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Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

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Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Joins IslandAid Sierra Leone to Commemorate World Biodiversity Day

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Mr Sidie Yahya Tunis today May 22, 2016 joined IslandAid Sierra Leone to commemorate this year’s World Biodiversity Day in a ceremony at Pepel Island.

Mr Tunis who was invited as Guest Speaker, began his statement by thanking the organizers of the program on behalf of His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma for their immense effort to bring stakeholders together to discuss issues relating to Sustainable Island Development.

 

tour 1

He said among all different parts of the Planet, coastal areas including Islands are those which are most visited by tourists and present economic activity. He furthered that Sierra Leone, located along the Atlantic Ocean hosts a vast stretch of coastline measuring more than 400km and harbors some of the World’s excellent beaches, exotic Islands, unique cultural heritage sites and interesting biodiversity and ecosystem.

tour 2

 

Mr Tunis also informed the gathering that unlike other countries, the islands in Sierra Leone for the most part have remained pristine and intact due to the low inflow of tourists and lack of access and basic tourism facilities and amenities, but furthered that though these may have hindered the opening up and development of these areas, they have also provided the opportunity to formulate Island development strategies at an early stage to prevent expensive mistakes and damages, thereby avoiding the gradual deterioration of one of tourism’s most prime assets.

He urged the Island communities to join the government to protect and preserve the Islands for sustainable tourism development, which in turn will create jobs opportunities and revenue for the communities and the country. “President Ernest Bai Koroma’s government places premium on the development of the tourism sector, which is why this sector is placed under pillar one on the Agenda for Prosperity” he concluded.

Ministry of Tourism and cultural Affairs Communication Office

Why and how the SLPP lost power in Sierra Leone

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

By Idrissa Conteh :

How and Why the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP )  Lost Power

1) Poor Governance and Corruption: The second term of the SLPP was marred by widespread corruption, poor governance and myopic leadership. The ACC existed only in name. The sources of wealth of senior government officials building expensive houses at IMATT was not checked though a ministers salary was less than USD 500.00 at the time. Most of the donor funds were misappropriated and the international community pressed for a regime change.

slpp_09-08-07_3

 THE SLPP’S FAILED 2007 CAMPAIGN

2) The SLPP had been shattered by too many internal political wrangling long before the 2007 presidential elections. The arrest and detention of Chief Sam Hinga Norman by the ICC was considered a sellout by most SLPP supporters. Legally, there was no way the minor agent could be arrested without the principal agent. Norman put his life at stake for the restoration of President Kabbah to power and his reward was disgrace and humiliation. Many SLPP supporters boycotted the polls out of anger and frustration over the way Norman was treated.

3) The Role of local artists: local artists waged a massive war on the SLPP exposing the corrupt practices of officials. Songs like Daddy SAJ’s “Corruption e Do So” and Emerson’s “Borbor Belleh ” raised the level of awareness of the electorate. The SLPP was ridiculed to nonsense.

Solomon-Berewa

SOLOMON BEREWA : WAS PUT UP BY PEOPLE DUMB IN POLITICS

4) The Charles Margai Factor: When Lawyer Charles Margai announced he was forming a new political party, he was underestimated by the SLPP. All the votes obtained by Margai were precious SLPP votes lost. The internal SLPP crisis continued to deepen with the Charles Margai factor.

5) The Gaddaffi Rice Brouhaha: The Libyan leader, Muamar El-Gaddafi visited Sierra Leone just a few months prior to the 2007 elections. A mass meeting was held at the National Stadium. After President Kabbah’s speech, Gaddafi brought out a long list of aid items he had sent for the people of Sierra Leone through the SLPP administration. It was the very first time the people discovered that a whole shipload of rice was sent for them. The whole stadium went haywire. President Kabbah requested VP Berewa to explain how the rice was used. Berewa said the rice was sold and the proceeds were used to set up NASSIT. Gaddafi was visibly disappointed as that was not the intended purpose. President Kabbah and VP Berewa were booed. The explanations did not sound convincing to the masses. The rice saga spread like wild fire in the harmattan.

solob_001

SOLOMON BEREWA COULD NOT FATTEN THE PIG ON THE MARKET DAY

6) The Broke Ose hullabaloo: Though the objectives of giving Freetown a facelift by demolishing unsightly shacks and recovering plots of government land that had been unscrupulously acquired sounded plausible, the way and manner in which this was done angered many affected victims and sympathisers. There were no resettlement plans for the victims and no compensations. The SLPP was seen as public enemy N0.1.

