Sierra Leone’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Hon. Dr. Alie Kabba had called on the Government of Belgium to establish a full diplomatic mission with consular services in Sierra Leone. Dr. Kabba made this plea at his tower Hill office in Freetown, on Wednesday, 20th March, 2019 during a farewell courtesy call by the outgoing Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Liberia, His Excellency Hugues Chantry.
The Hon. Minister in his welcome address commended the outgoing Ambassador for his amazing work in strengthening the ties between Sierra Leone and Belgium during his tenure adding that, his stay as an Ambassador to Sierra Leone demonstrated the historical ties enjoyed by the two countries.
Speaking on Belgium’s support to Sierra Leone, Hon. Minister Kabba said the government and people of Sierra Leone have enjoyed tremendous support from Belgium particularly during the deadly Ebola era and the Mudslide incident. He added that, Belgium has been rendering consistence supports to the country’s development priority areas.
The Minister called on the Government of Belgium to maintain and sustain its supports especially on the just launched medium term National Development Plan, which focused on diversifying the nation’s economy through Agriculture, Tourism, Fisheries and Marine Resources etc with the aim of creating an enabling environment to attract trade and investment.
Explaining about the progress of the establishment of the country’s Foreign Service Academy, the Minister informed Ambassador Chantry that work will soon commence and that his Ministry is looking forward to strengthen the cooperation with Belgium’s Foreign Ministry in terms of the curriculum, assist in the designing of the structure of the Academy and help in ways of getting some institutional linkages that will strengthen the institution.
He said the establishment of the Academy is not only for the benefit of the country but will also serve as a corridor to help the region in boosting its capacity in the world of diplomatic training.
Hon. Dr Kabba expressed hope that the Foreign Service Academy will go a long way for the country to deepen the bilateral and multilateral engagement to develop a world view that will guide its work as a responsible state actor in the international system.
He informed the Ambassador that, His Excellency Brigadier Julius Maada Bio had made it very clear that, his government is going to pursue a robust Foreign Policy that will focus on a high degree of professionalism in building the country’s capacity in order to navigate into the international system.
“Training opportunities are pivotal in achieving this goal. So I hope you are going to take this message home, that we need to strengthen the institutional linkage between the two Foreign Ministries.” Minister Kabba told Ambassador Chantry.
In his farewell speech, His Excellency Ambassador Huhues Chantry talked about the excellent cooperation he received from the government and people of Sierra Leone during his tenure as Ambassador, expressing hope that such cooperation will be given to his designate Successor.
He said the choice made by his Prime Minister is good as his successor was the African Counselor to the Prime Minister of Belgium.
He assured the Hon. Minister of Foreign Minister that, his successor who will commence work in August after presenting his credentials will work with the Government of Sierra Leone and Ministry of Foreign Affairs with plans such as the training of diplomats.