Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 September 2021:
Last Thursday, President Dr Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone held “a productive bilateral meeting” with the President of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, on the margins of the 76th UN General Assembly in New York, according to Freetown State House report.
Bio commended President Nguyen Xuan Phuc for his leadership in moving Vietnam forward, adding that Southeast Asian countries have made enormous strides in many areas. He stated that Sierra Leone could learn a lot from Vietnam – not just in agriculture but also in other areas of interest to both countries.
During the last 18 years the exports of Vietnam to Sierra Leone have increased at an annualised rate of 14.6%, from $854,000 in 2000 to $9.9 million in 2018.
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc is said to have praised President Julius Maada Bio for maintaining political and social stability in the resource-rich West African nation and thanked him for his kind words on Vietnam’s development.
The Vietnamese President formally invited President Bio to visit his country and expressed desire for the two countries to establish diplomatic relations.
“I am confident that under your leadership the cooperation will grow stronger and stronger. I am looking forward to welcoming you in Vietnam,” President Phuc stated.
President Bio in reply, said: “I accept the invitation very kindly, and I am delighted for the series of proposals to establish cooperation between our two countries”.
Both Presidents agreed on exploring trade and investment opportunities.
Yes as Bio alluded to we can learn a lot from Vietnam. A country that went through brutal war, caught up between East /West cold war battles. Since 1975 when the communist North Vietnamese army drove out the Americans, in the infamous air lift of American Vietnamese nationals, on the roof of the American embassy in Saigon, as communist North forces marched on to the city, making it as one of the worst American military capitulation they suffered in any war they have fought before and after. Today despite the huge bombing campaign, and millions of people that died, Vietnam have managed to pick themselves up, and have become one of the fastest growing economies in the Indo – Pacific region. Since our country is also recovering from the RUF war years, Bio might want to ask the Vietnamese leaders how did they manage to pick themselves up and make the right decisions for their country.
If anything Vietnam should offer us the kind of templates, of how a country can recover from war, and become on the economic success stories around the world. My only hunch, I think the Vietnamese leaders knows exactly their priorities inside out. The opposite of what we’ve witnessed about this government, that cares little for the common good, but how they are perceive in the public eye.
Maybe, Bio should ask the Vietnamese leaders, to help us develop our agriculture sector.Signing bilateral agreements where we have their expertise to train our small scale famers, how to be more productive in growing rice, and transfer of technological knowledge, will ease the burden on the government national budget on the importation of our staple food. Just like Vietnam, we have a similar tropical climate tbat is ideal to undertake such ventures. What we lack is the leadership that think outside the box.