8) The Imposition of Solomon Berewa and Momodu Koroma didn’t go down with most supporters: Both men were handpicked by President Kabbah and imposed on the party. Many supporters followed Charles Margai or just boycotted the electoral process in protest.

9)The Kailahun episode: The barring of Ernest Bai Koroma and his APC delegation from entering Kailahun sent strong negative signals in the APC strongholds. Koroma and his APC campaign team were chased out of Kailahun, Seigbwema and Pendembu will stones and this in no small strengthened the resolve of the people of the North and the Western Area to divorce the SLPP for good.

10) Lack of Foresight and Effective Campaign Strategies: Though the SLPP were perceived as an elitist regime, they did not prove that in any shape or form. In 2006, when the SLLP lost all the seats in the Western Area during the Municipal elections, they did not know what to do in order to reverse the situation in the 2007 elections. The SLPP had also lost control over the police and the army and did not know what to do to reverse the situation in its favour. In African politics, if you have no control over the security forces, you have no power at all. The book men of the SLPP did not seem to know this. The army voted against the SLPP in all the elections and the regime had no figment of imagination about how to correct the situation.

parliamentary-history-kabbah-berewa

KABBA’S SINS FOLLOWED BEREWA

The SLPP supporters campaigned very badly. They became irritated and started insulting the electorate. The SLPP campaigners stoned the people with rice calling them illiterates. The people of Freetown chanted “we nor go school but we sabi vote”!

Berewa insulted Christians and later apologized after withdrawing the statement on the persecution of the Lord Jesus Christ. The issue of elitism was exaggerated by the SLPP which put a distance between it and ordinary people.

The SLLP was nil in terms of information management and dissemination. No proper media coverage was given on its activities in the interior though the party appointed one PhD holder after another as Minister of Information.

Sierra Leone hosts its first ever international women’s conference

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

By Anthony Bangura :

Honourable Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs, Honourable Ms. Neneh Rugiatu Turay, Deputy Minister, the Gender Directorate and the entire staff of the Ministry is pleased to inform that in collaboration with UN WOMEN (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), they will be convening a 3-days International ‘African Women In Leadership’ Conference at the Bintumani Hotel, Freetown from 23rd to 25th May 2016.

BLYDEN

 

His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has graciously consented to formally open the Conference on Monday 23rd May 2016.

The theme of the conference, ‘Women Engineering Change, Accelerating the pace in achieving results – Touching and changing lives and contributing to Sustainable Development in their countries’ is itself an acknowledgement of women’s contribution to sustainable development.

During the Beijing hosted UN Fourth Women Conference of Women in September 1995, the current Honourable Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden, at the then tender age of only 23 years, was given the global podium by the United Nations to address the plenary on behalf of female youths of Africa. Indeed, from the days of that global stage event from which she spoke, 21 years ago, the World has come a long way in empowerment of Women and Gender Equality.

Our respective countries have made pivotal strides and gains in pursuing the rights of women. This is particularly evident in the legal and policy frameworks that have been established to eliminate discrimination against women and promote gender equality and equity in the political, cultural and socio- economic spheres.

This Government of Sierra Leone & UN Women Conference seeks to celebrate those successes but more importantly, whilst it is no gainsay that our respective governments have made remarkable inroads in promoting women’s advancement in many spheres however the pace of progress can be accelerated. There is still so much to be done.

Women still do not form a critical mass in public decision-making neither do girls form a critical mass in persons who are accessing opportunities for education/school completion or accessing quality health services in their countries in Africa. These and other issues continue to pose obstacles to our development efforts as a country and a region.

The holding of this MSWGCA & UN WOMEN conference presents a unique opportunity to reflect on how far we have come as a country and continent; to promote sustainable development through increased participation and representation of women in leadership positions.

Additionally, this Conference offers a timely and most opportune moment and platform for celebrating women’s leadership and its concrete contribution to development in various parts of Africa as a way to motivate women in Leadership posts. This conference will also offer participants and delegates the opportunity to share best practices and learn from the experiences of one another.

From the Case Studies and Best Practices shared at the Conference, more enhanced strategies will be developed as one of the outputs of the Conference. These Strategies will be compiled into a Compendium or Toolkit for strengthening women in Leadership Roles in Africa.

The Conference will also look strategically to positioning African women in Leadership for the SDGs-Agenda 2030 and Beyond.

