Professor David Francis, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has been engaged in a number of diplomatic activities in London, to mark the occasion of this year’s Annual Commonwealth Day.
The Professor has been having extensive engagements involving royalty, senior politicians, business leaders, diplomats, as well as ordinary members of the commonwealth of nations, in line with his vested mandate and in the instituted bid to positively project the Foreign Policy interests and goals of the republic of Sierra Leone.
On Monday 13/03/2023, Professor David Francis joined HM King Charles III, the Queen Consort, members of the Royal Family and Commonwealth leaders, as the Monarch hosted his first Commonwealth Day reception at Buckingham Palace, where he signed the Charter of the Commonwealth.
On Tuesday Professor Francis met with Frederick Audley Mitchell, Foreign Minister of The Bahamas, who is also the current Chair of The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), a strong grouping comprising of twenty countries. This meeting took place at The Bahamas High Commission on Chesterfield Street, London.
During their bilateral exchange, both men spoke warmly, and at length, about the long but largely unexplored and unexploited relationship between their two countries, noting that in that part of the world in which The Bahamas is located, most of the black population has direct lineage with the West African subregion.
As a country which has a longstanding and deep-seated history with the Caribbean, Professor Francis articulated the benefits for escalating Sierra Leone’s historic relationship to the level of trade and development cooperation with The Bahamas. Minister David Francis also solicited the support of CARICOM, explaining that Sierra Leone is vying for a seat at the UN Security Council in an election which is coming up this year. He also informed that Sierra Leone, the Chair of C10, is representing the African Union (AU) common position for the UN Security Council reform and is the AU endorsed candidate for the UN Security Council seat.
Minister Francis underlined the fact that Sierra is now a Liberal Democracy the New Direction government of HE Dr. Julius Maada Bio is open to business with other nations.
The Bahamian Foreign Minister, expressed his joy at meeting with Minister David Francis and communicated positive views on the message conveyed by the latter. Minister Frederick Mitchell also emphasised the need for a stronger, positive and profitable relations between Sierra Leone and the Bahamas.
It could be recalled that just last month the government of Sierra Leone opened a Consulate in the Caribbean state of Jamaica, to expand and strengthen relations between the two countries.
Following on from his meeting with the Bahamian Foreign Minister, Professor Francis met, yesterday, with the UK Minister for Africa, The Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell, at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development office, (FCDO). The two men discussed shared values and explored mutual positions on international affairs. During this discussion Professor Francis presented Sierra Leone’s candidature for a seat on the UNSC.
Later that evening, Minister David Francis attended an event at Marlborough House where he briefly met with Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary General. The evening event was climaxed by a moving entertainment from the women of Samoa.
Again, on Wednesday 15/03/2023, Professor Francis was at Marlborough House attending the 22nd Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CWFAMM)
The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Dr. Vincent Biruta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda, as Rwanda is the CHOGM Chair-in-Office.
This year’s CFAMM allowed Commonwealth Foreign Affairs ministers to develop “joint responses to shared challenges”. The focus was on “enhancing the resilience” of Commonwealth countries in times of crisis as reflected in “the challenges faced by many members such as the impacts of climate change and the pandemic and spiralling food and energy costs that risk impacting peace and stability”.