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EXCLUSIVE : International organizations write African Heads of State ahead of Malabo AU Summit

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Dear African Head of State,

Ref: Golden Opportunity at the 23rd African Union (AU) Heads of State Summit in Malabo,
Equatorial Guinea, 25 -27 June 2014: “To Keep Your Maputo Promise to End Hunger and Extreme
Poverty for Millions of Africans by 2024”

agriculture (600 x 400)

 

We are writing to you ahead of the historic 23rd AU Heads of State and Government Summit that will
take place in Malabo, from June 25-27, 2014 which will discuss how best Africa can address hunger
and agricultural stagnation on the continent in the next decade under the Comprehensive Africa
Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). In particular, we write to you as we are very
concerned about the over 400 million Africans who live below the poverty line (on less than a dollar
a day) and the over 200 million Africans that face hunger every day due to this stagnation.

Despite Africa’s vast agricultural potential, growing local demand for food, our continent has remained a net
importer of food for the last three decades. We believe your Malabo summit commemorating 2014
as the AU Year of Agriculture and Food Security can permanently change this condition. Thus, we
urge you and your peers to use this historic meeting to come up with a time bound plan that will
unlock the continent’s vast agricultural potential needed to free millions of people from extreme
poverty and hunger. We believe the current situation is not irreversible, as it is exacerbated by most African
governments’ failure to fulfil the 2003 AU Maputo declaration, i.e. the AU member states promise to
all commit at least 10% of their national budgets to agriculture and rural development. To date, only
13 out of 54 countries in the continent have kept that important promise with only 8 countries
sustaining the allocation. Starting from here at home, we strongly believe 2014 provides a unique
opportunity for you to lead practical efforts to end the trend of high levels of poverty, hunger and
malnutrition, and high food import bills faced by our continent.

Specifically, we are asking for your leadership in this agenda by mobilizing your peers at the summit
to keep the promise, recommit or continue to invest at least 10% of our national budgets to support
productivity of small holder agriculture. Over the past six months, following an initiative by ONE and
Oxfam with 29 famous African musicians, over two million petition signatures of African citn citizens
have been mobilised: Citizens who are appealing to you and other AU leaders to step up your
agriculture public investments, so that the 2014 AU Year of Agriculture is not mere rhetoric. Most
importantly, the millions of Africans who face grinding poverty are counting on you to commit to
agricultural investments that will make a lasting difference in their lives.

 

Since the day your government came into power, you committed yourself to finding effective
solutions to achieve food security and create jobs for all citizens. Investing in agriculture should be
the starting point as the sector has the greatest potential for creating inclusive economic growth,
improving food security and nutrition, and growing millions of jobs for Africa’s unemployed youth.

As you meet in Malabo, we humbly urge you and your peers to keep your promises to invest in
agriculture development that boost smallholder producer’s production, competitiveness and
resilience especially women producers.

Thus, the undersigned encourage you and other Heads of State that will gather in Malabo to adopt
the following recommendations to guide national level implementation and measurement of
progress:

1. AU Member States should adopt a target-based timeline towards reaching the AU 2003
promise to dedicate a minimum of 10% of the annual budget for agriculture and create a
mechanism for monitoring progress.

2. AU Member States should commit to making investments that increase the support for
small scale producers which include investments in hard infrastructure, technologies,
research, extension services, information services and end post-harvest losses.

3. AU Member States should commit to implementing quality focused agriculture budgets
and services that are clear and transparent to farmers and citizens.

4. AU Member States should adopt measures to eliminate the gender and youth gap with
respect to access to finance, land, technology, and training and extension services as
well as markets access.

5. AU Member States should adopt guiding principles on Large Scale Land Based
Investments that will strengthen land governance and security of tenure rights for small- scale producers and curb land grabs through the implementation of AU ‘Framework and
Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa’.

6. AU Member States should adopt a mechanism for mutual accountability and joint sector
reviews to account for progress in ending hunger within the CAADP result framework.

7. AU Member States should adopt measures to reduce barriers to domestic and intra- regional trade.

8. AU Member States should adopt measures to integrate sustainability and climate
resilience measures into national agriculture investment plans.

9. AU Member States should adopt mechanisms for preventing, managing and monitoring
the recurrent food and nutrition crisis

10. AU Member States should adopt measures to ensure policy making under CAADP is
inclusive, effective, transparent, mutually accountable, and participatory.
If measures to support the 10 recommendations are adopted, we expect the following benefits for
Africa by 2025:  Boosted yields for small holder farmers and a reduced food import bill which currently
stands at about $25 billion annually.  Increased food availability for the 265 million Africans who are under-nourished.  Increased intra-Africa trade benefits, estimated to reach $2 trillion by 2030.  Increased incomes for farming families through reduced post-harvest loss which is today at
$48 billion a year.  Increase food production and agro-processing can provide millions of jobs for African youth.  Through bold policies and large investments in Agriculture, the rising continent can rise with
its people.

