Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "Sidebar 1" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-1". Manually set the id to "sidebar-1" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/cocorioko/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4041
COCORIOKO » TOP STORY

Archive for the ‘TOP STORY’ Category

Christmas message from the CEO and Publisher of Cocorioko, Rev. Kabs Kanu

Friday, December 25th, 2015
MERRY CHRISTMAS
  The Cocorioko Newspaper Management and Editorial staff wish to take this opportunity to wish every reader , supporter and fan a very Happy Christmas. We hope that they and their families will enjoy the Yuletide season , a season of love and goodwill to all men and women. May the spirit of Christmas permeate our  interactions with one another.

As we worship in our various churches ahead of that sumptuous Christmas lunch or dinner with loved ones, let us not forget that the very reason for the season is JESUS CHRIST, who was born on this day not only  to bring salvation to mankind but reveal God the Father to man ; preach the kingdom of God ; to bear witness to the truth ; to be a light in the world; to call sinners to repentance and seek and save those who are lost.

The world has subtly taken Jesus Christ out of Christmas. The narcissistic world has turned Christmas into a season of mindless materialism and voracious appetites for carnal pleasures and  cravings. Children are fooled to believe that the focus of Christmas is Santa Claus and his sleigh he arrives in from the North Pole laden with “goodies”  but everyone of us , in our respective ways , through our  redirection of the main focus of Christmas , worship and acts of love and goodwill , can put JESUS CHRIST back  in the season .We can do it also by spreading the GOOD NEWS that at the appointed time, God the Father, sent his beloved Son, Jesus Christ to the lost world to die on the Cross of Calvary , that through his crucifixion , mankind will receive the salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

As we prepare to herald another new year, we hope all will enjoy the Season and transmit the love of Jesus Christ to all men and women.

MERRY CHRISTMAS.

REV. LEEROY WILFRED KABS-KANU

C.E. O AND PUBLISHER

Sierra Leone’s Dr. Samura Kamara will be the jewel in the AfDB’s crown

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Dr. Samura Kamara, one of the most celebrated Sierra Leoneans and a truly distinguished son of the land, will be blazing the trail to international accomplishment when he is hopefully elected as President of the African Development Bank ( AfDB ) this year  — A hallowed distinction that Sierra Leoneans and many Africans, who have followed his magnificent public service,  agree is a fitting denouement  for another  gifted and experienced Sierra Leonean determined to leave indelible footprints in the sands of international stewardship.
Samura_Kamara_2014
DR. SAMURA KAMARA :

Dr. Samura Kamara is not only richly studded with the academic excellence befitting the presidency of the AfDB but he has a surfeit of organizational skills and proven inspirational leadership and experience  that have blessed the financial institutions and ministries he has served and help mold  them   into viable  institutions .There is no doubt that he will be the crown in the AfDB’s jewel with an accomplished performance , characteristic of other distinguished Sierra Leoneans who have served the international world .

 

Dr. Kamara hails from a country that has produced record -making international public servants like Dr. Monty Jones (  the renowned plant breeder and former Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), who won the coveted  2004 international  World Food Prize for his discovery of the genetic process to create new rice very rich in protein contents and capable of providing  higher yields and shorter growth cycles ) , Dr. Zainab Bangura , the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, who brought a new impressive dimension and impetus to the job that has won her and her nation prodigious international acclaim ) , Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, who has been a veritable revelation at the UN as the Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All ,  CEO of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative,  Chairman of  UN-Energy and a two-term former Director-General of  UNIDO,  the United Nations Industrial Development Organization ), Justice Abdul G. Koroma , the pace-setting jurist, who made a name for himself and his nation as Judge of the International Court of Justice ) , Dr. Abdulai Conteh ( who achieved international stardom for his sterling performance as Chief Justice of Belize , Justice of the Court of Appeal of Cayman Islands and the Court of Appeal of the Bahamas ).

 

In his fascinating career as a public servant, Dr. Kamara has used his intellectual capacity and his professional and managerial proficiency to turn around and make into worthy   bastions of smooth functioning and viable entities the financial institutions and ministries he has served, during which he has accrued the immense professional experience he hopes to use at the AfDB   to make it a very strong and profitable institution.

Because of his amazing job performance, Dr. Samura Kamara has lived a life of rapid promotions. He served as Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone during the reign of the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in 1997 ; He was elevated  in 2009 by President Ernest Koroma to the position of Minister of Finance , where he served creditably before he was further elevated to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in 2012.

GA pm
DR. SAMURA KAMARA ADDRESSING THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The first thing that those of us who have worked with him will tell you about him is that he is a very pleasant, engaging , intelligent  man with a serious demeanor and magnificent work ethic , which he strives to infuse into those around him. He is a motivator par excellence who  seeks to draw out the best in his employees. He is a very good mixer, excellent communicator  and consensus-builder , which have helped him excel as a marvelous negotiator and diplomat.
DR. SAMURA KAMARA AND UN SECRETARY GENERAL, MR. BAN KI-MOON
samura kamara mobbed

Pictures tell the story of a million words. Here is a photo of diplomats and delegates lined up to shake hands with the Minister after impressively addressing the UN General Assembly last year. 

