Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 October 2018:
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – President of the Republic of Ghana, was host to Sierra Leone’s president Brigadier (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio, who was on a two-day official working visit to Ghana which ended yesterday.
Both presidents held a bilateral summit in Accra on Monday, 22 October, 2018. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo welcomed President Bio on his maiden official visit to Ghana as president of Sierra Leone, as the two leaders expressed satisfaction with the warm and cordial relations that exist between the two countries, and reaffirmed their determination to deepen and widen bilateral relations.
They both observed that the current level of trade between the two countries is low and required new and additional measures to improve volume of trade, as well as recognised the need to strengthen commercial relations between the private sectors of the two countries.
They called for the facilitative role of the two Governments in bringing the private sectors together.
Both leaders reiterated the importance of education as a long-term development tool. They spoke about the success of the Free Senior High School Programme in Ghana and the Free Quality Education Programme launched recently by the Government of Sierra Leone.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assured President Julius Maada Bio of the Government of Ghana’s commitment in sharing education experiences and expertise with the Government of Sierra Leone, as it begins the implementation of the Free Quality Education policy for primary and secondary schools.
President Nana Akufo-Addo indicated that the Government of Ghana will carefully consider the request of the Government of Sierra Leone for technical assistance in the form of experts in the area of technical and vocational education and training, and will work with the Government of Sierra Leone on the modalities for implementing the request.
The two presidents noted the importance of access to quality healthcare. President Julius Maada Bio expressed appreciation for the capacity development assistance that the Government of Ghana is providing in collaboration with Médicins Sans Frontières, helping nurses in Sierra Leone who are undergoing top-up training in Ghana.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said that Ghana is prepared to work with Sierra Leone to develop arrangements for an overseas medical personnel deployment programme to help the Government of Sierra Leone meet the country’s healthcare needs.
Both leaders stressed the importance of food security, and discussed the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme in Ghana and the new commercial agriculture policy of the Government of Sierra Leone.
They noted the need for national food security and the alignment of national food security strategies with the ECOWAS Regional Food Security Reserve, which is part of the Regional Agricultural Investment Programme.
Discussing the importance of cooperation in the area of energy, president Akufo-Addo said that Ghana would consider providing technical expertise to Sierra Leone to help develop the energy sector.
They discussed the fisheries sector of the two countries and expressed the need for greater cooperation, as well as enhanced collaboration at the international level – such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
The two leaders requested the Ministries of the two countries responsible for fisheries to forge stronger links of cooperation.
They spoke about the General Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries for the establishment of a Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation, and pledged to work towards the convening of the First Session of the Permanent Joint Commission as soon as possible, to enable the varied areas of cooperation between the two countries to be enhanced under a unified framework.
The two leaders discussed the African Continental Free Trade Area and noted its immense benefits on trade expansion, job creation and national welfare gains for all African countries. Both leaders expressed optimism about the operationalisation of the Agreement.
The President of Sierra Leone said that the Government of Sierra Leone will soon complete the national ratification process and deposit its instrument of ratification with the African Union Commission. The two leaders affirmed their commitment to pursue the agenda of an Africa Beyond Aid.
They reviewed the state of peace and security in the Region and noted the need for holistic measures and concerted action in addressing threats to the peace and security of the Region. They emphasized the need to address the root causes of extremism and terrorist violence in the Region. They pledged the commitment of their two Governments in countering terrorism and extremism in West Africa.
The two presidents reaffirmed the commitment of Sierra Leone and Ghana to cooperate at the level of ECOWAS, the African Union, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations and to deepen the shared values of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights.
They reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen cooperation between their two countries in all areas.