would proudly say yes!

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Tonight again, even though I plan to show you, for the first time, my dancing skills, I would first of all like to share with you some of the progress we have made as a Ministry and by extension as a Government in the past few months. I will also go a step further to give you an idea of what we intend to accomplish in the coming months.

Again, even though you already have positions and budgets lines that would not change because of this speech tonight, I am fully confident that you are going to listen closely to what I have to say and later in your respective management meetings you may consider working with us on some of these issues to achieve our shared goals and objectives. That’s diplomacy according to Colin Powell, isn’t it?

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

As I shared with you earlier this month during our diplomatic and consular corps meeting, Sierra Leone has been very active both at the bilateral and multilateral diplomatic fronts in the past few months. Following our participation in the OIC meetings in Jedda, and the UK investment forum, we have participated in several other multilateral engagements including the FOCAC follow up meeting in China, the TICAD conference in Japan, the UN High Level Political Forum in New York, the 74th Session of the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, the Russia Africa Summit in Russia, and recently the Paris Peace Forum in France among others.

On the side-lines of these multilateral engagements, we usually seize every opportunity to establish new bilateral relationships and deepen existing ones. The bilateral engagements in particular are beginning to yield fruits. We have signed several bilateral agreements with a host of countries in the areas of education, defence, trade and investment, agriculture, transportation and passports, to name but a few, and implementation is underway.

So from our MRU member states-Liberia, Guinea, Cote Divoire, to our brothers and sisters in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Morocco, Turkey, Kuwait, etc., be rest assured that Sierra Leone is fully committed to the implementation of these Joint Cooperation Agreements and we will continue to work together address issues of common global interest.

We look forward to the opening of our Embassies in a couple of countries within the coming months and some of our old friends have agreed to open their Embassies here in Freetown. On the diplomatic front therefore, even though we recognize that challenges remain, I strongly believe that we are on the right track.

Speaking of challenges, the greatest we have at this moment is with capacity. Currently the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is under-staffed by over 70%. Yes, the situation is that bad. I think I will have to invite my brother the Minister of Finance, Mr Saffa to a Financial Yoga Class so that together, we could learn how to master the art of balancing a lean wage bill, with the desperate need to provide adequate staff, to produce astounding results in service delivery.

Pretty sounds like a topic for a PhD thesis right? I think Proff. Sunil Saigal and Samuel Doe might be interested in providing supervisory support if anyone is interested in conducting a research around this topic. With all that UN capacity support experience and expertise, I believe they can do a great job in that field. 

But on a more serious note, weak absorptive capacity is probably the greatest threat to our drive as a government to transform this country into a middle income economy and we therefore crave support from you our friends to overcome this challenge.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

We do diplomacy not as an end in itself, rather we use it as a vehicle for socio-economic and political advancement of our respective nations. Since 2014 Sierra Leone’s economy has been in a free fall.

Since we took over governance in April 2018, we have instituted fiscal policies to control expenditure, reduce waste and clog leakages in the country’s monetary system. You all may agree with me that significant progress has been made as a result of these interventions.

For instance we have successfully rolled out our flagship program, the Free Quality Education Program with limited outside assistance; we have been able to continuously pay salaries of workers without recourse to bank overdrafts, and we continue to offset debts that the previous regime accumulated.

As a result of our prudent approach to public financial management and broad fiscal discipline, we have been able to once again restore faith and confidence in our partners, especially the IMF that our Government is a trusted partner in development.

However, we recognize that challenges remain. And as our President has stated in many of his public addresses, these are turbulent times. But with his determined leadership and commitment of ALL Sierra Leoneans, we will weather this storm and come out on the other side unscathed.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

I must state here that it gives me great joy and comfort that Sierra Leone’s remarkable strides in the areas of improved human rights especially for women and girls, the progress registered in democracy and inclusive governance, our indisputable benchmarks in justice sector reform and our robust fight against corruption, etc., have been finally recognized by the MCC. And my delight is not because of the monetary benefit that comes with this recognition, (yes we need the money as well.

