Sierra Leone president Koroma in Israel – but can he serve two masters?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 January 2017

President Koroma has made his first visit to Israel since becoming president in 2007, and in less than fifteen months before leaving office. (Photo: Courtesy of epa).

His visit to Israel is as symbolic as it is historic. But policy analysts are questioning why after just one month of returning from a working visit to China to strengthen economic, security, and bilateral relations with the Chinese, president Koroma has now headed to Israel in search of that which he has been promised by the Chinese – cash, security, investments, and technical expertise.

Sierra Leone’s economy is in dire straits, and the Koroma government is in need of cash to pay salaries and run public services. So, every little help from anywhere, would be welcomed.

Since his election in 2007, the ruling APC party has not only strengthened its political relationship with China, but has strongly promoted the interests of the Chinese, including their ‘One China policy’ as well as their claims to territorial islands across the South China Sea.

And in return for the ruling party’s loyal friendship with China, last month the Chinese rewarded president Koroma with millions of dollars in cancelled debts, and promise of more investments in Sierra Leone’s industries, health, education and security.

So why turn now to Israel?

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