Women from some 10 African countries holding high offices and/or respectable positions as Cabinet Ministers, Paramount Chiefs, Traditional Rulers, City Mayors, Local Government Chairs, Civil Society Activists and more, will all assemble at the Bintumani Hotel for 3 days of deliberations. Already, female delegates from Guinea, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe have flown with excitement into Sierra Leone where they will join their Sierra Leonean counterparts.

Indeed, Sierra Leone is ideal to host such an international conference for many reasons including the current regime of President Ernest Koroma is recognized as one of the most gender-sensitive in the subregion. President Koroma has empowered and appointed a huge number of capable women into high offices.

Also expected to be amongst those formidable African women who will be making Statements is the Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai.

The entire Opening Ceremony of this international conference will be covered LIVE on AYV TV Channel 33 and AYV Radio 101.6FM as well as beamed LIVE around the entire world through the Internet on
www.Ayvnews.Com

feel free to share.

© SEA MEDIA GROUP.

NCD and NEC Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

 

Two leading governance institutions in the country, the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) have on Friday, 20th May, 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the conference room of the National Electoral Commission at Towel Hill in Freetown.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Honorable Nannette Thomas, said that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was an important milestone in building democratic good governance in the country noting that the MOU would help NCD and NEC to effectively and collaboratively achieve their mandates as prescribed by the Acts that created them. She said the two institutions are creatures of Acts of Parliament and that the MOU recognizes the critical roles these commissions are playing before, during and after elections. The Minster described the signing as timely and strongly believed that it would help in enhancing credence in the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. As the Political and Public Affairs Minister, she promised to closely work with the two governance institutions in ensuring that they get the needed support to implement the content of the MOU.

NCD 1

 

In his statement, the Chairman of the National Commission for Democracy, Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo, told the august gathering that the signing of the MOU was not based on a marriage of convenience, but a marriage of compatibility as the mandates and operations of the two governance institutions are mutually reinforcing. He revealed that the MOU would help them twin their resources and enrich the electoral process and strengthen the very pillars of the country’s democracy noting that democratic good governance in the country is faced with many challenges but with determination, hard work and purposeful collaboration, there is hope that the country’s democracy would soon reach it desired height. He revealed that the willingness on the part of NEC to accommodate and effect the signing of an MOU was laudable and worth commending.

Dr. Kargbo stressed that a key concept of democratic good governance is the conduct of periodic free, fair and transparent elections, a process that usually gives entrance legitimacy to our elected leaders and noted that NEC is responsible to regulate that and for it activities to be effective, there must be willingness on the part of the electorate to participate in a manner that the process could be described as credible. Also, he observed that for an electoral process to be effective as prescribed by best practice there must be willingness on the part of the people to positively participate through raising civic consciousness on the general citizenry with NCD charged with that responsibility. He revealed that his commission is working in a society that is predominantly primordial and thus making the work of his commission more challenging even against the atmosphere of diversity and seeming political apathy on the part of the people. Dr. Kargbo affirmed that the work would be easier and leading to an effective and successful electoral process when human and other resources of likeminded institutions are twined for the betterment of all.

NCD 2

 

He maintained that no one institution could achieve its goals without alliance and the forming of partnership in achieving institutional goals couldn’t only shorten the time of achieving it, but could also be more effective. He assured those present including members of the forth estate that the import of the articles in the MOU would soon be felt by the general public through the dissemination of key messages that would fully help them to understand the very essence of the electoral process to ensure a change of mindset.

In her capacity as Acting Chief of the National Electoral Commission, the Southern Region Commissioner, Augusta Bockarie, revealed that NCD and NEC had good historical working relationship that had not only been developed over the years but had placed credence in the activities and operations of the two institutions. She disclosed that the signing of the MOU would not only cement the existing relationship between the governance institutions but would also create effective collaboration in the areas of civic and electoral education. Commissioner Bockarie maintained that NCD has the constitutional mandate to educate the citizens of this country on their rights to vote and why they should vote and also educate them on the significance of political tolerance in the electoral process while NEC is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of conducting all public elections and referenda. She stressed that NEC would only conduct effective and credible elections if the people were properly sensitized on the importance of their roles in the electoral process noting that the two institutions are joined at the hip when it comes to executing and achieving their goals.

In his comments, Commissioner Macksood Gibril Sesay of NEC said that NCD and NEC have what he described as natural co-existence and none can effectively operate without the full support of the other noting that the signing is just formalizing what is natural. NCD Eastern Region Commissioner, Alhaji Sheku Kamara, reaffirmed that the two governance institutions have been partnering on areas of electoral education and currently on the boundary delimitation of which his Commission holds the national chair and vice chair for the Eastern region.

