The newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Prof. David J. Francis on Friday 7th May, 2021 held his maiden Engagement with members of the Diplomatic Corps in Sierra Leone at the Ministry’s main Conference Hall, Tower Hill, Freetown.
In her opening remarks, the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Madam Mamadi Gobeh Kamara expressed sincere appreciation to members of the Diplomatic Corp for honouring the invite in the spirit of good neighborliness, camaraderie and the friendship ties that have characterized the bond between Sierra Leone and the Diplomatic Corps.
The Deputy Minister commended the Diplomatic Missions in Sierra Loene for their immense contributions in the fight to combat the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Speaking on the issue of collaboration, Madam Mamadi Gobeh Kamara, echoed the enthralling essence for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to collaborate with the Diplomatic Community to share experience in various sectors.
She reaffirmed the importance of strengthening and deepening bilateral and multilateral relationship through enduring technical cooperation agreements and joint Commissions for Cooperation.
She concluded by assuring Members of the Diplomatic Corps of the cooperation of the new leadership at all times.
Speaking on the purpose of the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prof. David J. Francis, apprised the envoys about a new shift in Sierra Leone’s Foreign Policy approach from Economic Diplomacy to Development Diplomacy.
This change, he said, has come as a result of the global crisis and its impact on the ‘New Direction’ Government which required a fundamental shift in the Foreign Policy approach and diplomatic posture of Sierra Leone to strategically position the country to convert and leverage the global challenges into unique opportunities for the ‘New Direction’ Government.
The shift, Prof. Francis said is based on the simple fact that economic diplomacy is only one form of diplomacy which include among others public, political, military vaccine, health diplomacies, and that it is not an end in itself, but a mean to an end, that end being is development/sustainable development in all its forms.
He added that the shift to Development Diplomacy is motivated by an increasingly diminishing global appetite for development assistance and foreign aid. A trend he said that had been necessitated by donor promotion of the concept of Trading out of Poverty’ ; the global COVID-19 pandemic and the international economic and financial crisis and, the attendant devastating impact on foreign aid to least developed and low income countries.
The Minister emphasized that the Diplomacy posture aims at to achieving Sierra Leone’s Development priorities and aspirations outlined in the Mid-term National Development Plan; the Human Capital Development flagship programme and the SLPP People’s Manifesto Commitment and that at the core of the new Development Diplomacy, is also the primary focus on Trade & Investment in all of Sierra Leone’s bilateral and multilateral foreign relations and diplomatic exchanges.
This, he said would increase Foreign Direct Investments, improve exports and support the President’s flagship Human Capital Development flagship programme, the Mid-term National Development Plan and the SLPP Manifesto commitments.
The Foreign Minister maintained that, central to the new Development Diplomacy, Trade and Investment Foreign Policy approach, is the deliberate and purposive choice to transform the country’s economy and achieve Middle-Income development status by tapping into opportunities around the world that will support & increase mutually beneficial economic and development relations in the country’s diplomatic exchanges.
He said, as a strategic priority, the Trade & Investment Development Diplomacy would promote in-country beneficiation and value-addition in all trade and investments opportunities attracted into Sierra Leone.
Ideologically, he said the new Development Diplomacy is about national respect and pride, about empowerment and ownership of the country’s Foreign Policy and Development destiny.
He concluded that, in the quest for the new Development Diplomacy Foreign Policy approach, Sierra Leone would continue to promote and positively work with traditional diplomatic friends and relations, as well as new and emerging partners within the context of the new framework to the pursuit of Sierra Leone’s Permanent interests that would protect and preserve the core national values with a primary focus on development.
Adding that this way, Sierra Leone would build a strong and credible Partnership for Development in all of her diplomatic relations.
Head of Section Media and Public Relations Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
OAU Drive, Tower Hill, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Contact: +232 78 861 822/77 713 939