Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 April 2019:
Yesterday, president Bio and the mayor of the capital Freetown – Yvonne Aki Sawyerr, arrived in Canada for a five-day Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) conference, where president Bio will deliver a keynote speech on ‘Leadership’.
The TED conference is taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia, starting today 15th April and ending on the 19 April.
TED conference brings global leaders from industry, government and other public services together to discuss global challenges. The theme for this year’s Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) Conference is “Bigger Than Us”.
President Bio’s leadership has inspired many around the world, after winning a fiercely fought election just over twelve months ago.
It is understood he will be the only sitting Head of State to speak at the conference this year, along with the mayor of Freetown – Yvonne Aki Sawyerr (Photo).
Over 1,000 professionals in the fields of science, technology, medicine, architecture, economics, geography, education, literature, law, history, entertainment and politics are expected to attend the conference.
The conference will focus on “exploring technologies that evoke wonder and tantalize with superhuman powers, mind-bending science that will drive the future as significantly as any politician, the design of cities and other powerful human systems that shape our lives, awe-inspiring, mind-expanding creativity and, most of all, the inspiring possibilities that happen when we ask what ideas are truly worth fighting for, worth living for.”
As the first African Head of State to establish a Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation within the Office of the President, president Bio is expected to share his personal journey to the presidency, his commitment to human capital development, his belief in youth as leaders, and the importance of science and technology in transforming governance in Sierra Leone.
Speaking about President Bio’s participation at the TED 2019 conference, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman – Yusuf Keketoma Sandi said: “President Bio has become the champion of Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa. The TED event will give him an opportunity not only to attract scientists, technologists and innovators to Sierra Leone but also to continue in rebranding our great country from a nation of natural disasters to a nation of innovation and technology”.
President Bio departed Freetown yesterday Sunday 14th April 2019 and is expected to return on Friday, 19th April 2019.
Keen on controlling public spending, especially overseas travel, President Bio is beleived to have left Freetown along with a relatively smaller entourage comprising of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooporation – Dr Alie Kabba, the Mayor of Freetown – Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the Chief Innovation Officer – Dr David Moinina Sengeh (who is a Senior TED Fellow) and key members of the Innovation Directorate.
But critics say that the president must now focus on bread and butter issues facing the people of Sierra Leone – management of the economy which has seen a 25% fall since the end of the Ebola virus in 2015.
Sierra Leone’s economic growth is slow, interest rates and exchange rates have gone up, and inflation and unemployment remain sturbbornly high.
There are calls for the president to put all energies on the economy, especailly the growth of key sectors such as agro-based industries to create jobs.