Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 May 2018:
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was in Freetown, Sierra Leone last Monday 28 May, 2018 on a one day visit to State House, where he held talks with president Julius Maada Bio.
Mr Blair also attended a roundtable discussion with cabinet ministers, chaired by Chief Minister – Professor David J. Francis, and later had dinner with the president hosted by the First Lady – Mrs Fatmata Bio.
During his meeting with president Bio, the former British Prime Minister who was once vested with a chief title in Sierra Leone after the country’s long and bitter civil war, applauded president Bio for the steps taken so far in moving Sierra Leone forward after his remarkable victory in the 2018 elections.
Mr Blair has been a long-time friend of the country – and many would say an ambassador. For the most part of the former APC government’s term of office, he utilised his Africa Governance Initiative to buttress the capacity of the Koroma administration to deliver its programmes, by placing a team of expatriates across various ministries, though critics say that the initiative achieved very little, and in many respects prevented the Koroma administration from becoming self-reliant.
Tony Blair also brokered a series of Sierra Leone investment conferences in London, to assist former president Koroma in promoting inward investments.
According to State House report, Mr Blair told president Bio that his new administration was already winning admiration across the world.
“We see the great things you are doing so that Sierra Leone becomes a better place. We are delighted to be here again. We see that you have had a great start to your administration,” he said.
President Bio thanked Mr Blair for his visit. He said his government inherited a lot of challenges from the Koroma government, but that he is determined to change things around for the better.
“It is therefore clear that we have a huge and very difficult task to deliver on. We hope to fix it. There is a lot to do, but we are doing everything possible to get the country back on track,” Bio told Blair.