Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 January 2023:
Classed as one of the poorest nations in the world that cannot survive without handouts from the international community, questions are being asked about the rationale for spending millions of dollars in constructing a foreign service academy in Sierra Leone.
Why should building a foreign service academy be a priority for a country where thousands of children die every year of malnutrition, pregnant women die before or during childbirth because of poor healthcare, millions going hungry every day, and hundreds of thousands of children sitting on floors in poorly constructed schools with no water or toilet facility?
Both President Bio and the Chinese government believe that a foreign service academy is a priority for the poor people of Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the opening event two days ago, President Bio said: “We will focus on upskilling and reskilling the existing foreign service workforce through the Foreign Service Academy. Also, the Academy will recruit and train a dedicated cadre of professional career diplomats that will be globally competitive in our ever-changing world.”
The new Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Wang Qing, agrees: “Capacity building is essential to building our nations. I hope and believe that this academy will become Sierra Leone’s cradle of diplomats, with more career diplomats in this country and in Africa.”
But how important is Sierra Leone’s voice in global strategic diplomacy, if the government cannot even convince investors to invest in the country’s economy because of corruption, poor governance, and human rights abuses – to which the Chinese government turns a blind eye?
During the opening ceremony, President Bio expressed sincere gratitude to the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, for his government’s generosity and commitment to supporting his country’s sustainable development and socioeconomic transformation.
“This strategic partnership continues to forge closer economic ties, deepen cooperation, and support my government’s vision for developing key growth sectors, including health, agriculture, education, infrastructure, and defense, and building a resilient economy.
“With President Xi Jinping’s and his government’s support, we have registered significant progress in each of those sectors,” President Bio said.
The President also said that over the past four and a half years his government’s main foreign policy focus has involved strengthening external relations for integration, adding that his New Direction Agenda promoted international cooperation built on mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual benefit with strategic partners. (Photo above: One of the classrooms in the new foreign service academy in Freetown).
“We have strategically rebranded our great nation and repositioned it with pride in the community of nations through proactive, constructive, and productive engagements with the world. A necessary policy action to strengthen international cooperation outlined in my government’s Medium-Term National Development Plan was establishing a Foreign Service Academy to train and produce career diplomats for global engagement,” he said. (Photo below: Many children in Sierra Leone are learning in very poor conditions).
Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency Wang Qing, said that “since the establishment of diplomatic relations 52 years ago, China and Sierra Leone have always been good friends, good brothers, and good partners We treat each other as equals and cooperate for mutual benefits and common development;” and that “under the strategic guidance of His Excellency President Xi Jinping and Your Excellency, Julius Maada Bio, we are sure that China-Sierra Leone relations will have a more shining and promising future.”
Speaking at the recent US/Africa Summit, Sierra Leone’s foreign minister – Francis, could not help telling half-truths and lies about development in Sierra Leone and the state of politics in the country. This is what he said:
Kotor Jalloh and Kotor Sorie, no one can better communicate our sentiments than the two eloquent commentaries you guys recently dropped . A country with no pipe borne water system, no proper Health care systems, a country bleeding with TYPHOID and its related health hazards could waste such scarce resources on fanciful project like the nonsense plane field is a sick place to be .You visit these facilities and experience the worst of unhygienic scenes- no water yet the toilets got to be used and our leadership doesn’t think water is a national emergency. Indeed, we’re all very sick to be recycling the very people whose only job is kill the nation at will .
A leadership of country without acknowledging the reverberating consequences of not having safe drinking pipe borne water whilst screaming development of airport and others is unimaginably redundant, what a silly priority. Here is an unequivocal fact ,any country without an uninterrupted safe drinking water is not only poor but deeply underdeveloped. You just walk around Freetown and visit these buildings , most of the toilets’ do not function , those that do, are horribly unhygienic. Is the president not aware of the exponential growth in TYPHOID related deaths and diseases marauding the populace. Sierra Leone is a joke man, this New Dereliction is really working
Ok ohhh…mr minister has dubbed Sierra Leone “the new el dorado”.
El Dorado is a 17th century interlopers myth that spurred the savage exploitation of the Americas and metaphorically used to describe the ‘get rich quick’ model.
Meanwhile…we trudge our tired souls up the slopes of sugar candy mountain.
Maada Bio, his foreign minister, David Francis, and the rest of the executive branch of government, do not have the foggiest clue as to how to prioritise things to lift the country and the majority of the people out of crippling poverty and hopelessness.