In her closing courtesy, NCD Western Area Commissioner, Georgette de Marke, said that NEC and NDC had taken matrimonial vows and she believed the vows would enable the two governance institutions to teach the people not only how to vote, but also prepare their minds for the electoral process including political tolerance, electoral honesty etc. She assured all that the MOU would build peace, development and cohesion not only for the two institutions but also at the national level.

NCD Chairman and NEC Acting Chief Signing the MOU.

Sierra Leone Embassy staff dies in Saudi

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

 

The Sierra Leone Embassy and the Sierra Leone Community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia received with utter shock and dismay the death of Alhaji Mohamed Mustapha Sowa, an employee of the Embassy after a protracted illness.

He died at the Saudi German Hospital in the capital Riyadh on Sunday, 22nd May, 2016. Until his death, he was the Assistant Liaison Officer in the Embassy. The late Mustapha Sowa demonstrated dedication, honesty and exuberance to all duties assigned to him since he was officially employed in 2007. Before that, he served the Mission in different capacities, particularly during the Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) for some years before he officially gained employment.

SAUDI

PRESS ATTACHE JALLOH IN BLACK SUIT POSES WITH MR. SOWA WHEN HE WAS ALIVE

Sierra Leone’s Ambassador who is currently on official assignment out of Riyadh says the late man was a devoted worker who was even ready to serve the Mission whilst in sick bed. Ambassador Kargbo is expected to cut short his visit following the death of his staff.

A Sierra Leonean who had known him for many years says, in terms of national service and generosity to his compatriots in particular and to other African nationals in general, he was second to none.

He recalls from the late 1980’s until the mid1990’s, through some of his benevolent Saudi connections, Mr. Sowa helped many Sierra Leoneans to cargo their household goods in containers to Sierra Leone free of charge.

Through his philanthropist Saudis, he adds, Mr. Sowa had been generously giving out food stuff and many miscellaneous items to Sierra Leoneans of all walks of life.

He will be remembered for his invaluable services not only to the Sierra Leone community, but other West African nationals as well. He will be sorely missed by all.

Both the Diplomatic and Local staff of the Embassy share this painful event. We extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family of the late Mustapha Sowa. We pray that the Almighty forgive him all his sins and make ‘Janatul Firdaus’ his final abode.
Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.

A few days before his demise, I sat down with him in my office and had an interview with him. Below are some of the photos.

Ambassador Ismael Koroma in New York to attend important meeting at UN Security Council

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

The Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the African Union  in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia , has arrived in New York  to attend the 10th Joint Annual Consultative Meeting between the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the United Nations Security Council.

ambassador koroma - Copy

AMBASSADOR ISMAIL KOROMA

The event, which starts tomorrow,  will commemorate a decade of the joint consultation between the two Councils. It will provide the opportunity for members of both Councils to take a strategic view at their partnership, as well as find ways to strengthen their cooperation moving forward.

Sierra Leone will be participating as a member for the first time in such meeting since it officially became a member of the AU Peace and Security Council in April this year , through the dynamic leadership of His Execellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and his team at the AU Mission in Addis Ababa, led by Ambassador and Permanent Representative Osman Keh Kamara.

The Ambassador was met on arrival by the Head of Chancery and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN, Mr. Alhusine Sesay, ESQ.

The Government International Media Network in New York will bring you all the details and photographs.

Turkey Assures Sierra Leone

Friday, May 20th, 2016
By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Central Asia

Sierra Leone’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Islamic Republic of Iran with accreditation to Turkey and other Asian countries has told Turkish Investors to take great advantage of the numerous investment opportunities in Africa in general and Sierra Leone in particular.

