By: Mohamed M. Sesay
In his state opening address of the Fifth Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, assured Members of Parliament and Citizens that the reason he traveled too many times to various destinations across the globe is to undo the stigma and the reputational damage to the nation which his government inherited.
He adding that, the country’s national narrative is not merely for private vanity.
President Bio also admonished that his travelling has a direct link to the country’s economic growth and standing in the world and regain trustworthy reputation.
He added that he travels to tell the new story which is the story of the new direction; and a statement of the country’s intent to transform the nation. He assured that those engagements continue to pay off in hundreds of millions of United States dollars in grants and technical assistance from development partners across the globe.
President Bio continued that there is also the future possibility of hundreds of millions of dollars from direct foreign investments and more from the compact eligibility as a result of passing the MCC scorecard for three consecutive years.
President Bio also revealed that the country retains high leadership responsibilities at the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He added that his government is responsible for coordinating the advancement of the Common African Position on the reform of the United Nations Security Council in the on-going intergovernmental negotiations at the UN General Assembly.
“I was also unanimously selected to serve as the Chairperson of the African Peer Review Forum of Heads of State and Government. I have also been nominated as co-Chair of the UNESCO High-Level Steering Committee for SDG 4- Education 2030”, he said.
President Bio also disclosed that Sierra Leone as a nation has received even more respect and greater standing in the last four years. He maintained that Sierra Leone successfully concluded its tenure as President of the Seventh Conference of State Parties (CSP7) to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
Currently, he said Sierra Leone is also co-chairing the Working Group on Treaty Universalization of the ATT of which Dr. Lansana Gberie, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone in Switzerland, is the chair of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for 2022.
President Bio assured that this is the second most important Council of the WTO of which Sierra Leone serves as the vice-chair of International Organization for Migration’s governing bureau.
He added that Sierra Leone is also chair of the 4th intersessional meeting on Human Rights and Agenda 2030 titled “Investing in sustainable recovery, advancing gender equality and strengthening partnerships towards a renewed social contract anchored in human rights.
President Bio also intimated that Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Alhaji Fanday Turay, has been elected as Vice President representing the African Group in the Bureau of the 27th Session of the Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA). With overwhelming endorsements from ECOWAS, African Union, CEN-SAD, he said Sierra Leone is poised to return to the UN Security Council in the non-Permanent category in 2024/25, for the second time, after over 50 years of absence and non-selection.
“Through our active participation in multilateral organizations, my Government continues to project Sierra Leone’s visibility as well as our foreign policy footprints. We have also participated at the highest levels in the Global Education Summit for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP26) – both highly impactful for this nation’s future”, he concluded.