Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 November 2020:
Yesterday, Thursday, President Dr Julius Maada Bio addressed the second annual Pan-African development conference on innovations in agriculture, trade and investment titled: “Creating the Africa, We Want, Creating the Sixth Region We Want – through Agribusiness, Research, and Innovation”.
The virtual meeting, convened by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a specialised agency of the African Union, and the Centre for Global Africa at Delaware State University in the United States, is also the first global summit on the promotion of agribusiness between the APRM and its people in the diaspora.
In his opening statement of the three-day event, President Bio said that: “The focus of this conference on executing joint Africa-Diaspora initiatives to accelerate the AU’s Agenda 2063, while simultaneously advancing Diaspora interests in ways that are problem-solving, capacity building, revenue-generating, and mutually beneficial, is something that I value immensely as an African Leader.
“But this conference is also critical because it may help us design, structure, and concretise official channels and linkages for unimpeded two-way transactional activities that will help Africa and the Sixth Region create ‘The Africa We Want’,” Bio said.
He told the audience that they are now being given three key but interrelated tasks of how to identify the opportunities, structure linkages and investment interventions and create a conducive win-win ecosystem to support inclusive and sustainable development in Africa.
“Africa is home to more than a billion people, and home away from home, both culturally and historically (however, distant or near), for hundreds of millions more in the Sixth Region. It is a rich and diverse community of resourceful and talented citizens, full of enthusiasm, energy, and great optimism,” he said.
He also noted that Africa has a young and rising consumer population and a large potential market of 1.2 billion people, suitable for different potential diaspora investment portfolios and scales. He added that as African leaders their task is to first lower the risk profiles of African countries by improving good governance, fighting corruption, fostering national cohesion and peace, and creating an even, fair, predictable, and simplified investment landscape.
“My Government has focused on addressing all the foregoing perceived challenges. In most of our countries, we are working toward establishing a structured and firm bedrock for inclusive and sustainable development. In Sierra Leone, our Medium-Term National Development Plan lays out our development priorities that are moored on Human Capital Development (access to free quality education, quality healthcare, and food security). We also recognise that we can reduce poverty by creating jobs, lower import-dependency, and enhance food security if we invest heavily in the agribusiness sector,” he said.
The President also reminded the meeting of their responsibility as governments to establish the right context that would facilitate Diaspora investments in innovation and technology, adding that in Sierra Leone he has established a Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation to explore, develop, and deploy technology and innovation to support governance, business, healthcare, and research.
“This institution is a local partner that has worked with Governments, multilateral agencies, and the private sector to develop innovative technology-mediated solutions for Sierra Leone, including in managing the COVID-19 epidemic. But I also see potential for Sixth Region investments in knowledge transfer, innovation, and technology entrepreneurship that will develop bespoke solutions that address Africa’s development challenges”.
The organisers said they believe that the conference would trigger the development of a trade policy framework that could assist many African countries that do not have guided trade and investment policies.
“Historically, Black Colleges and Universities, along with panel of experts, will support countries in efforts to draft and craft new trade and investment policies and partnerships, based on the framework that will emerge from the conference, for desiring governments and private sector stakeholders,” they stated in their concept note.
Firstly, a million thanks to our older brother Abdul Rashid Thomas for the kind, heartfelt words he has expressed towards me and my ailing girlfriend during these turbulent trying times; She truly, deeply appreciates it Sir, and she is overwhelmed, grateful and impressed by your expeditious sincere response far beyond what words can ever express. Now lets take a good look at who is talking about governance and fostering national cohesion – a trickster and a hypocrite in true form.(lol) An unapologetic tribalists that proudly wears the deceptive changeable colors of a chameleon without any shame. A brutal remorseless dictator that slaughtered 40 plus unarmed, innocent prisoners and dumped them casually away like unwanted trash without offering any apologies to their traumatized families and loved ones.
It is only in Sierra Leone Criminals are allowed to hold important leadership positions – there are tarnished men everywhere, with completely tainted images, ruining and destroying innocent lives. Only in Sierra Leone, my only precious home is such an eerie thing possible. Hahaha look who is talking about good governance and fostering national cohesion – the anarchist lacking in good judgement that went straight to Makeni and brutally, and inconsiderately removed a resourceful community generator -slaughtering innocent harmless civilians and youths in the process – Good governance huh? Give me a break! Nothing’s change since these criminals assumed the reins of power but the lies being spread like lice, countless parasites spreading that never seem ready to vanish or die.