His Excellency, Ambassador Dr. Muhammed B. Fofana was addressing investors in the Turkish Black Sea Region of Samsun Friday, 13th May, 2015 where he was honoured as Guest Speaker for African Countries in a Conference titled: “Education and Business Opportunities in Turkey and Africa” organized by the African Students’ Association in Samsun (ASAS) in collaboration with lecturers of the prestigious Ondokuz Mayis University in Samsun.
Amb. Fofana (2nd from right) presents Salone Investment Brochure to Turkish Investors
 Amb. Fofana (2nd from right) presents Salone Investment Brochure to Turkish Investors.jpg
The Envoy used the opportunity to drive home the need for the Turkish investors to accelerate Africa’s economic growth by taking great advantage of investing in the continent’s vast natural endowment with a particular reference to his home country, Sierra Leone.
At the conference, Dr. Fofana showcased the potentials of Africa in terms of investment opportunities but also laid special emphasis on what Sierra Leone could offer to Turkish investors in its investment priorities for key sectors – including agriculture, infrastructure, fisheries, tourism, extractives, aviation, telecommunications, to name but a few.
Amb. Fofana presents Salone Investment Brochure to Turkish Mayor
Amb. Fofana presents Salone Investment Brochure to Turkish Mayor.jpg
The Ambassador described Africa as a safe destination for investors and referred to the business friendly environment in Sierra Leone which he said has started attracting many foreign investors from across the world following the devastating outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that saw GDP of 20 percent drop dramatically between 2014 and 2015.
He emphasized the potential for highly profitable foreign investment in Africa which he described as enormous, noting that numerous investment promotion agencies have been established across the continent to publicize Africa’s economic opportunities to facilitate investment.
On registering a business in his country, he said, the new business laws in Sierra Leone have made it relatively simple for any business person to register his/her business in Sierra Leone in less than 48 hours.
While speaking on the topics ‘Scholarship Opportunities for International Students’ and Investment in Africa and Business Opportunities between Turkey and Africa’, the Ambassador emphasized on the need for a new strategy of partnership with Africa for the mutual benefit of Turkey and African countries. He emphasized certain areas for possible investments in Africa and Sierra Leone in particular whose key sectors he mentioned with particular reference to the Post-Ebola Recovery Plan aimed at restoring and strengthening private sector growth and encouraging new inward investment.
Having thrilled investors, students and scholars with the vast investment opportunities in Africa in general and Sierra Leone in particular, Dr. Fofana also made a special appeal to the Turkish authorities to offer International Students scholarships to study in different fields that could impact positively on the overall development of Africa.
He noted that there are potential youths in Africa looking for opportunities to study abroad but to no avail. He expressed the belief that the Government of Turkey and the University authorities have the resources to assist African students by offering them scholarships to study in the technological and scientific fields, which he said are lacking in most African countries.
He, however, commended the authorities for their continued technical assistance to Africa in general and Sierra Leone in particular, which he hoped would be increased to a substantial level to benefit more African students.
The Ambassador hailed the ability of the African students to organize such a conference in collaboration with their lecturers, which, in turn, have attracted hundreds of investors, scholars, professionals, government officials, diplomats, students from other Turkish universities and many other dignitaries.
He admonished them to become the true Ambassadors of their respective countries and encouraged them to continue organizing such conferences that would give African representatives in that region a golden opportunity to continue presenting the case of Africa to the entire world, including its numerous investment opportunities craving for foreign attention.
The Guest Speaker ended his speech amidst applauses and speaker after speaker responded to his speech with great hope and satisfaction.
One of them was the Rector of the University, Professor Dr. Hussain Akan, who promised to see more African students admitted in his university before his four years term comes to an end.
Dr. Akan disclosed that there are about 250 African students from 44 countries only in his university and that there are more Africans in more than 200 Turkish Universities.
The Rector assured that because of the high demand for Africans to study in Turkish universities, both government and university authorities are working out modalities aimed at increasing the quota of scholarships for African students. Dr. Akhan also extolled the bilateral relationship between Turkey and Sierra Leone and assured that their technical assistance to Africa would grow from strength to strength.
He welcomed the ideas brought forward by the Ambassador on behalf of his colleagues and it was unanimously agreed that within the next few months, the University would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with some African countries with regards to some of the proposals made by the Ambassador.
It was also agreed that some education authorities from Turkey would be visiting Sierra Leone and other African countries to conduct Annual Entrance Examinations for scholarships at University level aimed at enabling more Africans to study in different Turkish Universities.
In his contribution, President of ASAS, a Sierra Leonean, Abu Kamara, pursuing PhD in Geodesy and Photogrammetry also praised the Ambassador not only for his academic prowess but also for his presentation of Africa’s numerous investment opportunities across the continent.
Kamara said the conference organized by ASAS in collaboration with the University lecturers was an annual event and that Ambassador Fofana would always be one of their distinguished guests in future. The organizers, Kamara added, were also satisfied that Ambassador Fofana’s speech gave serious momentum to the conference that moved the Turkish investors,
