Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 August 2019:
Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio is in Japan to attend the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) in Yokohama, after much criticisms from the opposition and the media about the excessive cost of travelling of his government officials. (Photo above: President Bio greeted by Japan government officials).
The president, just few weeks ago, imposed a ban on all official trips abroad for ministers and senor officials, and the expectation was that the president would lead by example, to help reduce government spending.
Euphemistically dubbed by State House media as president Bio’s “TRIP NUMBER 51” abroad, analysts say that such cavalier response to citizens’ anxiety about the government’s spiralling cost of overseas travelling is nothing short of being arrogant and disrespectful – adding insult to injury.
The hope though is that the president will prove his critics wrong that such visits abroad do yield economic dividend that is yet to be seen, as Sierra Leone’s economy continues to falter towards bankruptcy.
According to State House press statement, the 2019 TICAD7 Summit taking place in Japan, which starts tomorrow 28th August and ends 30th August 2019, will focus on “Advancing Africa’s development through people, technology and innovation”.
President Julius Maada Bio, the statement says, is expected to speak with investors at the TICAD Luncheon. The event is aimed at promoting Japanese private investment in Africa by showcasing a successful Japanese agribusiness investment in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance – Jacob Jusu Saffa will also speak about “The key factors needed to mobilize private investment in Sierra Leone”.
The Tokyo International Conference on African Development is a summit-level international conference focusing on development in Africa (TICAD).
It was created in 1993 by the Government of Japan to promote policy dialogue between leaders of African countries and development partners on pressing issues facing Africa, such as economic development, poverty, and conflict.
Since its inception, TICAD has evolved into a significant global framework to facilitate the implementation of measures for promoting African development under the principles of African “ownership” and international “partnership”.
The Summit is co-organized by the Government of Japan, the United Nations (UN), the World Bank (WB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the African Union Commission (AUC).
President Bio and his entourage are expected back in Freetown on 1st September 2019, hopefully with better news about potential inward investments for Sierra Leone that will create much needed jobs and increase the country’s export earnings.