Empty promises coming from arrogant empty heads, is all we are hearing; brainless and aimless men gulping and swallowing huge salaries like sharks for doing nothing while the market women deserving all the help they can get, struggle and languish in the marketplaces with no customers in sight under the burning sun. First and foremost you will have to study and understand the alphabet before you can read, write and speak properly; similarly you have to govern meritoriously first and lead by a shining, spotless example before you will have the credibility to be able to talk about good governance and national governance sincerely. Our failing President doesn’t qualify!
Yeah. Senior and Petty Dictators all around the world, have started re-calibrating their brutal and dangerous inhuman strategies, towards embracing democracy, decency, unity and national cohesion. The simple reason for this is because, there is going to be someone, somewhere around zip code DC 20500 US, who has time to strengthen the organisations, that will pursue these dictators, for crimes against the vulnerable and marginalized in their respective countries. Whatever these dictators do now, won’t fly, because the damage has now been done. There is no hiding place for them down there. Be ready for the people’s power at the ballot box come 2023. Yeah.
From Kono City to State House, will be like from Delaware to the White House. Have they got the message? Have they started packing their suitcases? I hope they do. Is the APC listening and taking note? Absolutely yes!
Just imagine someone who has a brutal history of barbarity, bastardisation of the constitution, selective justice on corruption, unlawful incarceration of his citizens and opposition members and the list goes on and on, talking about unity and national cohesion. It’s ridiculous, odd to hear and just for the birds. Like the Americans, Sierra Leoneans have already decided in my view. Bottom line, we are going to kick their butts out of power in 2023. Period! Embracing democracy, unity and national cohesion now, does not matter. God bless Kono City and Delaware. Amen and Amen.
Really? Is Bio’s administration advancing diaspora interests by denying us the franchise? Are they providing the right context for diaspora Sierra Leoneans including international investors, to invest back home when the country continues with decadent infrastructure – for example, poor road conditions, disintegrating bridges, lack of reliable electricity, water supply and other public utilities? According to the world bank, Sierra Leone is in the 163 position out of 190 countries in the world where, it’s easy to invest. Is this lowering the risk profile of the country for investors to shore up, when the president was first to warn the world of terrorism in the country?
Is the Bio administration “fostering national cohesion and peace, creating an even, fair, predictable and simplified investment landscape” by unleashing a spate of political, tribal and regional violence in the country? How has the president’s policies and actions in any way, ‘focused on addressing all the forgoing perceived challenges”? I guess telling half truths doesn’t matter when it’s virtually addressing a foreign audience. Fighting corruption when corruption is still flourishing on his watch is in line. Consider the story not too long ago, of the Sierra Leonean diaspora lady who went home to invest in a youth center development, which was already way far under construction, when government functionaries resold her property to a Guinean investor.
The government watched the lady’s property demolished and while she had pleaded with president Bio for help, to get back what was rightfully her own, her prayers went on deaf ears. Obviously, this sort of stories are not inspiring. Lastly, if I may also ask because, the president spoke of all these good things, how many jobs have the administration created for the youths in the country since 2018? I ask these few questions because the president talked of improving good governance and he is now nearly three years in office. When he spoke so eloquently, on his responsibility and focus on the issues and challenges, I take him seriously.
There are many ways you can describe Pan- Africanism, but strictly speaking and to it’s narrowest sense, those that advocated it, see it as the only way descendants of the slave trade and Black Africans in the continent can come together, and develop this huge continent with abundance of natural resources, with its rich history and human population to escape poverty and wretchedness their slave masters have put them through both physically, and mentally. This theory was first advanced in the late 19th century by intellectuals that emerged from the slave trade in the deep south of the United States and the west indies.
I doubt whether our president can fill those shoes. So when Bio talks of inclusiveness, I hope he is thinking of his government. Because so far all his polices are a direct contradiction to the ideas of these giant pan-Africanist intellectuals. Here we are in the 21st century, it is still a topic of discussion. Ethiopia is in a state of war with its own citizens because people in Tigray feel discriminated against by the federal government. Some parts of West Africa are in the grip of Islamist terrorist. DRC Congo, Mozambique, central Africa, Somalia, Darfur, South Sudan are all in a state of flux. It goes to show how far our continent has advance.
“The BACK TO AFRICA” theory gathered steam in the early part of the 20th century. Men like Martin Delany and W. E. B. Du Bois, George Pedmore, Edward Blyden, ring any bells, rather ironical our president is sharing his ideas about how to grow our continent technologically and economically to become self sufficient, with help from the diaspora – the very ideas advanced by Pan Africanist like Edward Blyden, during his life time. The irony of all ironies president Bio’s government is going after his granddaughter in a political witch hunt trial. Talking of the diaspora , his government is still promoting a law that denies Sierra Leoneans abroad from taking part in the electoral process in our country. Or is this just another fruitless public relations exercise which this president, and his government have mastered since his election. May God bless Sierra Leone.