University authorities and other dignitaries that participated. On behalf of his colleagues, the President further thanked all the attendees and particularly the Ambassador for the appeal made for African students to be offered more scholarships in different disciplines.
On their part, the Deputy Manager, Foreign Affairs Department of the Samsun Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Onus Candice said Government officials in Turkey are aware of the investment opportunities in Africa and the environment created in many African countries for businesses to thrive. The official assured that they would encourage their investors to grab those opportunities especially in countries like Sierra Leone where Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is on the increase because of political stability and sound macroeconomic fundamentals. He said Turkey has been doing business with stable African countries and would continue doing business with them to strengthen the relationship between Turkey and African countries.
A representative from the investment community in Turkey also praised Ambassador Fofana for educating them on the investment opportunities in Africa, which, he admitted, they were not privy to. The investor assured that since investment opportunities still exist in Africa coupled with private sector friendliness, they were willing to send a team of investment experts to some identified African countries to do feasibility studies on the possibilities of doing profitable business there.
The investor however, acknowledged the fact that, there are a few successful Turkish investments in Africa whose businesses have flourished over the years; though most of them still have scanty information on investment opportunities in Africa and how governments are strengthening private sector growth and encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into their countries.
In another engagement, the Ambassador also met with the Governor of Samsun. In their meeting, he appealed to the Governor to encourage more Turkish investors to do business in Sierra Leone during this post-Ebola recovery era. He said the country has a lot of investment potentials with untapped resources to invest in. He also dilated on the point that President Ernest Bai Koroma has created a friendly business environment that has been and continues to attract more foreign investors into Sierra Leone.
In his response, Governor Sahin sympathized with Sierra Leone for the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease and its impact on the national economy and human lives.
He assured that Turkey would always support Sierra Leone in terms of dire need. The discussion between the two Government officials ended on a very good note with Ambassador Fofana beaming with smile for such diplomatic break-through.
The Ambassador also a paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Mayor of the Samsun Metropolitan Municipality Council, Turin Fakir. During the visit, Ambassador Fofana also put forward for consideration the visit of the Mayors of the Freetown City Council, Bo and Makeni City Councils to Turkey to twin with other three cities in Turkey to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between Sierra Leone and Turkey.
Dr. Fofana’s request for the three Sierra Leonean Mayors to visit Turkey with the prospect of twinning with other three cities in Turkey was responded to positively by the Deputy Mayor. On behalf of the Mayor, who was on an official assignment out of Samsun, his deputy said they would do everything that would be beneficial to both countries as long as it is in furtherance of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
It would be recalled that the Mayor Samsun city, His Worship Yusuf Zirya Yilmaz, had invited his Sierra Leonean counterpart, His Worship Franklyn Sam Bode Gibson last year, but other pressing official matters prevented him from visiting Samsun. But this time around, the visit of the three Mayors is expected to materialize and an official communication through diplomatic channel has started. The Ambassador concluded his official visit by meeting with fellow Sierra Leonean nationals who welcomed him to Turkey.
Addressing the group of Sierra Leoneans, most of them students, both in Istanbul and Samsun, the Ambassador told them to portray Sierra Leone as a safe trade and investment destination to Turkish entrepreneurs and investors. He briefed them on the political and socio-economic situation at home and that the macro economic situation had significantly improved because of the hard but sound financial disciplinary measures taken by the Ernest Koroma-led APC Government.
According to him, the “government has over the years succeeded in laying a solid foundation by implementing policies and programmes that have significantly transformed the landscape of Sierra Leone and created the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.”
He also urged them to remain law-abiding and be focused on what they are doing out there. He also appealed to them to return home and contribute to national development when they complete their courses. In their response, the nationals promised to return home and assist the Sierra Leone Government in its development strides. They also promised to remain law-abiding in order to portray a good image of Sierra Leone which would help maintain, and even further improve, the bilateral relationship between the two countries respectively.
At the end of his official visit to Turkey, the Ambassador was able to woo many investors and some of them personally assured him of their readiness to go and invest in Sierra Leone as part of their contribution to the post-Ebola recovery plans. “Ambassador Fofana’s successful visit to Turkey shows that he believes more in robust economic diplomacy than arm-chair diplomacy,” remarked a Professor of Diplomacy and Political Science at the Mamara University in Istanbul, Professor Dr. Aysegul Sever.
The Professor added: “Ambassador Fofana is introducing a novelty in the field of diplomacy to ascertain an undeniable fact that there is a lot that envoys can do for their countries other than engaging in what some may deem as ‘cosmetic’ diplomacy.”
He concluded: “It is like Fofana is implying that there is a great deal of substance imbedded in active diplomacy with a well-defined strategy.”