The humble and quick-smiling economic professional and outstanding diplomat has achieved  commendable reviews in the Sierra Leone media on account of his excellent performance as a public servant. The Awoko newspaper on September 1, 2014, said of him :

 “The past leadership including President’s Kabbah and Koroma believe in Dr. Samura Kamara to work for them especially in the Finance Ministry because he is equipped to meet the challenges of our economic growth. During his time, he brought down inflation to single digit level, brought sanity in the foreign exchange and was able to fight corruption.”

“He brought respect to our country, negotiated with the foreign partners for better loan arrangements and he is very respected by the Exim Bank officials during the negotiations for the Regent  Grafton Road, the new Airport and the Hainan Rubber Company.
On Sierra Leone’s foreign policy, he has proved that he can still push the country to higher heights by rebranding the country in the international stage, which he has done in the past one year. He is highly respected by the international donor agencies and foreign governments. It is this economic background that may well have convinced the President that he will be suited for the Foreign Ministry, as he has placed more emphasis on economic growth, international investment and trade to further the concept of ‘Sierra Leone is open for business.”

The Cocorioko Newspaper on September 29, 2014 wrote of him :

 “Sierra Leone’s Dr. Samura Kamara was overwhelmed by surging crowds of diplomats and delegates who were coming to hug and shake hands with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation after a well-delivered statement this evening on behalf of President Ernest Koroma at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Foreign Minister’s statement went down well with the thousands of delegates and diplomats attending the General Assembly. “

The Awareness Times Newspaper on December 7, 2007 , had this to say about Dr. Samura Kamara :

 “Dr. Samura Kamara enjoyed the ears of President Kabbah because of his frankness and professional competence. He was sort of an Economic Advisor to President Kabbah. Dr. Samura Kamara was highly respected in the Ministry of Finance and in the World Bank and IMF.”

 “He was a core member of the Finance Committee, set up by President Kabbah, to scrutinize government’s expenditure and other financial commitments. The appointment of Dr. Samura Kamara as Governor of the Central Bank was done purely on the advice of major international donor countries and members of the Bretton Woods Institution.” 

President Koroma’s media adviser, Oswald Hanciles, writing in various newspapers in August 2013 , said of Dr. Kamara :

 “A seasoned professional, Dr. Samura Kamara had been a ‘finance man’ for about forty years. He has worked at senior levels in the IMF , World Bank, and Commonwealth finance offices; he was the Financial Secretary in the SLPP government of President Tejan Kabbah; Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone and finance minister in the APC government of President Koroma).”

 “Dr. Samura Kamara is reputed to be one of the brains that were instrumental in the “reform” of the revenue sectors of government, leading to the merger of the income tax and customs revenue agencies that engendered the National Revenue Authority. “

Indeed, when they elect him as President in the forthcoming institutional  elections, The AfDB will be bringing into their fold a man of brains who would definitely inspire reforms that would further embellish the bank’s credentials as a feasible and thriving continental financial powerhouse.

The AfDB , in its website, says it is building today for a better Africa .  There is no better man to help carry the bank’s mantle of lofty ideals and agenda than Dr. Samura Kamara, a quintessential economic expert, prime mover  and a cogent and productive public servant and diplomat whose success will transcend the barriers of the African continent into the international sphere. He has the academic and professional endowment and the work experience to be the toast of the august international financial institution, as he has been in all the institutions and ministries he has served.

MORE ARTICLES ON DR. KAMARA’S SUITABILITY FOR THE HIGH OFFICE COMING.

Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu

Minister Plenipotentiary / C-10 Coordinator,

New York

 

Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister Samura Kamara poised to boost nation’s pride

Monday, May 18th, 2015

 

By Umaru S. Jah — Information Attaché, Germany :

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara has expressed confidence that the country will soon be proud to have their son leading an enviable institution should he be elected President of the African Development Bank any time soon.

SAMURA NATIONAL PRIDE 1

He made this disclosure during an exclusive interview with Sierra Leone’s Information Attaché to the Federal Republic of Germany, Umaru S. Jah, during his recent meeting with Germany’s Governor at the African Development Bank in Berlin, Thomas Silberhorn. Mr. Silberhorn is also Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development.

SAMURA NATIONAL PRIDE 2

 

Immediately after the Minister’s meeting with Mr. Silberhorn, Umaru Jah engaged the Hon. Minister on strategic issues regarding – among other things – his candidacy as President of the African Development Bank and the country’s future in terms of international cooperation and development. Please read the full interview below:

SAMURA NATIONAL PRIDE 3

 

Umaru Jah: Any time soon the African Development Bank Board of Governors will vote to decide the successor to President Donald Keberuka, and you happen to be one among the eight candidates contesting for that position. What is your campaign strategy and how far have you gone in articulating your vision?

Dr. Kamara: I have been engaged in building on President Koroma’s outreach strategy. He has done a lot of telephoning and writing letters to his colleague Presidents including Barack Obama in the US, Russia, France and China. He has also met them personally at international meetings to inform them about my candidacy. So it is a combination of telephone by the president and our own efforts as an individual with my colleagues at bilateral meetings and ministerial level. But also we’ve used the diplomatic channels to talk to our diplomatic and consular core in Sierra Leone through them to their respective countries. We have also developed documentation like brochures and magazines explaining our vision. So it is a combination of print and electronic media, personal contacts by the President and personal contact at Ministerial level.