 

Please be the champion to end poverty in our continent.

International Non-Government
Organisations

ACORD
ActionAid
Campaign2015+ International
CCPA
Centre for Literacy and
Community Development
CIDI
CILONG
CISCOPE
CKS
CNCPRT
COMPAS
Concern Universal
COPAGEN
Groundswell
ImageAd
International Alliance of Women
ONE/ Do Agric It Pays Campaign
Oxfam/ Grow Campaign
RBM
VSO
African Regional Farmers
Organisations
CONSEDI
ESAFF
POSCAO
PROPAC
ROPPA
WASERA
West Nile Rural Development
Agency
African Civil Society
Organisations
ABN – African Biodiversity
Network
AFRICRES
AFSA
CEMIRIDE
PELUM
SEATINI
WILDAF
Women’s Rights Action Group
Nigeria
World Rural Forum – IYFF-2014
National Farmers Organisations
AJM – Mali
AOPP
APCAM – Mali
APDEC Mauritanie
APESS
ASSAPIN
ASSAPIN
CABE
CAPAD
CNOP
COFERSA Mali
CONADES – Mauritania
Confédération nationale de la
pêche artisanale au Maroc
Confederation paysanne du Faso
COPAGEN Sénégal
CRAFS
FOWODE
Les Compagnons Ruraux
MALIMARK
MOBIOM – Mali
NACOFAG
NANTS
ONGADPH Mauritania
PAIVA-B/FIDA
PARSE Burundi
PARSE/FIDA
PASCiB
PCFS Burundi
ROSA – Mauritania
ROSSAD Burkina Faso
The Uganda farmers common
voice platform
UNFFE
National Civil Society
Organisations
Action Dev – Mauritania
ActionAid Ethiopia
ActionAid Ghana
ActionAid Kenya
ActionAid Nigeria
ActionAid Rwanda
ActionAid Uganda
ADRA – Ghana
AFE – Mauritania
Association Tubane de Gikuzi
CAFO – Mali
CAFSO-WRAG for Development
CCEPE
CISANET
Civil Society Coalition on
Migration and Development – Nigeria
CNONGD
Counterpart International
Mauritania
CSN
CTDT
ECASARD
ENVIRUMEDIC
FAHAMU
FOS – Mali
Fresh & Young Brains
Development Initiative
Friends of the nation
Fundação Micaia
GPAf
HRCI
Inades-Formation Côte d’Ivoire
Inades-Formation Tchad
INOFO
IPAR
IRTECO
KENAFF
Labour, Health and HumanRights Development Centre
Les Amis de la Terre-Togo
Lira NGO Forum
MAUDESCO
OMPDEP
OPACC
REPSFCO – Mali
RODEM
SEATINI – Uganda
SEND-GHANA
SODANN
Teso Initiative for Peace
The Pyrethrum Growers
Association
UCEDD Burundi
Uganda Coalition for Sustainable
Development
Uganda National NGO Forum
Uhuru Institute
UNIPROBA
UPRONA
UWAKI Nord Kivu
VLSA Initiative
World Vision – Mauritania
ZOA Burundi
ZOA Makam

25th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council opens in Malabo: Discussions to focus on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

 

African-Union-logo1

 

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, 23 June 2014 – “We are holding this meeting and the Summit on the theme Agriculture and Food Security, at a time when our vision for the next fifty years, Agenda 2063… the Africa we want, is taking shape”. This statement was made by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission while adressing the official opening of the 25th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, today 23 June 2014 at the Sipopo Conference Center in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

The Chairperson of the AUC urged the Ministers to look at progress on decisions that should consolidate the work of the Union and take the continent forward.

“We are already in Year One of the fifty years horizon of Agenda 2063. We are therefore paying particular attention to those priority areas that will propel our Agenda forward in the first decade”, she said. These include the revolution in education, skills, science, technology and innovation; harmonized curricula so that young Africans can study and work anywhere in the continent; the free movement of Africans; the Continental Free Trade Area; industrialization and economic development; and connecting all capitals and commercial centres through infrastructure, rail and roads, energy and ICT.

Addressing the theme of the 23rd AU Summit, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said Agriculture and Food Security, are critical priority for Africa.

“If we get this right, it has the potential – along with what we do with the Blue economy – not only to propel us towards our goal of eradicating poverty and hunger in one generation, but also to contribute towards the industrialization through agro-processing and the development of infrastructure”, she noted.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma reiterated that agriculture and agribusinesses are critical to the empowerment of people, especially women and youth. “The Summit debate must look at the practical actions necessary to achieve this, including modernizing and mechanizing agriculture” she said. (see complete speech of the AUC Chairperson on the AU website: www.au.int).

The Chairperson presented an overview of the issues to be considered by the Executive Council including the alternative sources of funding of the AU as well as strengthening AU Organs such as the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the African Court for Human and People’s Rights and the African Monetary Fund, with the view to enhance Africa’s integration, among others.

