The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Alie Kabba told Diplomats and other dignitaries that the government of President Dr Julius Maada Bio is strongly committed to advancing gender equality, including the empowerment and protection of women and girls. He made this statement at the occasion of the celebration of Ireland’s National Day, St. Patrick’s Day reception at the Irish Embassy on Spur Road, Freetown on Thursday 14th March, 2019.
The Hon. Minister told the gathering that, his government is appreciative of the massive assistance provided by the Irish government over the years especially in the areas of gender, good governance, human rights and food security. He also stated that the ‘New Direction’ government appreciated the President of Ireland, President Michael Higgins’s expressed interest and affection for the Africa continent and for his high regard for President Bio in his commitment to empower women and girls in Sierra Leone.
Dr Kabba recalled that during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, he was opportune to hold several high-level meetings for the strengthening of the bilateral ties between Sierra Leone and Ireland; adding that the depth of partnership between the two countries is a shining example of how international cooperation is all about.
Minister Kabba said President Bio’s government welcomed the expressed desire of the government of Ireland to work with them in their new Mission Strategy and its objectives on gender, education, nutrition and governance.
These sectors, Minister Kabba said reflected the core priorities of the ‘New Direction’ stating one of the usual reminders of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, that they should be focused on an inclusive governance and inclusive development by leaving no one behind.
He said the medium-term National Development Plan for 2019-2023 which was recently launched, outlined the vision of the ‘New Direction’ government and also underscored the determination and commitment of the President Bio led government to transform the country from a fragile state into a stable and prosperous nation.
Minister Kabba concluded his statement by commending Her Excellency, Ambassador Catherine Campbell for her tireless efforts in maintaining the strong relationship between the two governments and people and also registered his appreciation on behalf of the President and people of Sierra Leone for the Cotton Tree’s inclusion in the Global Greening initiative.
He said the inclusion will highlight the country’s huge potential as a wonderland for tourists across Irish and international media.
Welcoming the guests earlier, Her Excellency Catherine Campbell, Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone expressed delight and warm greetings from President Michael Higgins of Ireland to all Irish nationals worldwide and other nationals for celebrating with them on their National Day, St. Patrick’s Day.
She thanked the Hon. Minister of Foreign affairs and International Cooperation for gracing the occasion with them adding that during the Minister’s visit to Ireland, he met with President Higgins who spoke of his interest and affection for Africa.
Ambassador Campbell said the Minister’s engagements with his Ireland counterpart, Parliamentarians and NGOs working in Sierra Leone reaffirmed Ireland’s absolute commitment to the bilateral relationship between Sierra Leone and Ireland.
She informed the gathering of the visit of Ruairi de Burca, Ireland’s Director General of the Development Cooperation and Africa Division to Sierra Leone and Liberia next week.
The visit he said is timely as Sierra Leone has recently launched the National Development Plan which was launched on the same date with Ireland’s New Policy for International Development, ‘A Better World’ in Dublin.
Her Excellency said Ireland welcomed the National Deployment Plan for its focus on human capital and looked forward to working with the Government of Sierra Leone and other partners through their new Mission Strategy and objectives for gender, education, nutrition and governance.
She said their Mission Strategy emphasized on their pledge to Sustainable Development Goals, with four priorities: gender equality, reducing humanitarian need, climate action and strengthening governance and that it confirmed Ireland’s commitment to reaching expenditure on Overseas Development Assistance of 0.7% of GNI by 2030.
Speaking on their culture, Ambassador Campbell said Ireland’s culture has always been an important vehicle for their identity as people and that they took it with them around the world in the form of songs and music, drama and dance, poetry, stories and memory.
She said their culture is hugely part of their celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and that it continues to enrich and inspire them.