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.