Key speakers during the official opening of the Executive Council were H.E Ahmed Ould Teguidi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and Chairperson of the Executive Council; H.E Agapito Mba Moku, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Equatorial Guinea, and Dr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Present at the opening were: Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, AU Commissioners; Representatives of AU Organs and the RECs.

For two days, the Executive Council will exchange views on specific reports of the Commission to be submitted to the 23rd AU Summit scheduled to hold on 26 and 27 June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

EAT/JEE

Ebola update for today Wednesday June 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

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Ebola Update June 25, 2014

  • 329 Cases have been tested, with cumulative number of 175 Cases been confirmed positive for Ebola and 48 cumulative Confirmed Deaths
  • 41 cases are currently admitted at the Ebola Treatment Center in Kenema
  • A Cumulative number of cases discharged is 18
  • The Ebola treatment center in Kailahun has been completed and now opened to manage Ebola cases in Kailahun District
  • A probable Ebola case was intercepted at a checkpoint in Manor Junction, Kenema District while trying to enter Kenema from Kailahun. The case has now been taken to the treatment center in Kenema
  • Free Health Care drugs and other medical supplies sent to Sandaeyaru Village Health Center in Luawa Chiefdom, Kailahun District were taken out of the store by community youths and burnt, alleging that the drugs were meant to kill Ebola cases in their communities

ACC talks about the new National Anti-Corruption Strategy to officers of Eastern Police

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

 

 

By David K. Conteh : 

 

Over seventy (70) police officers of the Eastern Police Division have been educated on the new National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS 2014-18) and activities of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). The event took place on Tuesday 24th June 2014 at the Eastern Police Station in Freetown.

ACCEASTPOLICE

Speaking on the relevance of the 2014 -2018 NACS, ACC Head of Outreach Glennis Frazer highlighted the fundamental elements that distinguish the previous NACS from the current; which are prevention, enforcement and suppression. Prevention, she said is aiming at strengthening Sierra Leone’s democracy, creating political competiveness, which will further reduce poverty and improve public service delivery systems.

 

Pointing out the role of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in the 2014-2018 NACS, Miss Frazer explained that the suppression of corruption should be internally motivated. Government ministries, departments and agencies such as the SLP, should develop systemic measures and internal corruption controls to check mate the system and weed out bad eggs from within their institutions. She further said, with the new NACS the ACC will collaborate with the SLP to develop internal corruption control mechanisms which will reduce the spate of corruption among officers of the SLP.

 

Explaining the Anti-Corruption offences as embedded in the 2008 Anti- Corruption Act, the ACC Deputy Director of Public Education and Outreach Department, Patrick Sandi made mention of Influencing a Public Officer, as an offence that addresses the problem of “orders from above”. He also spoke about Receiving Gifts for Corrupt Purposes, Conflict of Interest, Abuse of Office and Position, as offences in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act that are likely to be committed by police officers. In elucidating the offence, Protecting Offenders from Legal Proceeding, Sandi said this act creates injustice, impunity and insecurity; where undue protection is provided for offenders of the law.

 

Answering questions on set up, Mr. Patrick Sandi debunked the allegations that the ACC is involved in witch hunting the police, and that the ACC is in no way involved in any form of entrapment. He said the “Sting Operations” implemented by the ACC is employed to gather evidence from a person who has been already accused of committing an offence by soliciting an advantage.

 

Earlier in the meeting, the Head of Public Education Unit Anti-Corruption Commission, Michael Sesay explained the reasons for meeting the SLP, especially after the formal launch of the NACS. He expressed the need to collaborate with the SLP in the fight against graft, as there are lots of benefits a nation stands to enjoy from eradicating corruption. He added that ACC has had very cordial working relationship with the SLP and demanded for more of such collaborations.

 

Addressing colleagues of the SLP, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Amos Kargbo, who is the Local Unit Commander of the Eastern Police Station, wasted no time to welcome officials of the ACC to the Division. In his closing courtesies, CSP Kargbo made reference to other countries such as Singapore and Botswana to have strong economies; but at the same time associated such progress to their national resolve to fight corruption. He therefore called on all his colleagues to give adequate support to the ACC, and that ACC’s success will be in the interest of the nation.

 

 

ACC staff and cross section of police officer at the Eastern Police Station

NCD hosts workshop on the promotion of democracy and good governance

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

ILOVEDEMOCRACY

(REV. GIBRILLA KARGBO)

The Northern Region Bureau of the National Commission for Democracy headed by Commission Bai John Conteh has on Thursday, June 19, 2014 hosted a day’s workshop on the promotion of democratic good governance for civil servants and the forces in the regional capital of Makeni. Chaired by the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo and moderated by the Executive Assistant to the Chairman, Mr. Kallie Sillah, the well attended workshop saw the presentation of a lead paper by the Principal of the Makeni University, Prof. Joe Turay.