Bio is leading a nation which constantly and consistently ranks at the bottom of all social and economic indices in the world , and the best he can do is construct a building to train foreign service officers ; the trappings of lack of economic progress mean nothing to him. The whole melancholic scene is propelled by the fact that Bio and his entire entourage eat well everyday, they lack nothing. When they fall ill they are flown out on hired jets to receive the best treatment overseas at our expense. They couldn’t care less if the sides of the runway are piled with corpses of people who have died of malnutrition related illnesses or just simple despondency. They have no conscience. Earnest used to go to Germany for Medical checkup, Bio goes to Britain; they’re on welfare under our banner.
As a people we must accept some responsibility for our predicament. Our behaviour lends support to our leaders’ cavalier attitude towards us; they know that we have a frightening bad memory which borders on dementia; they prey on this knowledge to take measures which hardly extricate us from utter misery. How does a foreign service academy put bread on the table ?
We shall be the way we are until something somewhere knocks some sense into our collective head. APC lost power five years ago because of massive corruption among other reasons. The Commission of Inquiry revealed that. SLPP took over and what has changed? We are stupidly ready to vote APC back in, and the same old mess will continue. For heaven’s sake let us try NGC.
For all we know the foreign service academy (I refuse the use of capital letters) is an undercover down payment by the Chinese for a piece of our country which Bio has sold to them. The Black Johnson Beach deal fell through because of public outcry, and so Bio changed tactics.
The trouble with our country , we are the ones that create our problems by engaging in corrupt practices , then the same people that created the problems will come forward and promised the population that if we elect them , they will fight and eliminate the problem of corruption which we helped create in the first place . The only way we can stop corruption is to stop being corrupted in the first place .That way any future government of Sierra Leone will not rely on foreign assistance to complete this sort of projects .If our country is corrupt free, any sitting government should able to provide the funding for this sort of projects and many more around the country . Projects like this should be front and centre of government policy .Roads , Bridges, Schools , universities , hydro electric dams , health centres , Housing and Urban planning and tackling the issues that matters to people like how to protect our environment ,should be top prioritise for our government .But corruption in government won’t let us .Instead when a report like the US sponsored MCC score card report comes out, and praises the Bio government for fighting corruption , we are supposed to singing his government praise. Which in itself is contradictory .We should not be fighting a problem that we master minded and helped create in the first place . Corruption should not exist to point the state has failed to function as an independent sovereign state .As citizens and a government of a states we should not be fighting corruption, because corruption is not natural occurrence or an out of control virus ,but a man made problem created by corrupt and greedy elected public officials that claimed to represent the interests of their people in the heart of govnement .This foreign service academy facility built under written by the Chinese communist government is one more step by the communist regime in Beijing ,getting a political foothold in the way our country is run , not for the interest of the ordinary man around PZ , or Devil Hole , or some of the poorest areas in our country , but first to the interest of China and her people ,and to the children of our ministers, and their associate using this foreign services, academy to train the future corrupt leaders of Sierra Leone that are beholden and looking after the interest of the communist regime in China than the interest of ordinary Sierra Lroneans . This foreign service academy will act as a magnetic pull factor for the children of corrupt politicians . A spring board that will see them trained in Chines universities and political institutions .How many Children that came from poor background , and their families that can not afford to feed themselves will book a place at this foreign service Academy? At some stage we will come to the realisation that this Academy will be paid for one way or other .There is no such thing like a free meal .And although the Chinese communist government stans on none interference on political demostic affairs of other countries , over the last few decades across the African continent ,we’ve seen how China is increasingly offering these sort of projects to corrupt and out of touch governments that have failed to deliver on their promises they made to their people , only for this sort of projects to appear to lend the lie that the government in power has done some thing for the people . We seen it in Tanzania, and Zambia, where the Chinese where accused of election interference . but no one can prove it because is hidden like in this sort of projects .Why was this project completed with all the fanfare that goes with it , in an election year .?The Chines government might claim they don’t interfere in country’s domestic political affairs , maybe what they meant you won’t see them going around the country helping organize campaign rallies for Boi, but given how our people respond to this sort of projects , they might lend credence that this sort of project will increase Bio’s re-election chances against the APC Candidate in the up coming presidential election .So who is fooling who
Who are you to determine that The Foreign service building a misplaced priority.
As long as it is Pa-O-pa, it’s considered misplaced?. Ah Salone!
Fantastic piece which is why this government keeps failing on a daily basis. They’ve lost touch of a poor nation and are doing whatever comes to their mind.
They’re nothing but criminals- a coccain sniffing cartel