Ministers Of Political And Public Affairs Meet Bike Riders Executive (Okada)

Friday, May 20th, 2016

okada

 

In his welcoming address, the Deputy Minister Hon. Ackmed Femi Mansaray thanked the Bike Riders Executive for honoring the invitation and informed the members of the association that as a ministry in charge of political and public affairs, it is their responsibility to mediate on issues that affect the public thus the bike riders. Bike riders’ issues are no exception as they are of a public concern.

 

The Deputy Minister reminded the association that couple of weeks ago, his ministry had to intervene and stop some of these bike riders who were protesting towards State House Avenue. The able Dep. Minister instantaneously promised to meet with all relevant MDAs to discuss the issue of the bike riders. The Deputy Minister furthered reiterate the executive that there is a code of conduct signed between their association and the office of the chief of staff that they MUST abide with.

 

The deputy Minister further referred to other countries and informed that there are strict laws that bike riders should abide. Moreover in Sierra Leone, bike riders do not go by the rules. He therefore admonished riders to go by the rules. He again reminded bike riders that, the Ministry’s willingness and neutrality in all aspects (both public and political) are their top priority and he also assured the executive that they are always welcomed to the ministry to discuss issues affecting their operations.

 

In his statement, David Sesay, Bike Riders President, said that they are quite aware of the code of conduct signed at the office of the chief of staff but parts of it is honored by some of the stake holders. Mr. Sesay further high lightened some of the challenges they faced, which included:

  1. Invisible road sign boards – erected at “No Go” – areas by SLRA
  2. Deplorable roads along the hill side – By- Pass
  3. Unavailability of funds promised by SLRSA to conduct nationwide sensitisation on the Code of Conduct.
  4. Marginalisation on implementation of agreed policies to regulate Bike Riders by SLRA.
  5. The abrupt enforcement of the rules before the scheduled date of June 1st.

 

He also noted the fruitless effort he had made in trying to contact to meet with the Minister of Internal Affairs which the association is not been happy about.

 

The president of the Bike Riders’ Association, on behalf of his membership promised to go by the rules and seize operating in the Central Business District (CBD) which is the major concern of authorities.

 

In her key note address, the Honorable Minister, Madam Nannette Thomas, reminded the association of a Code of Conduct signed years back which is an eight- point resolution. This Code of Conduct document was agreed by both parties which were not observed by the riders. She blamed the riders of these problems facing them and they should direct issues through her ministry instead of going to State House.

 

 

Photos attached

 

 

 

Communication and Media Unit/MPPA

 

 

FGM : Deputy Minister implores religious leaders to play key role in addressing this menace

Friday, May 20th, 2016

bondo

Religious Leaders from across the country have held a one-day dialogue session on the way forward for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) at the WAYS Hall in Bo City on Monday 16th May 2016.

Presentations and discussions were based on the theme: “The new beginning” promoting women and girls from FGM. It can be recalled during the national address to mark the end of Ebola outbreak on 7th November 2016, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma spoke of “a new beginning” which warrants that “traditional practices that have negative impact on health, and which were discontinued during the Ebola outbreak, should not be returned to”. It was against this backdrop that the Forum Against Harmful Practices (FAHP) considers that this constitute an important basis on which to lobby, build allies and engage stakeholders like Religious Leaders to support legislation to ban the practice of FGM consistent with the many international protocols and treaties signed and ratified by Sierra Leone. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs in collaboration with UNICEF, supported the development of a National Strategy on the reduction of FGM in the country. The draft Strategy in now ready for finalization.

The Forum against Harmful Practices (FAHP) is a coalition of Civil Society Organizations formed in 2014 to work towards the abandonment of harmful traditional practices, especially Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in Sierra Leone. It is a national coalition that was formed to respond to the increasing need for collaboration among organizations working towards the reduction and ultimate eradication of harmful traditional practices.

With support from the Wallace Global Fund, FAHP has been organizing series of national dialogues and consultations with key stakeholders to map out the way forward for FGM in the country following the temporary ban on the practice of FGM as part of a series of measures to end the Ebola Viral Disease, in which FAHP believes that this could be built upon to advocate for a permanent ban as starting point for consideration of legislation against the practice.

The Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs said FGM which is done for traditional practices and none therapeutic reasons, can sometimes pose serious threat to the health of women and girls, through psychosocial trauma, reproductive health issues including adverse obstetric or prenatal outcomes, and in extreme cases it is been known to result in fatal consequences. Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay revealed that Pillar eight in the Agenda for Prosperity states against underage initiation or rites of passage for girls which is a commitment to international obligations already signed including the Maputo Protocol. “Our Government is highly committed to attain the highest possible standard of health for girls and women, particularly their sexual and reproductive health rights,” the Deputy Minister said.