The lead paper titled “Promoting Democratic Good Governance” is divided into two sub-headings for a free flow of the presentation. The sub-headings include the following:

  1. What others have said:

Five Principles of Good Governance

Human Rights Principles and Good Governance

  1. What do we say: Context, Opportunities and Challenges

The chief facilitator of the workshop, Prof. Joe Turay of the University of Makeni under the first sub-heading made his audience to understand that the notion of governance has been in existence for quite some time now, but stated that good governance and democratic governance are relatively new ideals that have gained widespread recognition especially in academia and policy circles by way of quoting UNDP and Weiss. In strengthening his argument on the issues, he quoted a significant portion of the current government Agenda for Prosperity as follows: “Good Governance, access to justice, peace and security and effective capacity in the public sector, are all pre-requisites for sustainable growth, job creation, and poverty reduction. The strategic objective of this pillar is to continue to promote good governance and build the capacity of all public sector and governance institutions and functionaries to deliver quality and timely public services”. In quoting the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan, he noted “good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development”.  He also noted that governance is not only restricted to government, but includes other institutions and also covering non-state actors like Civil Society Organizations. In tracing the root of governance, he spoke about the progress that has been made in moving from governance to good governance and democratic good governance with the third category being very holistic and comprehensive in bringing about sustainable development. He further attempted a definition of the key concepts from the point of view of others including the position of the UNDP as a leading development agency that has employed criteria relating to democratic good governance in dealing with nations of the world by way of promoting meaningful development.

In providing depth for the UNDP’s position on good governance, he noted five key principles of good governance inclusive of the following:

  1. Legitimacy and Voice focusing on participation and consensus orientation
  2. Direction with every nation having a strategic vision
  3. Performance in relation to being responsive with a focus on effectiveness and efficiency
  4. Accountability in all walks of life especially to promote transparency in all spheres
  5. Fairness with emphasis on equity and the rule of law

 

Additionally, he noted the key aspects of Human Rights Principles and Good Governance to include the following:

  1. In relation to Legitimacy and Voice as good governance principles, he juxtaposed them with the UNDP principles of participation and consensus in line with Articles 19, 20, 21, 29 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  2. In line with Fairness as a good governance principle, he matched it with the UNDP principles of equity and rule of law in relation to the Preamble, Articles 1, 2, 5, 7, 10, and 17 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

He, however, noted that with lessons learnt from the ten year civil war in relation to the culture of consultative forums, civil society coalitions, the nation is making the right kind of progress in terms of democratic good governance that should exercise the minds of every Sierra Leonean.

Under the sub-heading of “What do we say”, the workshop facilitator, Prof. Joe Turay examined the Sierra Leonean context in terms of good governance, stating the challenges and the opportunities that are available to the nation in the promotion of democratic good governance. This segment of the presentation was prefaced with guiding questions as follows: to what extent have our institutions been able to adhere to these principles? How can we promote service delivery, accountability, transparency, good citizenship and ethics? He blamed the problem of the nation on bad governance and patrimonial politics characterized by patron-client networks with a longstanding niche in the history of the country also noting that even external funding is subjected to misuse on account of this patrimonial logic. He noted that the governance history of the nation was bedeviled by lack of public accountability, with rights and equality not institutionalized and thus defeating the very purpose of citizenship. In jogging our painful memory, he noted that the ten year rebel war was as a result of this patrimonial logic. Looking that the current scenario, Prof. Joe Turay asked whether there is a move from the patron-client relationship to one of democratic good governance where the rules of the game are established by all. He was of the view that good governance is improving and he provided supporting evidence from observation documented by the NCD Chairman, Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo noting that the state has started making reforms including the introduction of political and administrative decentralization; the establishment of participatory political institutions, the strengthening of the judicial and quasi-judicial institutions, strengthening of infrastructure for social research, and improving working conditions and incentive systems in the government.

In talking about its practicability, he mentioned several challenges that have plagued governance in the nation to include the following:

  1. An absence of legitimized norms governing state-society relationships
  2. The notion of the public and private; the notion of the individual and the communities
  3. The use of patronage and populism
  4. Partnership between government and civic groups
  5. Social conditions of equality and access to resources

He, however, noted that with lessons learnt from the ten year civil war in relation to the culture of consultative forums, civil society coalitions, the nation is making the right kind of progress in terms of democratic good governance that should exercise the minds of every Sierra Leonean. He posited that civil society is becoming vibrant with the commencement of a process on state institutionalization in addition to a new world order for the promotion of democratic good governance. He drew attention to the emerging economic growth in the continent with the need for the redistribution of wealth and the existing good will in the fight against corruption.

His presentation widely acclaimed by workshop participants was subjected to a question and answer session with participants examining the content of the paper and analyzing the mandate of NCD as host institution for the workshop. Upon exhausting the questions posed by workshop participants, the workshop broke up into three groups to examine the issues that were raised in relation to the paper presented by Prof. Joe Turay.

