Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 January 2020:
President Dr Julius Maada Bio’s meeting with Antonio Rüdiger on the margins of the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London has yielded USD 101,000 (Le1 Billion) for Sierra Leone’s Free Quality Education initiative.
The German professional footballer, who plays as a centre back for Premier League club Chelsea, said he is donating the money as his modest contribution to the President’s flagship project, which aims to support over two million children in primary and secondary schools in the West African nation.
According to State House report, Antonio commended President Bio for his commitment to human capital development, adding that this is the bedrock for every national development.
Born to Sierra Leonean parents in Germany, Antonio’s parents fled Sierra Leone during the war and resettled in Germany. Rüdiger assured the President that he is committed to supporting his government’s effort at rebranding the natural resource-rich country with huge potential for investments.
“Sierra Leone is my home. I’m not the talking type of a person, I am about action. You can count on us and do not hesitate. We are here to support your vision and agenda, especially on education. I am ready to take on my responsibility to change the narrative and image of Sierra Leone,” he said.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Education, Dr Moinina David Sengeh, thanked Rüdiger and his team for the confidence they have reposed in the government and their support for the free quality education.
He explained that every fund was directed to meeting the strategic plans of the ministry, adding that every decision made for the allocation of funds was also informed by data to enhance delivery and achieve results.
First Lady, Madam Fatima Maada Bio, explained the need for every girl to be educated in Sierra Leone, citing major strides that the government is making to increase school enrolment and retention for girls.
The ‘Hands Of Our Girls’ campaign, she said, is designed to provide support and protect the girl child to stay in school.
She expressed her gratitude, on behalf of girls in Sierra Leone, for Rüdiger’s support for the Free Quality Education. She also asked him to not only be a brand ambassador for Sierra Leone, but to also lend a voice to the campaign.
President Bio said: “The narrative about Sierra Leone must change and it is the duty of every Sierra Leonean out in the diaspora to come on board the rebranding process”.
President Bio also expressed appreciation for the donation in support of free quality education. While assuring Rüdiger that the funds would be transparently utilised for the intended purpose, he also welcomed him and his team to audit the proper use of the funds at any time.
President Bio honoured Rüdiger as one of Sierra Leone’s brand ambassadors, reiterating the fact that Sierra Leoneans around the world are coming back home, keen on being part of the rebranding process. He assured the benefactors that their support would further strengthen the achievement of a developed human capital of Sierra Leoneans and capacitate them for the fourth industrial revolution.
Rudiger has made a good contribution to his country’s free education programme with a generous donation, but will he invest in developing the country’s industry and create jobs?
Thank you very much Mr. Rudiger for your gesture. The people of Sierra Leone welcome it. But I want to know whether Mr. Rudiger is German, Sierra Leonean or has a dual nationality? If he is German and the Germans accept dual nationality, then, another Diplomatic Passport should be ready in case Mr. Rudiger needs one. It sounds to me that he is German because of the the letter “u” in his name.
The government of Sierra Leone should print many diplomatic passports because, many returnees are migrating back home. Have to. The immigration department is going to be very busy in preparing diplomatic passports for returnees in the not too distant future I reckon. God bless Mr. Rudiger. See you sometime in Sierra Leone.
There is something that I wanted ask but had slept my mind when I chatted down my previous comment. And that is, What kind of tangibles that these African rulers get from flying thousands of miles away from their respective countries to corral in developed nations, aside from exhibiting a political jamboree for the world to see? Because as it stands, I cannot seem to envisage how this trend – which has significantly propelled its trendiness as of late – benefits the continent and its people?
I mean it is not as if these rulers have an harmonizing agenda towards lifting the continent from its current standard to something somewhat conducive for people to live. So why are they doing this? Do they think that this is a good look for them? I personally don’t think so. Furthermore, the justification for these political theatrics can’t be merely based on what Mr. Rudiger did or something in around that, for I’m sure such transaction can be dealt with without these men traveling ions of miles away just to make it happen.
Now, imagine if these rulers had put all that money that they have spent traveling, wining and dining into a productive concerted effort – maybe a school to groom better leaders? Man! that would’ve be something, wouldn’t it?
Shout out to Mr. Rudiger. for the well generous donation that he has provided the country with. More thanks to him for giving it towards education. For education is certainly key to permeate certain barriers that might be sealed off from persons without it. It’s something that is empowering, and to be empowered it means that you’re strengthened, in ways that the untrained, uneducated mind is unable to muster. Shout out to the president also, for making education a priority.
Bravo to Mr. Antonio Rudiger for his patriotic and philanthropic gesture towards Sierra Leone, our one and only beloved nation. This financial donation will indeed go a long way, if fully utilized, by the powers that be, in educating our younger generation. Despite its alleged poor planning and implementation, the free education scheme launched by the the regime is indeed an applaudable venture. Most patriotic Sierra Leoneans are praying for the continuation and success of this scheme. We hope the authorities on the ground will play their own role in serving the people rather than serve themselves(like we heard of the china-gate rice scandal).
He done a great thing that history will store for him and his generation yet unborn. He has shown patriotism, especially at this trying times, when our economy is stifled with high unimaginable inflation rate, mass sufferings, political impass and blanket corruption by our country’s trustees. Many times we heard about diasporas unflinching support to Sierra Leone, but not much has been used as promised. I want to believe that prez. Bio and his team will use the money for the intended purpose.