Sierra Leone, she said is one of the three countries in West Africa with the highest prevalence of FGM figures in the world, with 88% prevalence among women aged 15-49, and 10% prevalence of girls aged 0-14 years. Madam Neneh Turay admonished Religious leaders to play a key role in addressing issues of FGM affecting women and girls just as they did in ending the war and bringing the spread of the Ebola disease to an end.

Reverend Moses Kanu of the Inter Religious Council said their participation in the dialogue forum shows that they should take responsibility of the outcomes and recommendations. FGM, he said is not a religious practice that should be supported. “FGM has placed people in captivity,” he said, and added that “we as Religious Leaders should serve as a light to bring them out of the FGM bondage.” “I will die for FGM. We should rise up to say no to FGM,” Reverend Kanu said.

The Chief Imam of Bo City, Alhaji Mustapha Joker underscored the importance of education as a strategy to stop FGM.

UNICEF’s Child Protection Officer in the South, Ishmael Momodu said the reduction of harmful traditional practices amongst women and girls is one of their priorities this year. He pledged his organization’s to support programmes and budgets that addresses the welfare of woman and girls in the country.

Head of the Bo District Human Right Committee, Anthony Blake said the reduction if FGM in society requires time and resilience. The harmful practice, he said is a violation of human right because it causes bodily harm. “We will join hands to make FGM a thing of the past,” he said. Other speakers include the Deputy Director if Gender in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Madam Goodie Wowonie and Madam Aminata Koroma. The event was chaired by Assistant Gender Director in Bo, Patrick Bangura.

The engagement brought to light the health and human rights benefits that extending the ban can have for the country and for its citizen. Presentations were made on the Islamic and Christian perspective of FGM, in which key issues highlighted shows that the practice is unreligious. This was followed by a group work where issues on how to stop FGM and recommendations were made by the two religions.

 

IFC helps SMEs in Sierra Leone Adopt Good Corporate Governance, Improve Performance

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping SMEs in Sierra Leone adopt good corporate governance practices that will improve their performance, and help make them more sustainable, strengthening private sector growth in the country.

IFC organized a workshop in Freetown for SME business owners, CEOs, senior executives, board members, and others that explained the relevance of corporate governance, and how it supports the growth and competitiveness of firms. Other topics discussed included succession planning for family-owned businesses, and how good corporate governance helps businesses attract new investors.

Frank Ajilore, IFC Resident Representative for Liberia, said, “IFC is committed to developing SMEs in Africa because they are powerful engines of growth and job creation. From our global experience, we know that good corporate governance policies and practices help businesses lower their capital costs, while making them more attractive for investors. Through workshops and seminars, we are promoting sustainable business growth in Sierra Leone and across the region.”

Corporate governance is the structures and processes by which companies are directed and controlled. IFC Africa’s Corporate Governance program helps businesses adopt good corporate governance practices and standards that reflect regional priorities. Improved corporate governance helps businesses operate more efficiently, and attract and retain investment, among other benefits.

IFC is a strong partner helping Sierra Leone strengthen and grow its economy, providing both investments and advisory services. IFC also supports Sierra Leone through its Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative (CASA), which is backed by Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway.
IFC’s Africa Corporate Governance Program is funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Switzerland.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

 

Deputy Minister, UNICEF visits Kenema

The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs has together with the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) held a two days working visit to Kenema District. On the first day if the visit, the Deputy Minister Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay in the company of the Deputy Chief of the Unicef Madam Sandra and other Staffs of the UN Agency visited the Nomo- Faama in the Kenema District where a meeting was held at the Faama Court Barry with key stakeholders and other community people including the staff at the Peripheral Health Unit (PHU) and school going children.

The purpose of the visit was to discuss with community people about their needs, and to supervise the work of Social Workers, Child Welfare and Mothers Group in that part of the country.

The community people expressed the happiness, stating that it was the first time a government Official has visited them.

The working visit continued at the Health Centre and the Police Post where the Deputy Minister spoke with the women and children.

A meeting with the ministry staff was also held, where the Deputy Minister encouraged them to work as a team and to ensure that the work in line with Government’s Agenda for Prosperity.  During the meeting a cross section of the disable people in Kenema visited the Deputy Minister to congratulate her on her appointment and also pledged their support towards the good role the Ministry is playing in addressing their problems. They took the Deputy Minister on a conducted tour of their vocational centre. “I am happy with the disable in Kenema who are engaged in the training of different skills,” Madam Neneh Turay said, she also made a snap visit to their tailoring centre and the blacksmith section.