The three groups deliberated on issues relating to public procurement, administrative decentralization and local councils. The groups came up with varying analyses of the context in their operational mandate in order to enhance the process of good governance in the country. The security sector emphasized the importance of decentralization with far-reaching implication for their activities in the six regions as per their operations to include two regions in the Western Region, two in the Northern Region, with one in the Eastern Region and one in the Southern Region.  The group presenter for the security sector, LUC of Makeni, Gibril Turay, mentioned some of their achievements and noted their key challenges to include resource constraints, interference and too much bureaucracy in communication. Furthermore, he explained that in recent times, there is plenty of civilian oversight of the forces with implications for their interactions. As part of his recommendations, he came up with the following to make room for direct self-accounting, civilians working in the interest of the forces, monitoring authorities ensuring transparency and accountability, less interference in their operations and the devolution of procurement practices in the regions.

When it was the turn of the MDAs, the group presenter, Augustine Foday Ngobie of the ACC, took the plenary through the procurement process including needs analysis, technical evaluation, the procurement itself and the disposal of the items involved. He highlighted a few challenges to include donor procurement process being different from national regulations on procurement, procurement collusion, late disbursement of funds affecting the procurement process, devolution process incomplete with limited capacity of procurement officers. He then recommended that donor policies should match those of the state to avoid sub-standard procurement, procurement should be made public, the timely disbursement and liquidation of funds, the full devolution of staff after the review of the Local Government Act, council procurement decentralized and refresher training for procurement committee member.

With the local councils, their presentation focused initially on the importance of decentralization to include increase employment at the local level, government closer to the people with councils being able to monitor certain activities. Their challenges were also presented with recommendations not too different from the other groups. On the whole, the discussions were passionately undertaken with frankness characterizing the atmosphere.

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ABC organizes Talent Exhibition

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

 

                                     

At the completion of the two days youth empowerment  training, the Attitudinal & Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat organised youths exhibition with the theme: Working towards Prosperity: Youths Empowerment and Positive Attitude on the 20th June, 2014 at the WAGA Hall, Gbaiima Road, Bo City.

The exhibition targeted 150 youths who took part in the two day training and it was done to show case the talents of the identified youth groups and their support to the ABC campaign. Youths were divided into five main groups; Gara-tie dyeing, Music, Drama/film, Cultural Performance and Drawing & Graphic design.

ABCTRAINSYOUTHS1 (600 x 450)

The Chairman for the exhibition program Mr Joseph Munda Bindi who represented the Chairman Bo District Council in his statement commented on the theme of the youth project. According to him, it is a step in the new direction for a brighter Sierra Leone, thereby engaging the youths in productive life. He told the graduates to make judicious use of the opportunity and knowledge gained, Certificate to speak, and their attitudes to show the type of persons they are. He congratulated the participants for going through the intensive and interactive training and encouraged them to continue to support the ABC campaign in sending out messages of positive attitude for the development of Sierra Leone. He admonished the gathering to join the ABC forward match campaign for the betterment of oneself, the community and the country at large. “the ABC Secretariat alone cannot succeed in this campaign, therefore, there is need for all of us to put hand on deck to actualize the clarion call of President Koroma for a prosperous and united Sierra Leone.” He thanked the ABC Secretariat for the wonderful initiative and the Government of Sierra Leone for funding the project.

ABCTRAINSYOUTHS2 (600 x 450)

 

The Keynote Speaker Mr Talal Houdroush who represented the Chairman of the Lebanese Community Southern Region expressed his happiness  for the initiative of the ABC Secretariat in designing appropriate programs for the Sierra Leonean Youths. He commented on the wordings inscribed on the T-shirt; “Positive Attitudes is key to success” and pledge the loyalty of his community in the promotion of youths activities in the region. He appealed to all Stakeholders to come onboard in this transformation process and give the youths the maximum support they deserve to add value to their talents and make them productive self employed.

The Chairman ABC Talented Group, Southern Region, Mr. Thomas Humpah expressed his appreciation for the youths program and outlined the relevance of the project. ”This project is very important  and  timely as it helps us to identify our talents and adding more values for the sustenance of our future.”

 

The Traders Union Chairman, Mr. David Moses, told the youths that this is the first time he has witnessed this type of youths gathering and according to him, he is quiet convinced that youths of today are very developmental oriented, as a result, he promised to do business with the youths by sponsoring and promoting their products in the market. And stressed to them that any time they need any help, his door is always open.

At the exhibition, the different groups were called to showcase their talents through action and exhibition of their finished products, so in doing this, donations were made from different stakeholders who were present .At the end of the programme, Certificates were distributed to all the participant .

