President Julius Maada Bio engages Sierra Leonean residents in the Benelux countries

At the end of the two days AU EU summit for Heads of State in Brussels, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio engaged Sierra Leoneans resident in the Benelux countries. The president thanked them for the support they have been giving to development efforts in Sierra Leone as the government continues to pursue its national  programs.

During this engagement the president underscored the need for a critical mass of right thinking people to keep up their patriotic strides so as to  win over those with negative tendencies. “You don’t have to be SLPP; you don’t have to know me, but you have to understand that Sierra Leone is moving in the right direction”, president Bio pointed out.

The President thanked the various sets of communities abroad, recognising that they make their own individual efforts not only to address the welfare needs of their families, but also to give the little they can offer back home to friends and the general society. “That is commendable and I want to, on behalf of all those who have been benefiting from your generous efforts, thank you”, the president told his audience.

He said the country needs support, emphasising that the things the diasporas do will help the country and he further went in to say that there are people that have very good ideas about what the country needs and he invited them to join the process and make things better.

The president expressed his joy  by  stating that “We are very proud of what you’re doing and we want to be in position to continue to support the efforts that you’re making”. He then went on to highlight  some of the successes the government has made, over the relatively short period of time, citing the repeal of the criminal libel law, the repeal of the death penalty, the gender empowerment act, the free quality education and the improvement of the health sectors.

President Bio explained that the disporans have special needs and they have acquired special skills and therefore they require special attention.

“That is why the government is putting together policies to create the enabling environment for those skills to be effectively utilised so that when you go back home you can be able to easily fit into the country”.

The President spoke about his educational polices, pointing out that when he took up office, fewer people had access to education, fewer could read and write, lamenting that such a situation was not good for the image of a country that had the first university in the region.

He said that this negative reality was changing as a result of the determined strides being pursued through the Free Quality Education program which has exponentially increased the number of children who are now attending school with parents able to access their kids’  results on their cell phones, free of charge.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David Francis, in his statement,  said his ministry has very good plans for the diaspora and that is the reason the ministry has established the directorate of Diaspora Affairs to look into the welfare and plans of  those living abroad.

He said the Ministry is looking at having investment and trade attachés and that recruitment will be extended to the diaspora because recruiting everyone from Freetown and sending them as diplomatic staff is a very expensive venture but he also acknowledged that these were proposals that are still being assessed. He underlined the need for the diaspora to be empowered  to promote Sierra Leone in the various countries abroad.

The Sierra Leone Ambassador to Brussels, welcomed all present particularly those that had travelled from various locations including Holland, France, Germany, and Belgium for the support they have been giving and he called on them to continue to promote the country in their various ways.

The members of different organisations appreciated the    strong strides of President Bio but also called on the president to give them more support in certain  areas pointing out challenges encountered especially in the acquisition of lands for those running charities.

At ECAM High-Level Meeting…… President Bio emphasises the importance of Human Capital Development

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.

 

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio and GPE Executive Director Engage on System Transformation Grant for Sierra Leone

By State House Media and Communications Unit on September 29, 2021 in Latest NewsNews

Washington, D.C., United States, Wednesday 29 September 2021 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has met with Executive Director Alice Albright and senior leadership of the Global Partnership for Education, GPE, where he was recognised for his global leadership in promoting quality education, human capital development and gender inclusion.

Madam Albright thanked the President for his speech at the United Nations General Assembly that extensively advocated for the rights of sexual violence survivors and formally disclosed Sierra Leone’s eligibility for the GPE System Transformation Grant.

Sierra Leone’s leadership in increasing domestic financing for education, using data and evidence for decision making with a gender responsive planning and sector coordination were highlighted by the GPE Executive Director as some of the factors that made the country stand out among others.

“It is my pleasure to inform you, Mr. President, that Sierra Leone is now eligible for a $22.47 million System Transformation Grant, up to $15 million Multiplier Grant, and a $2.6 million System Capacity Grant,” she said.

In his brief remarks, President Bio thanked the GPE for an excellent partnership with Sierra Leone through the existing Education Sector Implementation Grant, the Education Sector Plan Development Grant and the COVID-19 Emergency Response Grant.

Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr Moinina David Sengeh, who also serves as a member on the board of GPE, expressed the commitment of his ministry to work in partnership with GPE to implement the projects and improve learning outcomes for children in Sierra Leone.

