Europe Day 2024(Speech): Mrs Francess Piegie Alghali – Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE

Europe Day 2024: Mrs Francess Piegie Alghali – Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

H.E Ambassador Manuel Müller,

Excellencies

Ministers of Government,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Your Lordships,

Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,

Your Worship, the Mayor of Freetown,

Chairpersons and representatives of District Councils,

Representatives of the Civil Society and the fourth Estate, distinguished guests,

ladies and Gentlemen Good Evening.

On behalf of the Government and the People of Sierra Leone, I would like to express my appreciation to Team Europe led in-country by Ambassador Müller for his leadership and insightful remarks and to congratulate him on this day of celebration of EU Day. We are pleased that the European Union Delegation continues to foster cooperation and collaboration with the Government and People of Sierra Leone.

As today marks the commencement of the European Union-Sierra Leone Bus Tour, which would showcase a testimony of our enduring partnership. Team Europe’s support for Sierra Leone’s development initiatives underscores our collective determination to create a brighter future for all our citizens.

I commend the EU’s alignment for priorities with Sierra Leone’s National Medium Term Development Plan and the Big 5 Game Changers, reflecting a strategic approach to addressing our nation’s development aspirations. The EU’s focus on areas such as green transition, education, and good governance resonate with our commitment to sustainable growth and inclusive development. It is our hope that a platform will be created for sustaining, financing and monitoring the country’s development aspirations.

Additionally, Team Europe’s spotlight Initiative, aimed at combatting Sexual and Gender Based Violence, exemplifies our joint efforts to advance gender equality and empowerment of women in Sierra Leone. We are already seeing the fruit of the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Law, which has led to increased female representation in government and parliament.

The EU’s support for creating a conducive business climate and enhancing access to affordable loans for the private sector is pivotal for driving economic growth and job creation. Initiatives like Feed Salone demonstrate our shared vision for unlocking the immense potential of agricultural value chains and promoting entrepreneurship.

I also appreciate the EU’s recognition of the progress made in implementing the tripartite agreement on National Unity and its continued support for electoral reform and constitutional review processes. These efforts are crucial for strengthening democracy, upholding the rule of law, and fostering national unity.

As we celebrate Europe Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to multilateralism and the values enshrined in the UN Charter. While we also recognise that our partnership should not be based on paternalism but on mutual respect and equality.  Together, we can address global challenges, promote peace and security, and build a more prosperous and equitable world.

Let me conclude by inviting all of us to raise our glass and drink to the enduring friendship between Sierra Leone and Europe, and to the prosperity and well-being of our people. Happy Europe Day to all!

Thank you.