Ministry of Health daily update on Ebola

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Ebola Update June 24, 2014

  •  The cumulative number cases tested is 312, with  163 laboratory cases of Ebola and 46 confirmed deaths
  • Forty-five (45) cases are currently admitted at the Kenema Government Hospital
  • Fifteen (15) cases have been discharged from the Government Hospital in Kenema after full recovery from the disease
  • Two additional ambulances have been sent to Kailahun and Kenema Districts to support with case management

EBOLA-1

APC -USA Inaugurates its Washington Metro Chapter in Grand Style

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

 

The newly elected Female dominated dedicated executive members of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) Party Washington Metropolitan Chapter led by its President Mrs. Beatrice Baby Conteh has been inaugurated in a grandiose occasion at the Hampton Conference Center 207 West Hampton Place Capital Heights Maryland.

WASHINGTONDANCE1 (600 x 399)

Interim Chairman Ibrahim Sanpha Kamara administering the oath of office to APC-USA

The occasion which was full of pomp and pageantry saw very important personalities and high profile individuals including Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens, accredited to the United States, Canada and South America, Ambassador Ibrahim S. Conteh Deputy Ambassador, Hon. Alie D. Kamara Sierra Leone’s Northern Resident Minster, Ambassador Amadu Koroma Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Mrs. Isatu Sillah Minister Counselor and Head of Chancery embassy of Sierra Leone, Chief Methuselah Bradley Sierra Leone Consul in Pennsylvania and other very respected Academics and Professional Sierra Leoneans in the United States including members of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and different ex-members of defunct opposition political Parties, past and current APC Chapter Presidents and Executives from different parts of the USA including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Boston Massachusetts, Georgia, New York and Connecticut – gorgeously  dressed in consonance with the charmingly designed ballroom.

 

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THE HIGH TABLE : AMBASSADOR STEVENS ( FOURTH FROM RIGHT )

Aside the variety of chilled and very cold wines, were different brands of beer, assorted Soda’s and high quality liquor and different cuisines of Sierra Leonean, European and American Dishes to the pleasure and disposal of attendees.  

The newly inaugurated members include Ms. Beatrice Baby Conteh President, Mr. Alfred Kebbie Sesay Vice President, Mr. Ahmed Wurie Secretary General, Mr. Allie Sahid organizing Secretary, Ms. Mariama Lowe Assistant Organizing Secretary, Mr. Richard Bangura Financial Secretary, Ms. Aminata Samba Treasurer, Ms. Florence Bangura women’s leader, Ms. Ann M Turay Assistant Women’s Leader, Ms. Saffie Bangura Youth Leader, Mr. Bobson Bangura Adviser and Ms. Abibatu Daramy Public Relations Officer.

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Addressing the newly elected officers, the APC USA Chairman Mr. Ibrahim Sanpha Kamara paid homage to Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens and described him as a unifying factor. He recognized very high profiled members present and described them as a motivation to the APC Washington Metro for them to know that they are not alone.

 Chairman Kamara gave a brief historical background of the Party and described the APC as a development oriented party that believes in peace and progress. He abhorred pettiness and other vices and encouraged the APC Washington Metro Chapter executive to work as a team. He encouraged them to be united in their endeavors, while working with a common goal in sight – that is to succeed.

He administered the oath of office to the newly elected executives and presented them with membership cards.

Responding, Madam Beatrice Baby Conteh thanked God for making her the President of the APC Washington Metro Chapter, and said she is highly indebted to the entire membership “for electing me and my executive to serve the chapter and the party for a period of two years.” The President of the Chapter called on members to put aside their differences and work as a team to make the APC party become stronger.

“We are calling on you to join us build a better chapter and stronger APC in the Diaspora. “Our chapter is positioned in a unique way to be the champion of peace, unity, and progress.

“That is one of the reasons why we should stand tall in telling every APC party or chapter member to put aside all self-centered thoughts and work for unity and peace. “Please join me in this noble course to bring about everlasting peace through unity of all groups and factions in the chapter into a unified umbrella of the APC Washington metropolitan chapter of the APC USA branch.

Comrades, His Excellency the President, Dr. Earnest Ba’i Koroma has laid out the roadmap for a continuation of his indefatigable efforts to transform Sierra Leone through the ‘Agenda for Change’ and now through the “Agenda for Prosperity”. “We in the Diaspora are looked upon to be the facilitators, the engine, the mechanism, and the champions of the agenda. “We have to be active participants not only with words, but by concrete and concerted efforts and actions to fulfill the aspirations, ideals and programs of the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’. By you endorsing me as the new President of the chapter and to this enviable position, I will endeavor to work assiduously with everyone, including chapters in the Diaspora through our common political platform for the implementation of the Agenda for Prosperity.”

In his keynote address, Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens welcomed the executive to office and thanked the APC Washington Metropolitan Chapter for the honor accorded him to witness the inauguration program. He said unifying the branch, swell its membership and raise funds for the Party will surely make them be attractive to the party hierarchy.

He assured them of his fullest cooperation as a member of the APC Washington Metro chapter and further pledged One Thousand United States Dollars to the branch.

Other distinguished speakers including Ambassador I.S. Conteh, Ambassador Amadu Koroma of New York Mission, Hon. Alie D. Kamara, deputy Spokesman Mr. Agibu Jalloh and other distinguished personalities spoke highly of the APC, the newly inaugurated executives and the need for APC members in the USA to be more active and strong.

