Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 November 2022:
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone is once again being criticised at home for his ‘love affair’ with flying out of the country, at a time when millions of citizens are facing starvation due to food shortages.
Crirics say that whilst the President who left Freetown over the weekend for London, and his glamorous wife are travelling abroad, raking millions of dollars in perdiem at the expense of the taxpayer, thousands of Sierra Leoneans are dying of hunger, disease and poverty. It is not clear as to why the President is in London.
Last Thursday, President Bio held the fourth Government of Sierra Leone and European Union (EU) dialogue forum at State House in Freetown, since 2018.
Speaking at the Forum, the President said: “In an era of global interdependence, the EU needs Africa as much as Africa needs the EU. Risks and challenges faced by African countries may have far-reaching ramifications for Europe. In the midst of a seeming global reset, this dialogue we are having this afternoon becomes even more important.
“Sierra Leone is only six hours away from Europe. There are new and existing opportunities that we can further harness. I am hopeful they will emerge during the course of these discussions. I, therefore, look forward with open-minded optimism to the dialogue this afternoon.”
President Bio said that he was pleased to discuss very pertinent issues that continued to shape the relationship between Sierra Leone and the European Union, adding that he appreciated the EU’s support for key sectors of his Medium-Term National Development Programme, his Human Capital Development agenda for education and agriculture, in particular.
He also spoke about Europe’s support for the country’s infrastructure development – mainly roads and bridges, as well as governance – aimed at civil service reform, civil registration and Elections.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank the EU for your invaluable contribution to Sierra Leone’s development. I am regularly briefed by the Minister of Planning and Economic Development on the ongoing development cooperation and interventions across the country,” he said.
The EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Manuel Müller, said that the Forum provides an excellent opportunity for both sides to take stock of the most important aspects of their relationship with the country and the government.
He added that the EU will continue to support Sierra Leone’s efforts at consolidating democracy and peace; promoting stability and creating a conducive environment for human rights and the rule of law, as well as fostering prosperity and development.