Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 February 2019:
Sierra Leone’s minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation – Dr. Alie Kabba and Japan’s ambassador to Sierra Leone – Tustonu Himeno, signed Food Aid Programme agreement yesterday, Tuesday, 26th February 2019.
Speaking about the agreement, the Japanese Ambassador said the signing of notes for the Food Aid Programme will contribute to the government’s Free Quality Education and School Feeding Programmes.
He said, Japan has always been there to support Sierra Leone and that they will continue to do so through the government’s education, health, agriculture and infrastructure development strategies.
Mr Tustonu Himeno said Sierra Leone and Japan are friends and that the two countries have been working together on a number of JICA supported development programmes.
He spoke about Minister Kabba’s discussion with his Japanese counterpart and other government officials at the TICAD summit last year, aimed at leveraging more development programs for Sierra Leone.
This year’s TICAD Conference he said, will be very important – as it will bring the two Presidents, their governments and people closer together than before. He assured that Japan will continue to support Sierra Leone in her development strides.
Minister Dr. Alie Kabba expressed deep appreciation on behalf of President Julius Maada Bio for the historic ties the two countries have established since independence. He noted the depth of bilateral relationships they have maintained.
He said the signing ceremony is a testament to that long history of engagement, and that he is pleased JICA is looking at expanding its geographical operations.
He told the Ambassador that, under the New Direction, president Bio always emphasise the need for his government officials to focus on an inclusive governance and development, ensuring that every part of the country benefits from the National Development Plan.
Dr. Kabba said that, as a government, they appreciate the specific focus of Japan on the New Direction’s major flagship programmes. He said the government’s focus on the Free Quality Education is to ensure that they address not only the needs in the classrooms, but to make sure that no child goes to school hungry and that all children should have access to the Free Quality Education.
Minister Kabba said Japan’s government emphasis on supporting the Free Quality Education speaks volume to their commitment to the New Direction’s National Development Plan which will soon be launched.
He further expressed appreciation for the government of Japan’s focus on Sierra Leone’s agricultural sector, which is one of the pillars of the New Direction National Development Plan.
He said their aim in promoting agriculture in the country is to achieve national food security. This he said is a goal set by president Bio.
Minister Kabba said his government is confident that, they can count on Japan’s expertise to ensure that the country grows its own food and invest in large scale agriculture in order to maximise the productivity of the country’s agricultural land. This is in line with the Bio led government’s strategy, whose aim is to promote agriculture as a career for young people in the country, so as to elevate the people of Sierra Leone from poverty, minister Kabba said.
Good gesture by Japan but too shameful on the part of sierra Leone. How much fertile lands does Japan has yet able to feed its people and now extending food aid to sierra Leone. Wake up Africa! Stop stealing from your people and let technology do the needful. We can feed the entire world and still live without want if we choose to do so. We have all the resources to succeed.
You are soooooooo right Mrs. Gyamfuaa!
Sierra Leone was once called the “barn of West Africa”. Those of us who were in Secondary school in the late 50s and early 60s would remember this in our geography textbook. I only hope that the Japanese food aid is only a temporary measure and that it will not destroy local food production.
Indeed Mary. As you rightly said and I quote – ‘but too shameful on the part of sierra Leone’. 13% of Japans’ land is arable and most are also on mountainous areas. Sierra Leone has 21.9% of arable land which is very good for crop production. Can you imagine? And we are happy to receive food aid from Japan. I just feel that we have become REFUGEES in our own country. I don’t think that is acceptable.
I have always been against any type of aid. Especially repeated aid or aid for both the short and long terms. If these countries really want to help us, let them give us aid that will help us produce and feed ourselves. Let them come with the money and machinery and co-ordinate the projects (agriculture, health, water supply, etc) themselves. That will make sense and the aid will be used for the right purpose and the people will benefit from them.
I am not saying that foreign aid is not good; but I just want to make people aware that it has serious impact on our economic sovereignty. Foreign aid undermines our economic growth and helps us manufacture dictators and anti-democratic governments.
It also makes people become REFUGEES (ASYLUM SEEKERS) in their native countries because of lack of food. Instead of you giving fish to someone for the rest of his/her life, teach that person how to fish. The person will then have fish in his/her sight for the rest of their life. Simple as that.
Let me start with what I said about undermining our economic growth. We have heard now for decades about countries giving foreign aid to Sierra Leone. This has resulted in the increase in our FOREIGN DEBT. Some of the aid we get are pegged with certain conditions of foreign governments and the IMF.
I will not get deep into the economics of foreign aid and debt for now. What I am doing is to make people aware that foreign aid for both the short and long term is harmful to Sierra Leone. We will never be economically sovereign or economically independent if it continues like that. Did we became an independent country only for political reasons?
If I am not mistaking, Sierra Leone has been receiving foreign aid since independence, but we are still not economically sovereign. We are poor and worse off since independence. We must ask our leaders why this unfortunate situation is still happening despite all the very valuable natural resources that Sierra Leone has.
When foreign aid gets into the recipient country, it is pursued by corrupt and greedy politicians and businessmen. These corrupt politicians and businessmen then execute their corrupt manoeuvres to defraud the country through the aid funded projects. That is exactly what has happened to Sierra Leone for decades now.
Let us take Japan for example. They were hard hit by food shortages during and after the second world. This prompted them to even find alternatives to wheat and rice. But they were lucky because they have a lot of help from the US. If I am not mistaken and if my history is good, Japan was self sufficient few years after the war.
Sierra Leone does not have the opportunity that Japan has with the US. So, our politicians just have the responsibility to do the right things for our economic sovereignty. I hope they bother and care.
Are we going to depend on foreign aid till the end of the world? I hope not. I hope God help us produce our own food and become self sufficient. AMEN and AMEN.