GPE is the largest global fund solely dedicated to transforming education in lower-income countries, and a unique, multi-stakeholder partnership that work to deliver quality education so that every girl and boy can have hope, opportunity and agency.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Commissions 100 Schools in Bo, Kenema, Port Loko, Bombali, Targets 35,000 Pupils and Teachers

By State House Media and Communications Unit on September 10, 2021 in Latest NewsNews

Gerihun, Baoma Chiefdom, Bo District, Friday 10 September 2021 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has completed the symbolic commissioning in Gerihun of 100 schools funded by the European Union (EU) and built by the National Authorising Office (NAO) in Bo, Kenema, Port Loko and Bombali districts in the south, east, northwest and north respectively.

Director of NAO, Ambrose James, said the commissioning of the 100 Junior Secondary Schools was a manifestation of President Julius Maada Bio’s commitment to improving human capital in the country, adding that the initial project cost was 7.75 million euros, plus additional work envisaged to the amount of 1 million euros, bringing it to an estimated grand total of 8.75 million euros; and that the project would benefit about 35,000 pupils including teachers and other school staff.

“The project’s core value support included but not limited to the rehabilitation and upgrading of 155 school buildings, construction of 19 new buildings, including libraries, science and computer laboratories, construction or rehabilitation of 282 toilets, construction or rehabilitation of 78 hand-dug wells; construction or rehabilitation of 9 staff quarters and the supply and installation of 50 solar units,” he said.

Mr. James went further to assure the gathering that the NAO was pleased with the outcome of the project and the deliverables, adding that they would continue to facilitate projects on behalf of the government and the European Union delegation in Sierra Leone to achieve lofty dreams.

Head of EU mission in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Manuel Mueller, said he was happy to make a statement on such an important and ambitious occasion, noting that the President was investing in the future of school-going children in the country but also because education was so crucial to national development.

“It is for this reason that education is at the heart of the European Union worldwide, including in Sierra Leone. EU will continue to support the government’s trajectory in strengthening the institution and human capacity of the country. An effort is being made by the government for inclusive educational growth and effective management of technical institutions. The European Union will continue to support this effort,” Ambassador Mueller assured.

Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education (MBSSE), Dr David Moinina Sengeh, thanked the EU and all stakeholders who worked together, day and night, in achieving the construction, rehabilitation and expansion of the 100 schools. He also thanked President Julius Maada Bio for his continued leadership in providing free and quality school education to every child in the country.

“For the first time in many years in this country, there is now improvement in the pass rate and learning outcome in the country. MBSSE will continue to provide that leadership because it is the only way to move this country to development,” Dr Sengeh noted.

In his keynote address, President Julius Maada Bio said he was happy that public schools were open to every child, not red, green, rainbow party children, noting that the country recorded fewer teenage pregnancies for the first time in a decade as part of their radical inclusion of all learners.

“For the first time in the recent history of this nation, children go to school tuition-free. I pay Le 52 billion, parents pay nothing. They take public exams for free. I pay Le 60 billion for WASSCE, BECE, NPSE and parents pay nothing. Per year subsidy, we pay over Le 200 billion for exams and subsidies,” he said

He also announced that for the first time parents no longer needed to pay for scratch cards to retrieve their results because they had developed a technology solution that was free and convenient to access from any cell phone, saving parents and guardians from paying about Le 14 billion.

For More Enquiries: State House Media and Communications Unit

High Commissioners, Ambassadors Designate Present Letters of Credence to Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio

By State House Media and Communications Unit on September 07, 2021 in Latest NewsNews

State House, Freetown, Tuesday 7 September 2021 – The New High Commissioner of United Kingdom to Sierra Leone, Lisa Jane Chesney, the New High Commissioner designate of Rwanda to Sierra Leone, Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, the Ambassador designate of Ireland to Sierra Leone, Claire Buckley, the Ambassador designate of the European Union to Sierra Leone, Manuel Mueller and the Ambassador designate of the Republic of Korea, Kim Young Chae, have presented their letters of credence to His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio at the Credential Room, State House.

The United Kingdom, Rwanda, Ireland, the European Union, and the Republic of South Korea have a strong diplomatic cooperation with Sierra Leone, mostly in development, which includes education, healthcare, agriculture, technology and the fight against corruption.

For More Enquiries: State House Media and Communications Unit

Broadcast to the Nation by His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio President of the Republic of Sierra Leone on the Third-Wave-of Covid-19

Fellow Sierra Leoneans,

1. Let me start by paying tribute to the memory of fellow citizens we have lost to COVID-19, their relatives and community members. I also thank our healthcare workers, security forces, frontline workers, experts, and our partners who have stood by us as we battle this deadly pandemic. Read more