Umaru Jah: What is the significance of you being the President of ADB to the people of Sierra Leone and the country as a whole?

Dr. Kamara: It’s huge; you are taking Sierra Leone to the International community more forcefully than ever before. Having a Sierra Leonean as President of ADB, the people of Sierra Leone will be very proud that they have their son leading such an enviable institution, which is the prime international financial institution for Africa. It will carry a very positive image for Sierra Leone and it will show that Sierra Leone is now ready to stand up, raise his voice and influence in the international arena. I think it will also help economically because I am sure that investors will come to Sierra Leone thinking that they have a reputable Sierra Leonean in one of the top most institutions in the world.

Umaru Jah: It is no doubt that the bank under the leadership of president Keberuka has made major improvements in critically needed infrastructure and technical advice both of which have contributed substantially to the sustained economic growth that Africa has witnessed thus far. How prepared are you to take over the helm as you will be spearheading ongoing implementation strategy for 2013-2022?

Dr. Kamara: I think preparatory work comes from experience one has acquired over the years in meeting development challenges on a broader perspective. My years in leading post-conflict recovery of Sierra Leone have exposed me to a number of development challenges that are central in any African country. Issues like road Infrastructure, Energy, water, Information and Communication Technology, Human Development and Governance are very important in managing economy. I have been dealing with development issues for over 30 years. As a former Finance Minister, the governor of the central bank, and now in my current capacity as Foreign Minister, I have played a major role in the revitalisation of both Sierra Leone’s domestic economy, and its commercial relations with the region, continent and beyond. I have demonstrated an ability to help my country navigate its way back from civil war and through the recent Ebola crisis—an ongoing challenge. These are significant issues requiring highly engaged and nimble international coordination. So it is a broad based type of development experience which I would now like to apply for the benefit of all Africans.

Umaru Jah: Despite the huge funds at the bank’s disposal, efforts towards developing the African continent are being frustrated by corruption and political instability. What is your vision for the role of the bank in dynamic emerging economies and for their role in governance?

Dr. Kamara: Governance is a very big challenge in all countries and it is also a very big challenge at cooperate level if you want to develop the private sector. But I think many African countries including Sierra Leone have made tremendous improvements in governance, and governance comes with issues of accountability, transparency, service delivery and utilisation of public funds. In Sierra Leone for example, we have one of the strongest Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and also the strongest Public Financial Management Reform (PFM) trajectory. We started PFM reforms since 2002 and we are still continuing with it. I have made strong inroads in the use of public expenditure management, internal revenue generation, public procurement, performance of government institutions etc; and I think a lot of African countries have done the same as well. But the bank needs to come in strongly in that because that is the foundation for the use of donor funds. Now moving forward, Africa’s challenge comes from the post 2015 development agenda which is broader now. Many countries have made tremendous improvements in pursuing economic growth and human development but there are still huge gaps. For instance, we still have poor road networks, energy is still weak both in terms of generation and distribution, our health and educational institutions are also very weak so you can see that the bank may have resources but the resources are in no way adequate to meet African development challenges. But you can use the bank’s resources to leverage resources from other international donor institutions.

Umaru Jah: Let me take you back to your specific responsibilities as Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. What impact have you created in that ministry and how do you cope with the challenges faced so far?

Dr. Kamara: I think the foreign service of any country is the eye for that country in the world. So you need to strengthen that Eye. If the lens is very small you need to make it bigger. You also need to have a lens that actually captures what is right, what can be used to raise Sierra Leone’s voice and influence the international arena – that’s the role of the foreign ministry. When I was in Finance, I did that through my meetings with the IMF, ADB and international financial institutions. Now I am doing this through countries and institutions that look at foreign policy. As I always tell my colleagues, the perspective I have for the Foreign Service is one that requires us to think deeper into economic diplomacy where you transform the Foreign Service more fully as a development agency in terms of resource mobilisation, and that is why they call it International Cooperation. International cooperation is about going to countries, encourage them to come to your country and invest, at the same time seeking for development support in all dimensions. The routine function of the Foreign Service has been political diplomacy which is good but I don’t think it is sufficient. But you can combine it with how to make sure that Sierra Leone increases its voice in the international fora mostly to encourage people to come to Sierra Leone as an investment destination.

These are the key challenges including other issues like capacity building within the public service. Since my appointment as Foreign Minister, I have developed a Foreign Service agenda which was launched by President Koroma in February. In that agenda we looked at nine pillars that needs re-examination and re-assessment, clear lines of responsibilities, the appointment of Ambassadors, consuls, integration of sectors like the appointment of Information Attachés, local recruitment policy and everything that has to do with building capacity and strengthening the outreach of the Foreign Service. At the beginning we gave a small overview with the key elements comprising modern diplomacy — political, economic and cultural diplomacy, and put them together in a document. This is our agenda. In finance I led the development of the Agenda for Change and the later the Agenda for Prosperity. At the central bank I led the development of Sierra Leone’s financial sector so I thought it fit to do another one at the Foreign Service. I am sure if I am to go back to any ministry I will try to first of all understand and then develop a trajectory and that what’s guides you but implementation is the most difficult.

Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh Launches National Open Data Portal

Monday, May 18th, 2015

 

By John Baimba Sesay -Freetown

Deputising His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma, Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh on Friday,15th May, launched the National Open Data Portal at the Credentials Hall,State House, Freetown.

Speaking,at the event,Vice President Foh said,the launch of the Open Data Portal today, was a milestone continuation of government’s zeal for openness and transparency.

open data

 

“In our modern world, communications through electronic media is becoming a major way of ensuring transparency; more information could be transmitted via electronic means, and this Portal will utilize this new means of communication to reach out to many more people”,Vice President Foh said.

According to Vice President Foh, Government established the Open Government Initiative to open up the avenues for communicating with our people. Through government’s meet-the-people tours and other information- driven programs “we have leveraged inclusive governance and have progressively positioned ourselves as a country with rich credentials on inclusiveness. ”

Few countries in Africa,the Vice President said, have freer spaces for discussions on most topics than Sierra Leone. From radio discussions, to television, to newspapers to the social media, Sierra Leoneans,he said, were increasingly very engaged in discussing matters of relevance to this country.

The establishment of the Portal,he went on, will ensure Sierra Leoneans have access to more facts when discussing matters; “we are establishing this Portal to improve discussions based on facts rather than speculations; we are establishing this portal to advance the maturity of discussions over the radio, on newspapers and in the social media.”

Speaking on governance, the Vice President said, the country is today a forerunner in open governance in Africa as were amongst the first to transform the government’s Broadcasting unit into a publicBroadcasting and, in the process greatly increase the diversity of views on television and radio.

“We are amongst the first to legislate access to information; amongst the first to launch open discussions of matters between the heads of the three branches of government and ordinary people; and amongst the first to be involved in the Open Government Partnership and amongst the first today to launch this Open Data Portal.”

The country, Vice President Foh went on, still has challenges, but that “we are moving faster than most countries in Africa and the world at large to improve access to information; and by the establishment of this Portal, we are also moving faster than most countries to ensure quality public conversations based on facts.”

It is because of these credentials, he said, that we were today prominent partners of the Open Government Partnership in its global drive to ensure information free-flow between governments and their people.

“Because of our actions, we have attracted the support of the World Bank, through its Open Aid Partnership, in establishing this very important Portal.”

The Vice President applauded the World Bank for what he called an “affirmation of faith in our transparency efforts” whilst also applauding the Steering Committee of the OGP which had been tasked with drawing up a National Action Plan that would serve as a blueprint for OGP engagement in Sierra Leone.

According to Vice President Foh, the first and eleventh of such commitments are the signing of a Public Integrity Pact with 5 MDAs and the establishment of an Open Data Portal and ” we are here to bring to life these two commitments in the National Action Plan.”

The Open Data Portal,Vice President Foh went on, is a national Registry for providing comprehensive information on the affairs of government as It will give Sierra Leoneans opportunities for leveraging diverse information on government for comments, suggestions and questions.

In the short term,he said, the portal will provide information relating to the Ebola crisis and government’s response to it. “In the medium and long term, it will be expanded to include additional information relevant to economic recovery, public services, and also, open contracting data, budget data and data on development assistance.”

The Open Government Initiative,he said, will work closely with Ministries and other Departments and Agencies to maintain the Portal by introducing more datasets reflecting the diversity of our country.

Climaxing the event was the signing of an Integrity Pact with five pilot MDAs in a bid to improve public trust in public service delivery and ensure more effective accountability of public officials.

This,the Vice President said, was in line with section 8 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008. “The pact with 5 MDAs shall represent a pilot phase and it is to clearly identify services provided, timeframe to expect service to be delivered and associated costs developed and displayed with clearly visible complaints mechanisms.”

The Public Integrity Pact will serve as the first step towards creating a Public Integrity Policy that will serve as a safeguard measure for improving timely access to public services. The pact will promote ethical and proactive performance by public officials in the discharge of their duties.

Vice President Foh said, there was no stopping this forward march, and that the “Portal is a testimony of our commitment to advance matured discussions of matters of great relevance to the development of our country.”

Chairing the event was the Hon.Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu who underscored government’s commitments to ensure an opened and accountable government.

The event was attended by Government Ministers, Civil Society activists,Council Chairman,Paramount Chiefs,Development Partners and the Media.

President Lungu opens Heads of State Summit in Livingstone

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

DAILY NATION, ZAMBIA

Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu  at the Dr David Livingstone Safari  in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu at the Dr David Livingstone Safari in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.

President Edgar Lungu has challenged African countries to re-energise Africa’s quest for a permanent representation on the United Nations Security Council.

President Lungu says Zambia will remain committed to the aspirations of the Committee of 10 in spearheading reforms in the UN Security Council.

“It is incumbent upon us, as torch bearers of the Ezulwini Consensus, to rise to the challenge and ensure Africa’s geo-political presence in the UN Security Council,” Mr Lungu said.