I need to be careful not to annoy the Minister of Finance). But my joy stems mainly from the fact that this recognition has given all of us that extra impetus that we are doing some things right and we need to do more of the right things.

But let me assure you Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen that as a Government and a people, we won’t get intoxicated by this, because we recognize that a lot more needs to be done. This is why we will continue to implement and expand on our national cohesion, inclusive politics and sustainable development initiatives as outlined in our Medium Term National Development Plan.

Under the leadership of HE the President, we will also continue to enhance the enabling fiscal, infrastructural and policy environment for investment to thrive; clamp down on all forms of human rights violations especially against vulnerable members of our society; uphold the tenets of democracy and respect the rule of law; clamp down on traffickers of human beings by fully implementing the requisite legislations. Our fight against corruption, as the President has reiterated on several occasions, is going to be relentless. More importantly, we remain committed to sustainable environmental practices.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me close by sharing with you a few important things about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Each time we meet in receptions like this we crack jokes and laugh about all sorts of things and what you normally see is a composed Minister on the outside, without having any idea of the fire that is burning on the inside of me. Most times I just try to be a diplomat and that is why you are my friends, because I could only imagine what lies beneath all those beautiful smiles that greeted me this evening.

But friends I will be unusually blunt tonight. Diplomacy aside ladies and gentlemen, work has been very difficult. To be short-handed by over 70 percent in terms of staffing is a serious challenge for any entity, but the challenge is tenfold when we talk about a foreign ministry of an entire nation dealing with other countries who do not care so much of your manpower constraints because they have more important things they are grappling with themselves.

Desperate situations sometimes require desperate measures. We are currently working on a coping mechanism by restructuring the entire Ministry. We are basically collapsing some of the departments and strategically repositioning others to enhance efficient and coordinated functioning of the Ministry. This approach however is going to increase workload on individual staffs by 200% which can only be sustained in the short term until we get more competent staff in post.

The absence of a codified Foreign Policy for Sierra Leone has been another serious challenge to our work. This is why I am delighted to report here for the first time that we now have an advanced draft of our National Foreign Policy which will be validated in the coming weeks and subsequently launched. It is my fervent belief and hope that this policy will address most of the sticky points in the functioning of the Ministry both internally and with its numerous partners.

As part of our institutional strengthening drive, we are in advance discussions with some of you to build a functional communication infrastructure in the Ministry. Let’s face it, communication is the palm oil with which the yam of diplomacy is eaten. In ancient periods nations painstakingly endured cumbersome means to keep in constant touch with each other.

Today technology has made it a lot easier and our Ministry would like to take full advantage of the development in ICT to enhance the work we do. I believe that once we get this communication infrastructure up and running, the much loathed communication gap that often exist between the Ministry and the diplomatic and consular community, the Ministry and its overseas embassies; as well communication between the Ministry and other government institutions, will virtually become a thing of the past.

Speaking of communication between the Ministry and the diplomatic and consular community, let me use this opportunity to announce to you all that we have reached the decision to be meeting with you once every quarter. In the last meeting I think it was Ambassador Tom Vens who suggested that we need to run these meetings by specific themes that are relevant to our bilateral as well as multilateral cooperation. We have taken this suggestion as advised and we shall communicate the theme for our next meeting in due course. We are also open to suggestion of themes from you.

I have also asked my Personal Assistant and my Secretary to schedule all meetings with members of the diplomatic and consular corps on Thursday of every week. This does not however mean that I will be meeting with each one of you every Thursday of the week it just means that whenever you want to book an appointment to see me, Thursday is your best bet. However, for issues that require urgent attention, I am always at hand.

Once more I thank you all for coming!

Shukran, Gracias, shie shie, Tissikuler, Merci beaucoup Thank you.