Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 December 2016
Sierra Leone’s President Koroma has said, despite the difficulties that the country is faced with, his government will remain focused to its transformation drive and not allowed to be distracted.
President Ernest Bai Koroma spoke on Wednesday, 30th November, 2016, at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing, China, whilst addressing citizens and friends of Sierra Leone, at a welcoming reception hosted in his honour by the Embassy.
According to President Koroma, since 2007 government has remained focused and committed to the country’s transformation drive, initiated in 2007 through the ‘Agenda for Change’ and later an ‘Agenda for Prosperity.’
The President highlighted progress made over the years in the health, agriculture and infrastructure sectors, adding government has become more transparent and accountable to the people.
The country, he said, was doing extremely well to the point of becoming the fastest growing economy. The Ebola outbreak and drop in prices of metals globally however have had adverse effects on the country.
Despite all the challenges, the country, the President said, was still moving. Though Ebola has been defeated, he said, the effects left by the virus are still with the country.
By way of addressing those challenges, government, he said had to introduce post Ebola recovery measures and other measures aimed at managing government expenditure.
He assured, that with the measures recently introduced to rationalize government expenditure and with government commitment, the country will continue to undergo transformation as well as attract Foreign Direct Investment, all in a bid to reposition itself.
In the midst of challenges, the World Bank and IMF, he said, were satisfied with Sierra Leone, and all predicting encouraging growth rate for the country.
The country, he also assured, will therefore “not be distracted” as it will “continue with the path to transformation.”
On Sierra Leone’s relationship with China, President Koroma said, the last forty-five years of ties have continued growing, with both nations treating each other with mutual respect.
He also highlighted China’s support to Sierra Leone in agriculture, health, infrastructure and human resource building.
In his welcoming statement, Ambassador Alimamy P. Koroma said, China as a country has always held President Koroma in high esteem, something “the Embassy and Sierra Leoneans in China are proud of.”
On the president’s visit to China, ambassador Koroma said, Sierra Leoneans were looking forward to good outcomes, telling the President, “we are behind you as your citizens here in China.” (Photo: Senior ministers and the top ruling APC party contender for the 2018 presidency – Attorney General Joseph Kamara – front row far left, also in China with the president).
The ambassador briefed the President on the work of the Embassy, commending colleagues for their support and cooperation, saying whatever progress has been made so far, comes as a result of collective efforts.
Ibrahim Kai-Samba – a member of the Sierra Leone Community applauded President Koroma for taking the country through the challenging moments when Ebola struck. He also commended the President for fostering the ties of friendship with China, a country he said, is one to reckon with.
Saidu M. Sesay, president of the Sierra Leone students in China thanked the President for the provision of their annual allowances, assuring of their commitment to contribute to national development following completion of their various studies.
The President is in China on the invitation of his counterpart, with a number of government officials, including Ministers.
About the author:
John Baimba Sesay is the Information and Press Attaché at the Sierra Leone Embassy in China.