The Head of State said this when he opened the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State Summit in Livingstone today.

President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma and his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingob, are also attending the Summit being held under the theme “The Livingstone strategy for accelerating the UN reforms”.

President Lungu said Africa needs to consult heavily and lobby the international community with one voice in order to realise its quest.

He regretted that the UN Security Council has missed the benchmark on adapting to the evolving demands of the global community.

He noted that 70 per cent of the Security Council’s agenda is on Africa and the region is excluded from making decisions on issues affecting the continent.

Mr Lungu pointed out that without addressing the prevailing grave discrepancy, the United Nations risks negating the gains it has scored in its 70 years of advancing democracy, equity and inclusiveness.

And President Koroma said it is time that the world corrects the present moral and political imbalance in the UN family.

Dr Koroma pointed out that Africa, with a population of 1.1 billion people, is the only region without representation on the UN Security Council.

He appealed to the international community sympathizing with Africa on the need for representation on the Security Council to translate their sympathies into meaningful voices and practical support.

Dr Koroma appealed to African countries to make 2015 a Watershed Year in the reform of the United Nations to foster unity and mutual respect.

He called on the Council of Ministers of the Committee of Ten to intensify outreach engagements at the highest political level with stakeholders.

And speaking at the same occasion, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Aisha Abdullahi, reaffirmed the African Union’s commitment to fully support the Committee of 10 in its quest to push for Africa’s representation on the UN Security Council.

Dr Adulahi said the AU will allocate funds to ensure effective implementation of decisions of the Committee of 10 in realising the Ezulwini Consensus.

The Ezulwini Consensus was mooted 10 years ago in Swaziland to push for UN reforms and Africa’s agenda for a permanent seat on the Security Council.

The ten member countries of the AU committee, which include Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Namibia, Senegal, Sierra Leon and host, Zambia, are meeting in Livingstone to strategize on accelerating the UN reforms.

The UN Security Council permanent members comprise Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States of America after emerging victorious in the Second World War in 1945.

Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President  Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari  in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President  Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari  in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu opens The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu opens The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 .Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President  Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari  in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President  Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari  in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President  Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari  in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone  at the Dr David Livingstone Safari  in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone at the Dr David Livingstone Safari in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu  at the Dr David Livingstone Safari  in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu at the Dr David Livingstone Safari in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President  Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari  in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council  on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.
Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu with Dr Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Nambian President Hage Geingob at the Dr David Livingstone Safari in Livingstone The Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the Security Council on Saturday 10th May2015 . Pictures By EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.

THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN : Post-Ebola Marshall Plan

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
OSWALD HANCILES
“Jesus replied,  ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done…’”Matthew 21:21, Holy Bible
Mano River Union (MRU) presidents, Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koroma, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and Guinea’s Alpha Conde, in public statements in Brussels and Washington  over  the past two months,  have called for a form of ‘Post Ebola Recovery Marshall Plan’ for their countries –  $8billion.   The Ebola War has meant about 12 percent loss of GDP for the three countries; and, fearful drop in livelihood for millions of their  peoples.  In addition, the three countries’  health sectors have been partially wiped out by the epidemic, or forced to divert resources to fighting Ebola –  at the expense of other diseases like measles, malaria and AIDS.
In a report by Bidita Debnath  in Tropical Disease News of April 19, 2015, Liberia’s  President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf  “… told global financial and aid leaders in Washington that the sum ($8 billion)  is admittedly high, but crucial to help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone recover after the devastating (Ebola epidemic)…”.
In a recent  meeting in the US, which included heads of UN agencies, the World Bank, IMF,  etc.,  the Harvard-educated Sirleaf  (she studied Economics and Public Policy at world-famous Harvard university ‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1969 to 1971, gaining a MBA) used a bit of the ‘rhetorical emotions weapon’ in these words: “Is this asking too much? We say no, because a strong Mano River Union can be a formidable force for recovery and resilience in the sub region.”    Emotive language can help; but, the 77 year old  Johnson-Sirleaf has to put into  play her vast experience on the international stage for a last hurrah to catalyze a Marshall Plan for the MRU. Sirleaf worked in the World Bank after fleeing the murderous Doe regime in 1981 (a finance minister in the Rev. William R. Tolbert government that Doe had overthrown in 1980, Johnson-Sirleaf was lucky not to be  tied to the stake on a beach and publicly executed).  She  worked in the World Bank briefly, before moving to Niarobi, Kenya,  in 1981 to serve as Vice President of the African Regional Office of Citibank. . After losing an obviously rigged presidential election in 1985, Johnson-Sirleaf worked for Equator Bank, a subsidiary of  HSBC.  In 1992, Sirleaf was appointed as the Director of the  UNDP’ s Regional Bureau for Africa at the rank of Assistant Administrator.
Both presidents Ernest Bai Koroma (who for almost twenty years was the successful head of the Reliance Insurance Company in Sierra Leone; and head of the main political opposition party in parliament between 2002 and 2007) and Lansana Conde  (Conde  understands the French language and culture!! The 77 year old Conde migrated to France at age 15.  In France, Conde was active in the National Union of Higher Education; and was a leader in the Association of Guinean Students in France, and the Federation of Black African Students in France in the 1970s)  share the same sentiments on  the Ebola outbreak: “The Marshall Plan was the consequence of a war. Ebola was like a war for our countries… We need these funds immediately…”