Earlier, Mr. Ahmed Wurie Secretary General APC Washington metro chapter welcomed guests and described the APC Washington Metro Chapter as the “Mother of All Chapters” in the USA and promised to work hard to ensure that the APC party succeeds in the next elections. 

Highlights of the ceremony saw the live performance of Vicky Fornah a popular musician and two others who added their own talents to make the occasion not an easy to forget.

Pasco Gerald Temple
Information attaché
Embassy of Sierra Leone
Washington DC
20009 USA
Tel- 2024466958

Wife of U.S. Vice-President coming to Sierra Leone

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

JILLBIDEN

DR. JILL BIDEN

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2014

Dr. Jill Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and U.S. Ambassador Catherine
Russell to Travel to Africa

Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone
from June 30 – July 7, 2014. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID), and Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large
for Global Women’s Issues, will also travel with Dr. Biden.

During their travel, Dr. Biden, Administrator Shah, and Ambassador Russell will
highlight how girls’ education and women’s participation in government, the economy,
and civil society can accelerate economic development, improve health and educational
outcomes, strengthen democratic governance, and foster peace and security. These
themes will also be woven throughout the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit held
in Washington, D.C. in early August.

Additional details about the trip are forthcoming

Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Chief touts corporate integrity for multinationals

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

JOSEPHKAMARA

 

 

CORPORATE INTEGRITY: BEST PRACTICE FOR MULTINATIONALS OPERATING IN SIERRA LEONE

BY JOSEPH FITZGERALD KAMARA

Corporate Integrity is the degree to which a corporation adheres to a code of ethics and to established laws.  Corporate integrity could also be viewed from a civic perspective, which means that corporations are seen as members of civil society, corporate members are seen as citizens and corporate decisions are guided by civic norms.

In the broader sense, corporate integrity encompasses the full range of good business practices commonly associated with corporate social responsibility.  More narrowly, it reflects a commitment to abide by minimum legal requirements and norms of ethical business conduct.  Organizations that act with integrity follow the law and ethical norms, they treat their employees, customers and business partners fairly and respectfully, they abide by their commitments, and they generally conduct their affairs in a socially responsible manner.

Corporate conduct today, whether good or bad makes a much greater footprint than ever before not only on human communities but also on the natural environment.

Furthermore, as corporations have become more powerful, the civic institutions that have upheld them in the past have developed the tendency to get weaker. Today, the overall direction of global corporation gives us a notion of what it must have been like travelling on the Titanic:  to be slowly moving in the wrong direction but too big and powerful to change course.

One of the most efficacious recommendations for business practice for multinationals is Collective Action. The idea is simple – get companies working together with their competitors and other stakeholders to create decisions that are driven by economic considerations and not by corrupt transactions.    Implementing this idea, however, is more difficult.  How do we convince companies that it is in their interest to work with their competitors to eliminate bribery? How do we convince them that it makes economic sense to invest their individual resources to reduce bribery? What are the key components of Collective Action against corruption?  What is the business case for it? Where should companies begin?

These are all interesting questions that we’ll attempt to answer.  But before we get into corporate integrity best practice, it is useful to take a closer look at the different faces of corruption and how it affects the private sector not as a monolith – but as a complex web of companies with different priorities, resources, and perspectives.  Doing so will help us set the ground work for understanding what corporate integrity is all about.

The term corruption can be simply defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. The word can cover a whole range of abuses.  On one level, it can refer to the risk of taxpayers’ money in Government’s projects being fraudulently spent or stolen.  On another level it can refer to corruption within a country’s financial structure and institutions in the private sector, with the negative impact that this has on growth forecast.

In a business context, this can include false or misleading financial reporting, procurement fraud, embezzlement and especially bribery.  Bribery in business is a universal problem, affecting companies of all countries, where companies are victims as well as perpetrators.

Corruption in Sierra Leone as elsewhere is a complex and multifaceted problem that cannot be solved by either governments or companies acting alone.  Companies are a common source of corrupt funds, but they are also victims of extortion with a shared stake in reform.  Small local businesses are especially vulnerable to extortionate demands by corrupt public officials, while larger domestic and global corporations that manage to control bribery in their own ranks must still worry about unfair competition from less ethical peers.  Moreover, Sierra Leone can benefit from the expertise and resources that ethical businesses are able to bring to the fight against corruption.

In Sierra Leone this is a major challenge, with data on the control of corruption showing the country to be well below the sub-Saharan African average.  A recent survey by the Global Barometer Report showed that over 80% of respondents have experienced paying a bribe within a twelve month period.  Corruption is a crucial problem for all – companies, governments, and citizens alike.  Over the past decade, the amount of attention devoted to corruption has grown exponentially.  Yet, while the need for effective anti-corruption tools remains pressing.

