President Bio arrives in The Gambia to strengthen bilateral relations

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 February 2019:

President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and his wife Mrs Fatima Bio have today arrived in Banjul for the start of a three day state visit to the Gambia, hosted by the Gambia leader – president Adama Barrow and his wife Mrs Fatoumatta Bah Barrow.

President Bio and Madam Fatima Bio were received at the Banjul International Airport by President Barrow and Mrs Barrow with pomp and pageantry.

The colourful reception at Banjul airport demonstrates the high regard with which president Bio and his wife – who is also a Gambian national are held in the Gambia. Many Sierra Leoneans living in the Gambia were at the airport to greet president Bio and Fatima.

Presidents Bio and Barrow sat in an open rooftop car roof, waving to the jubilant crowd as the presidential motorcade drove from the airport. It was spontaneous and showed two Presidents who are not only popular with ordinary people but also two politicians who care deeply for ordinary people.

Also there were smiles and great sisterly affection between the two First Ladies at the Banjul International Airport. For Mrs Fatima Bio, the Gambia is like “home away from home”.

The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone is a true symbolism of the long and rich history between Sierra Leone and the Gambia; a product of both cultures and languages shared by both countries.

This state visit is symbolic as it is the maiden state visit to the Gambia for both President Bio and First Lady Fatima Bio since Bio’s election as President.

Later tonight, president of the Republic of The Gambia and Madam Fatoumatta Bah Barrow will host a State Banquet in honour of president Bio and wife.

On Wednesday, both President Bio and President Barrow will hold bilateral meeting at State House in Banjul, followed by a joint press briefing with both Heads of State.

On Wednesday evening, president Bio will meet with the members of the Sierra Leone Community in the Gambia on Friday 22nd February 2019.

Keeping true to her passion for healthcare, on Thursday, Mrs Fatima Bio will visit the Edward Francis Teaching Hospital where she will be received by Mrs Fatoumatta Bah Barrow. Later in the day, Madam Fatima Bio will be hosted to a lunch by the Gambian First Lady.

President Julius Maada Bio is also scheduled to visit the Sierra Leone High Commission in Banjul before returning to Sierra Leone.

President Bio is accompanied by the Chief Minister, Professor David J. Francis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs Nimatulai Bah-Chang, Head of Strategic Communications, Dr. Patrick K. Muana and the Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman, Yusuf Keketoma Sandi.


  1. The visit of our dear President Bio to the Gambia marks the historical bilateralism between Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Looking at the photos during his visit, one thing drew back my memory. The military dress code of the Gambians reference to Sierra Leone military.

    Sierra Leone military is far older than the Gambia in terms of establishment or in existence. In Comparing military dress codes, Sierra Leone military is failing in this capacity. My question is, why Sierra Leone military officers put on BERRET and with no BELT when on ceremonial duties?

    It will be of our national pride if our military top brass reintroduce to the Sierra Leone military ceremonial dress code, the WHITE BELT and MILITARY HAT. Make our gallant military men and women more decorative, radiant, magnificent, attractive etc etc for us Sierra Leoneans and other nations to admire.

  2. Mr. Sahr Matturi,

    You have a point. But let us not forget that state visits are sometimes done on the basis of invitation. Besides, the Gambian president, Adama Barrow, visited Sierra Leone last year.

    President Bio’s first visit was to Senegal. Senegalese president, Macky Sall, invited Bio a few days after he was sworn in as president. President Sall even sent his presidential jet to fly the Sierra Leonean president and his entourage to Dakar.

    Bio has also visited the Ivory Coast and Liberia, two members of the Mano River Union. And before I forget, Bio has also visited Nigeria and Mauritania. The Nigeria visit was especially important given the historically close ties between our two countries.

    Vice President, Dr. Juldeh Jalloh has already made an official visit to La Guinee. I know that Bio will eventually follow. Who knows if the modalities for that trip is not already been worked on.

  3. President Bio has visited Liberia, now The Gambia but not Guinea. May be he will visit Guinea next.
    I don’t know how presidential visits are scheduled. But I am amazed why the president decided to visit The Gambia before Guinea.

    Let’s not forget that Guinea is not only our neighbour or member of The Mano River Union, but also our brothers and sisters because they sacrificed their lives in the war for us. Also, many Sierra Leoneans fled to Guinea for refuge during the civil war.
    In my opinion, President Bio should have visited both Liberia and Guinea as his first official visit outside the country. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

    I know very well that there are no rules or law for that. It just helps with good neighbourly ties and courtesy. I thought that the president would have called a meeting of the Mano River Union heads of state to chat with the two other heads of state.

    Finally, let us not forget that a friend in need is a friend indeed.
    God bless The MANO RIVER UNION.

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