Oxfam also calls for Ebola Marshall Plan
Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of Oxfam International, has also joined the call for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola ‘Marshall Plan’.
Oxfam is calling for “an international pledging conference” to agree recovery plans backed by generous support from rich countries.
Winnie Byanyima said:  “The world cannot walk away now … Failure to help these countries after surviving Ebola will condemn them to a double-disaster. The world was late in waking up to the Ebola crisis…”
 
The Original Marshall Plan
 
Now, a bit on  ‘Marshall Plan’ history:  R. Glenn Hubbard, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush; and William Duggan, a  former Ford Foundation representative for West Africa,  write this about the Marshall Plan: “……More than 60 years ago, on June 5, 1947, U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall announced the European Recovery Program (later known as the Marshall Plan) in a famous commencement address at Harvard University. He said that it was ‘logical’ for the United States to do whatever it could to restore the region to economic growth, ‘without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace’. The plan, funded by the U.S. government and ad­ministered by a Europe-wide commission, spent US$13 billion over four years and engendered the highest rate of economic growth (about 35 percent per year) in European history. When the work of the plan was finished, the economies of every western European country had not just returned to prewar levels of growth and economic development, but surpassed them….”    Exhilarating that a Marshall Plan can be replicated in the MRU!!
The call for a ‘Marshall Plan for Africa’
The call for a Marshall Plan made by presidents Koroma, Johnson-Sirleaf, and Conde has been shouted  on rooftops by diverse intellectuals  for over three decades now. In a piece published on June 4, 2007,  titled, ‘Why Africa needs a Marshall plan’,  by Glenn Hubbard and William Duggan, I draw ideas on a Marshall Plan:
 
The original Marshall Plan was not a grand aid programme.  It was  a targeted effort to restore the power of business as a growth engine..
The plan had four main elements. First, a rich country – the US – made grants to European governments for restoring production through loans to local businesses which repaid them to their own governments.
Second, the second component was the intensive involvement of the private sector. The original initiative was run by business leaders, in­cluding the top administrator, Paul Hoffman of Studebaker Motor Company, then a major carmaker based in Indiana.The ultimate re­cipient of each loan — in effect, the unit of economic development — was an individual entrepreneur or business, not a government agency or nongovernmental organization (NGO). Money went directly to European governments, but they were required to use it to make loans to local businesses. The borrowers later repaid the loans to these governments, which could then lend them out again. This virtuous circle meant that all money spent on public projects would come from loans, most of which were repaid. It also helped ensure a focus on restoring the commercial infrastructure — such as ports and railroads, supply chains, banks and other financial institutions, and telecommunications networks — that would further boost economic activity.  Each European government spent the repaid funds on restoring commercial infrastructure to boost production, such as ports and railways.
Third, each European government made economic policy reforms to support their domestic private sectors.
Fourth, a regional co-ordinating body handled the distribution of funds among countries.
Grand foreign aid plans have little in common with the original Marshall plan . Aid plans foster government-led development with an emphasis on social services. The Marshall plan fostered business-sector development with an emphasis on loans and economic infrastructure.
The original Marshall plan had its own institutions: it created an Economic Co-operation Administration to run the entire programme, with headquarters in Washington and small missions in every European country. Each country had a special ECA account. Receiving countries formed a regional co-ordinating body, the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, which led to both the OECD and the European Union.
In the original Marshall plan, governments spent the repaid loans on economic infrastructure projects the ECA approved. The Marshall plan was competitive among countries: if one did not co-operate, another country was happy to take the funds instead. An African Marshall plan would do the same.
 
 
In his speech, Marshall was very clear that the “breakdown of the business structure of Europe during the war” was the problem aid must solve.
 
Glenn Hubbard and William Duggan argue that “Marshall’s logic applies to Africa today: a thriving business sector is the key to improving political and social progress. Aid must help, not hinder, and reform itself. Otherwise, Africa is doomed…”.  (Source: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/08203?pg=all)
Marketing of the Ebola Marshall Plan
The MRU presidents are clearly serious-minded people with impressive pre-presidential records.  The survival of their governments (or their legacies) depend a lot on massive infusion of funding as  propellants for ravaged economies.   For their citizenry to take them seriously, for those in the richest countries to listen to their appeals, they have to learn that one or two speeches would never stimulate a Marshall Plan.  The three presidents have to do a lot of ‘internal healing’ in polarized political spaces, harness the best and brightest of their citizenry, and do aggressive marketing of the need for a Marshall Plan locally and internationally.  The original Marshall plan started out with only 14 per cent of the US public in support. The tide for action was turned by an aggressive information campaign by US business leaders.  Lesson for the MRU leaders Koroma, Conde and Johnson-Sirleaf .  The opening quote is from the Bible on “faith”. The same Bible teaches that “faith without works is dead”.  The MRU leaders would show faith in their Marshall Plan appeal  by  their “works”.    A Marshall Plan for the MRU countries has  to be tweaked to face the sub-region’s peculiar socio-economic and political realities.   Would it be funds for governments to rebuilt broken down infrastructure – or, can we experiment with funding private sector health and educational business initiatives?  What can be done to teach the scary unemployed youth majority in all three countries entrepreneurship, and give them kick-off funding to establish businesses?
Can a Marshall Plan work for the MRU countries like it did for Europe?  West Africa  today is not the same as Europe in 1947. Despite the ravages of World War II, Europe then was in better shape than  West Africa is now. There is need for intense intellectual rigor and assertive imaginative thrust by the three governments.   I have faith that the Ebola  War can turn out to be a blessing after all – if we can use it as a ‘tool’ to catalyze a Marshall Plan for our countries.

