The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Alie Kabba has held an interactive meeting with residents and non-residents Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Representatives of United Nations System in Sierra Leone. The purpose of the meeting was for Diplomats and Ministry Officials to know each other, and for the Diplomats to be briefed on the New Direction priorities and work plan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the session is important as it strengthens bilateral and multilateral ties between member States. The meeting was held at the ministry’s conference hall, tower Hill in Freetown on 5th February, 2019. He informed the gathering that the New Direction Government of President Bio believes in fundamental principle of restoring the dignity of citizens and upholding the rule of law which are core principles of democracy. Government he said placed premium on economic diplomacy under the New Direction for Sierra Leone to become a favourable destination for business investment.
Dr. Kabba intimated the Diplomatic community on Government’s readiness to learn from history, and work to restore the glory of the country. He lamented that this can be achieved by strengthening institutions to function effectively, as well as to ensure that Government continued with programmes that were productive whilst improving on those with challenges in the past administration. Minister Kabba told the audience that the United Nations Security Council reform for Africa position on two permanent seats is a fundamental challenge that must be addressed. Government he said takes the issue of United Nations reform seriously, adding that the common Africa position is important to Sierra Leone as Coordinator of the Committee of Ten.
Minister Kabba outlined the eight core priorities of the New Direction as economy, agriculture, education, energy, fishery, tourism, infrastructure and health care. He explained the need for the economy to improve in order to uplift citizens from excruciating poverty. He expressed hope for development assistance in the area of expertise for large scale agricultural production of food especially rice which is the country’s staple food. Education is key for self-empowerment Dr. Kabba asserted. He stated that despite criticism from the certain quarters that the Free Quality Education promised was not going to be delivered by President Bio on assuming office, the promise has been delivered and on track. He encouraged development partners to support the Free Quality Education and other Government priorities.
Guy Warrington-British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone who represented the Dean of the Diplomatic Community in Sierra Leone encouraged non-resident Ambassadors and High Commissioners to open Embassies and High Commissions in Sierra Leone. He informed the gathering on the necessity of the dialogue, and thanked Minister Kabba for Government to uphold rule of law and democratic principles. He assured the Minister of his Government readiness to work with the Government of Sierra Leone to improve the economy and investment, as well as removed impendiments to investment in the country. He expressed the British Government commitment to support the Government in the areas of security, justice and rule of law.
The Kenya High Commissioner to Nigeria accredited to Sierra Leone Dr. Wilfred G. Machage also expressed intention on behalf of the Kenyan Government to partner with the Government of Sierra Leone in the areas of agriculture, tourism and the School of Diplomacy.
Sunil Silgal- Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Sierra Leone informed the audience that the UN system emphasis is on peace, security and development. He encouraged the Government to maintain a focus agenda on the National Development Plan. The National Development Plan is an opportunity for development in Sierra Leone, the UN Representative reiterated.