The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prof. David John Francis on Thursday 3rd June, 2021 held maiden Consultative meeting with Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Organization at the Ministry’s main Conference Hall, Tower Hill, Freetown.
In his statement, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon Ibrahim Ben Kargbo expressed gratitude to the Management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for working collaboratively with the Committee.
He emphasized that the relationship between the Ministry and the Committee over the years has been excellent, productive, frank and insightful that whenever they meet, they extended good rapport. He expressed hope that the relationship would continue to improve.
The Committee Chairman gave a brief synopsis about the Committee’s work which among others include, oversight of the constitutional mandate of the ministry, treaty obligation, prudent management of resources such as advocacy for increase in the budgetary allocation to the Ministry, monitoring the ratification of Agreements signed by the Minister, appointment of Consuls and the operations of Sierra Leone’s new embassies abroad.
In his response, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David John Francis thanked the Honourable Members for agreeing to be hosted at the Ministry stating that, the purpose of the meeting was to reassure the Committee that the remarkable collaborative relationship between the new leadership of the Ministry and the Committee would continue to be built upon, deepened and strengthened that collaboration and partnership.
Minister Prof. Francis furthered that the meeting a golden opportunity for him to present the new Foreign Policy shift and the strategic priorities going forward.
Speaking of the new shift which he brilliantly explained as Development Diplomacy as the national interest of the ‘New Direction’ Government, he said the new leadership brought two important and strategic opportunities into the new role, his wealth of experience as Chief Minister and the clear understanding of the operations of government across the board especially with the Foreign Ministry.
Dilating on where the country is, the Minister intimated that they assumed office at a time when the world was still faced with a devastating Global pandemic, (COVID-19) compounded with travel restriction, economic stagnation, donor reticence and unprecedented reduction in official development assistance.
Making a case for shift from Economic Diplomacy to Development Diplomacy, the Foreign Minister reiterated its importance stating that it would focused on development oriented diplomacy to achieve the country’s development agenda and that the strategic priority of the new shift is to position Sierra Leone as a middle income country.
In her closing statement, the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large, Mrs Florence Nyawa Bangalie thanked the Committee Members for their continued support to the Ministry and entreated them to maintain the momentum as they in the Foreign Ministry operates as a family of which the Committee is considered as integral part.
Present at the meeting were the Acting Deputy Directors General and Directors af the different directorates in the Ministry.