It is with great pleasure and honour that I am receiving the Letters of Credence by which your Heads of State and Government have accredited you as Ambassadors/ High Commissioners Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Let me take this opportunity to convey, in advance, through you, to the Governments and Peoples of your various countries, my very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
You are undertaking your assignments at a very crucial time when the country is preparing to host general elections, the fourth since the end of our civil war. These elections, as a result of their credibility and the eventual legitimacy succeeding governments have enjoyed, have demonstrated our level of democratic maturity and, inextricably, leverage our path to peace which is now well consolidated. The elections in March are certainly set to follow that pattern or even exceed previous elections.
As part of our commitments to upholding the values and virtues of democracy, let me underline here that my Government is working ceaselessly and closely with all relevant stakeholders, including our development partners to ensure that the outcome of the March 7th elections is acceptable to all. This is why we have been unwavering in our commitments to democracy which rest on the lessons learnt and our belief that the aspirations of our people for inclusive growth, sustainable development, peace and prosperity, can only be reached in an environment devoid of the encumbrances that inhibit their promotion. To this end, my Government has ensured, throughout its tenure, that the human rights of our citizens are sacrosanct. It is in this respect that we are proud to say that we have no political prisoners or any journalist in jail for expressing opinions that are contrary to ours or one that my Government is not comfortable with. To that end, we have allowed institutions like the National Commission for Human Rights to function effectively without letup or hindrance.
On the economic front, in spite of the fallouts from the Ebola Virus Disease, we have registered marginal growth and we look forward to 2018 as a year in which we could do better to reinvigorate the economy
On behalf of the Government and People of Sierra Leone, let me at this moment, Excellencies, register our profound gratitude, through you, to your respective Governments for standing beside us during the Ebola Outbreak and during our hour of grief in the aftermath of the unprecedented natural catastrophe that befell our nation on August 14, causing the death of our compatriots and destruction of valuable property.
Our countries are peace-loving nations that have always collaborated at the International level, especially within the framework of the United Nations. We share common aspirations on a number of issue-areas particularly our penchant for democratization, economic reforms, up-holding the Rule of law, Good Governance and Human Rights.
While we work together as peace-loving nations, we are also aware that our world is confronted with enormous challenges, emerging threats and other issues that inhibit our peace and serve as hindrances to development. These challenges include rising unemployment rates, global warming, migration, and terrorism which can only be surmounted if concerted efforts are mobilized by the majority of peace-loving nations.
The Government of Sierra Leone will continue to encourage, support and promote the drive for a new and just world economic order and the reform of the UN Security Council. As Chair of the Committee of (10) Ten of the African Union Heads of State, having canvassed for the African Common Position for the reforms of the UN Security Council for the last ten years, I am of the view that times have changed and the world has transformed considerably for us to be permanently held within arrangements that were made several decades ago. As I leave office, I am sure that the African Common Position is valid, sound and incontestable and should be supported by all for the sake of stability and peace that we all cherish.
Let me conclude by stating emphatically that Sierra Leone is a willing partner and a destination for business and investment. As I heartily congratulate you, let me also encourage you to look at our potentials as well as the possibilities of investing in this country.
Once more let me welcome you and wish you a very successful tour of duty in Freetown.
I thank you all.