APC Emergency Delegates Conference to discuss Ebola, but ex-VP’s fate to be decided too

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The fate of former Vice-President Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana will be decided at today’s ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) emergency National Delegates Conference.

According to the APC`s National Publicity Secretary 1, Cornelius Deveaux,  the conference will be similarly discussing the fate of other party members who were expelled or penalized along with Mr Sam-Sumana.

EMERGENCY DELEGATES CONFERENCE

 

It must be recalled that two months ago, former Vice-President Sam Sumana and the penalized officials were found guilty of anti-party activities and other ethical issues by an internal investigation. Mr. Sumana appealed against his expulsion.

The emergency delegates conference will also discuss other matters of supreme interest to the nation, like the Ebola scourge and Sierra Leone’s post-Ebola recovery.

 

 

SLRSA To Celebrate Global Road Safety Week

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

 

By Abdul R. Bedor Kamara

DR SARAH BENDU

 

SLRSA Executive Director, Dr. Sarah Bendu

The Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) would join other countries in the world to celebrate the Global Road Safety Week slated for 4th-10th May, 2015 on the theme: Save Kids’ Lives.

The theme is to highlight children’s plight on the roads, generate action to ensure and improve their safety and promote the inclusion of safe and sustainable transport in the post-development agenda.

SLRSA Public Relations Officer, Abdul Karim Dumbuya said that the theme, Save Kids’ Lives is a call for road safety is the world’s new goals and that in September 2015, Governments would meet at the United Nations to launch a new set of global goals for future development.

“The post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals will set the agenda worldwide on international development to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as road safety was not included in the MDGs. Therefore, action to reduce road traffic injuries and fatalities has not been a priority for policy-makers globally. We now face a situation where road traffic injuries are the number one killer of young people age 15-29 worldwide. Road traffic injuries have a health burden on the scale of malaria and tuberculosis and the death rate is increasing,” Abdul Karim Dumbuya enlightened.

He continued that the crisis is most severe in developing countries which account for 90% of the 1.3 million road traffic fatalities yearly articulating that the United Nations has recognized that road traffic injuries represent a major public health and development crisis.

The Public Relations Officer went on to intimate that in the first draft of the new ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, Governments have included a target to halve road traffic fatalities noting, “the Save Kids’ Lives campaign with partners around the world is now calling on world leaders to ensure that this target is in the new goals to be launched in September 2015.”

He also advised that the danger is that if road safety is not included in the Sustainable Development Goals, there would not be adequate support to ensure that it is prioritized worldwide, particularly in developing countries asserting that the consequences would be fatal as millions of lives would be at stake with young people being vulnerable reiterating that Save Kids’ Lives is urging world leaders to make road safety a priority.

SLRSA Executive Director, Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu lamented the frequent road accidents that kill so many children and young people reiterating, “we want road safety for everyone. The Child Declaration launched by Save Kids’ Lives to be delivered during the UN Global Road Safety Week, is a call for action to reverse the trend.”

She affirmed that these measures are already well known but often not implemented underlining that they are a priority to decision-makers in their development agenda.

Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu also called for a global target in a post-2015 Health Goal to drastically minimize road deaths stating that road safety is an agenda for health, education and eradication of poverty.

She further revealed that low and middle-income countries account for 90% of the 1.24 million annual road traffic fatalities, the number one cause of deaths for young people age 15-29 informing that the GBD 2010 Study and the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013 confirms the gap between developed and developing countries on road injuries informing that road deaths increased dramatically in South East Asia (66%), Central America (33%) and West Africa (112%) during the GBD period.

Dr. Bendu reiterated that road traffic injuries put immense burden on healthcare systems, diverting resources from other priorities observing that in many low and middle income countries, road traffic injuries account for a large number of trauma admissions, as much as 60% in some countries.

According to the SLRSA Executive Director, road traffic injuries weaken economic growth and that the costs are disproportionately borne by the poor disclosing that the World Bank has estimated the cost of road traffic injuries at US$100 billion which represents 80% of OECD aid in 2009.

She further stated that research indicates that the majority of urban and rural poor households with members suffering road traffic casualties were not poor before the loss of a wage earner maintaining that road accidents have devastating effects on education with hundreds of thousands of school age children in low and middle income countries losing their right to an education every year due to road traffic injuries.

 

Strife-torn “Concerned” Sierra Leoneans group fails to light up the United Nations

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

APRIL 28, 2015

Considering all the hype and hoopla in the social media , the so-called “Concerned” Sierra Leoneans yesterday pulled a very poor crowd and failed to light up the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the UN with their demonstration,  as they had planned.