The reality of the effects of corruption is the grave socio economic threats it poses to nations.  Corruption suppresses economic growth by driving up costs, and undermines the sustainable management of the environment and natural resources.  It breaches fundamental human rights, exacerbates poverty and increases inequality by diverting funds from health care, education and other essential services.  The malignant effects of corruption are felt by billions of people everywhere.  It is driven by and results in criminal activity, malfunctioning state institutions and weak governance.

 

Sierra Leone too faces the menace of corruption in all spheres of human activities.  It is clearly the nation’s most formidable challenge and a threat to our future.  The campaign against corruption is one in which we all have a direct and important stake.  Corruption retards the pace of development and impedes developmental activities.  Corrupt practices create hindrance in government’s efforts aimed at providing basic social services and alleviating poverty.

The question for resolution is how does the fight against corruption interplay within the panoply of corporate integrity within multinational operations?

 

It is often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and for business organizations, this is achieved through an effective internal program for preventing and detecting violations of law or for ethical standards.

In an anti-corruption context, corporate integrity means conducting business in a manner that avoids bribery and other corrupt acts that undermine the operation of and public confidence in the marketplace.  First and foremost, businesses have a legal responsibility to follow the law in the countries in which they operate, which under the ACC framework extends to all forms of bribery – active and passive, public and private, domestic and international.  Companies that engage in bribery risk public exposure, prosecution and sanctions that can significantly damage their interests, as well as have severe consequences for the personnel involved.  Businesses also have a responsibility to act as good corporate citizens, which includes following the laws that apply to their operations.

There is increasing awareness among companies that fighting corruption makes good business sense.  At the most basic level, corrupt payments are a tax on business, cutting into profits and return on investment.  While difficult to calculate because of the hidden nature of corruption, estimates put this additional tax on doing business as high as 10 percent in some markets.  Companies that refuse to bribe also must worry about losing business to less ethical competitors.  Many now recognize the broader harm of corruption on business interests.  Corruption makes it more difficult for governments to implement laws and policies which undermine trust in public institutions.  Most importantly for multinational companies, corruption undercuts the rule of law on which their ability to do business and secure investments ultimately depends.

Embedding corporate integrity in business operations can also have more immediate and practical benefits.  Better systems and controls to prevent corruption provide for more certainty and control over operations.  They also help to protect an enterprise’s reputation-often its most valuable asset-with employees, customers, business partners and the public at large.  Companies that have made a demonstrable commitment to corporate integrity find it easier to attract and retain good employees and to maintain high morale, and they also benefit in dealings with like-minded investors, customers and business partners.  The comparative advantage from a good reputation for smaller businesses that work with global corporation can be especially valuable, as global corporation work to strengthen practices within their supply chains. Ethical suppliers are more reliable and also less likely to create legal or supply chain problems for a multinational customer.

 

Ensuring best practice in multinational company’s setup generally, involve a leadership commitment to ethical business practices, awareness training, anti-corruption policies and procedures, channels for seeking guidance and reporting concerns, and internal systems and controls to ensure that policies are being followed.

 

The implementation of a meaningful and effective anti-corruption program for business is primarily a private sector function and responsibility.  Anti-corruption measures are an investment, and like other business investments, they must compete with other demands for scarce resources based on perceived risks and benefits.  States can help to shape these corporate investment decisions through a combination of enforcement sanctions and good practice incentives.

 

Building a climate conductive for improved investment Countries suffering from violence, bribery and corruption face business risks that can significantly affect their commercial prospects and thus returns on investment.  Certain companies operating in areas of political instability spend quite a chunk of investment portfolio meeting political risk insurance coverage.  Therefore, a country’s compliance with transparency and accountability initiatives can therefore help to reassure foreign companies and investors that the government will observe recognized standards, thus enhancing business incentives to invest.  In Sierra Leone today, we experience the entrance of multinational companies such as, London Mining Company, Cluff Gold Mining Company Addax, African Minerals, OCTEA, to name but a few as actors into the investment climate.  Clearly, there is a seeming opportunity of stability and the Operation of the Rule of Law.

Accountability and Transparency Initiatives (ATIs) are increasingly promoted as effective ways to tackle government corruption and inefficiency. These are based on the premise that increased information flows from government enable greater civil society oversight.  This helps make government more accountable to their citizens, leading to improvements in resource and revenue management and service delivery.

Accountability and Transparency has been high up on the international political agenda. It was a core element of the 2013 G18 Summit and continues to be a key part of other processes such as the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) and many more.

I will close with the words of Peter Drucker, when he commented on the importance of integrity: “the purpose of business Is not to make a profit, or create jobs, or benefit society, although all of these are necessary if the business is to be sustained. Instead, he said, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”  So, to create a customer, the business must create something of value- a product, an experience, a relationship- which customers want or need to have.  This thing of value, from which springs the brand promise, must sit at the heart of the corporation, and management earns its reputation by developing it and protecting it.  The customer in this sense is the people, the Government and society as a whole.