In his keynote address at the high-level meeting of the European Corporate Council on Africa and the Middle East (ECAM) on the theme ” African Leaders for change”, Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has said “human capital development leads a nation to achieve accelerated and sustainable gains.”
The ECAM high level meeting took place on Thursday 17th February 2022 in Brussels on the margins of the AU -EU Heads of State summit.
President Bio believed that by investing in quality education, accessible and quality healthcare, food security, and critical infrastructure, Sierra Leone will be a more productive, more resilient, and a more prosperous nation.
He added that by investing in human capital it will make for sustainable gains in all facets of the country’s social and economic development.
The Sierra Leone President said despite the impact of the COVID-19 virus, his government laudable gains had been recognised by international partners.
President Bio explained about his government successes in the education: “More children, and especially more girls, more children with disabilities, more children from poor home and rural areas are now in school, stay in school, complete and are more successful in school than ever before. We have escalated investments in school infrastructure, school feeding, teacher training and teaching and learning materials. As a result of our policy of radical inclusion, our fight against sexual and gender-based violence and the First Lady’s successful advocacy against early child marriage and other cultural practices, school is now a safer place where every child can work hard to reach his or her fullest potential.”
In the area of food security, he said the government had increased mechanised farming, provided improved seeds and fertilisers and more arable land had been put under cultivation.
President Bio also higlighted the gains his government has made in the areas of energy, healthcare, communications network, infrastructure development and the fight against corruption.
He expressed optimism for Sierra Leone on the Africa-Europe Alliance: “We are not quite where we want to be. But I am pleased that past dialogues such as the 2018, Africa-Europe Alliance foreground ‘deepening trade and economic relations,’ ‘strengthening the business environment and investment climate’ and investing in education and skills training, Sierra Leone stands ready for enhanced cooperation in each of those areas.”
The European Corporate Council on Africa and the Middle East was born with the primary objective of developing feasible, effective and lasting solutions for more sustainable healthcare and education systems throughout Africa and the MENA region.
Statements were also made by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini, the President of Mozambique and other dignitaries.