For the past two months, the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) -studded organization,   also made up of relatives , associates and hangers-on of the former Vice-President, Alhaji Sam Sumana,  had been making a big noise about this demonstration , planned to coincide with the 54th Independence Anniversary of the country.

UNMASSIVE

THIS WAS THE LITTLE CROWD THAT TURNED UP TO DEMONSTRATE AT THE UN

Organizers of different shapes and sizes, led by dissident elements  Mustapha Wai, Jesmed Suma, Francis Mattia and Dr. Fuambai Sia Ahmadu ,  came on Facebook , Whatsapp and online forums to yap that they will embarrass President Ernest Bai Koroma and the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) with what they described as a “massive demonstration” that they bragged would draw thousands of Sierra Leoneans from all parts of the Continental United States. There was even talk of buses having been hired to bring in demonstrators from all over the U.S.

The group said they were protesting the dismissal of former Vice-President Samuel Sam Sumana , but recent events had proved that they were mere supporters of the opposition SLPP (who had hijacked the Sumana issue to promote their own power-conscious ends) and relatives and acolytes of Mr. Sumana .

Then came the day, April 27, 2015. Everybody looked forward to a grand and fiery demonstration. The day  instead witnessed one of the most poorly-attended demonstrations ever at the Hammarskjold Plaza.  The so-called massive demonstration that the group  had bragged about  turned out to be nothing more than a gathering of a motely crowd of fewer than 30 people,  with a bullhorn and a  musical set booming Sierra Leonean music and a few dozen people  that danced around the plaza with placards , accompanied by  their characteristic noise. As they carried out their  poor show, passers-by and traffic could be seen going by, paying no heed to them.

Usually, when there are huge and successful demonstrations at the UN of the scale planned by the SLPP , diplomats and UN workers and personnel and foreign journalists are easily attracted and they stand around to view the demonstration and listen to speeches made by spokespeople of the rallies. This demonstration, with its scanty participants , went unnoticed, like the other two demonstrations they held at the White House park and the World Bank. They had fooled the public that they pulled a sizable crowd at the White House, but what in fact they had done on that instance was that they mixed themselves with another different crowd of demonstrators from the Gambia , which swelled their numbers.

One reason that the demonstration failed to hit appreciable heights was that within Sierra Leoneans themselves, the group had failed to convince many people that they were fighting  a national cause and that they had an agenda  larger than  the blind ambition for power of the opposition SLPP. Secondly, the SLPP  had gone and shot itself in the foot last week by doing the same thing for which they are protesting against the APC–They fired one of their top-ranking presidential aspirants , Ambassador Allie Essah Bangura , in what Sierra Leoneans perceived as tribalism and disrespect for the due process of the law .This also quickly drew accusations from Sierra Leoneans that the SLPP  were full of hypocrisy and double standards and their demonstration should not be taken seriously.

The Spokesman of the so-called Concerned Sierra Leoneans group, Mr. Alpha Saidu Bangura, who had become noted for his advocacy on behalf of the group, was the first to withdraw, accusing the group of hypocrisy and calling for a boycott of the demonstration . Mr. Bangura , in audios released on the social media, said his conscience could not permit him to continue to participate in  demonstrations against the APC  for Sam Sumana’s dismissal when the SLPP  was guilty of doing the same. His views definitely resonated with other Sierra Leoneans who already had their doubts about the group and so their demonstration at the UN  flopped .

It is not known what the group planned next, but their series of failed demonstrations had failed to yield any dividend. On the day they demonstrated at the World Bank, the international financial institution approved millions of dollars for Sierra Leone to help finish off her Ebola fight. The group had advocated that ebola funds to Sierra Leone be cut.

Pro- President Ernest Koroma supporters and Sierra Leoneans who are propagating the ideals of good governance , peace and the Rule of Law in Sierra Leone, will be staging their own demonstration at the same sight tomorrow. They will be demonstrating to prove to the world that the self-styled Concerned Sierra Leoneans did not represent the views of the generality of citizens of Sierra Leone.

Pro-Ernest Koroma demonstration at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the UN tomorrow

Monday, April 27th, 2015

This is to inform all pro-Ernest Bai Koroma and Government supporters and members of the Sierra Leoneans For Peace  that the  rally at the UN will be held tomorrow  Tuesday April 28, 2015 . The demonstration will last from 9 am to 4 pm.

The venue is the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza before the UN  at 47th Street .

supremo listening

The Sierra Leoneans For Peace, on the other hand, will be demonstrating in support of President Ernest Koroma and requesting that the matter of the dismissed  former Vice-President be left in the hands of the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality or otherwise of the decision to relieve Alhaji Sumana  of his duties.

We are calling on all supporters of President Ernest Bai Koroma and the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government and proponents of peace and the rule of law in Sierra Leone to come out in full to  demonstrate our support for our beloved President , Government and people of Sierra Leone on Tuesday.

We call on supporters of the Government in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington DC , Maryland etc. to mobilize participants from their branches to attend.

Food and refreshments will be served.