CHINA-SIERRA LEONE DEEPEN BILATERAL RELATIONS

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sierra Leone in 1971, bilateral political relations have been increasingly deepened on the basis of respecting and taking care of each other’s core interests and major concerns.

Today, Saturday August 8, 2015, the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi paid a courtesy call on His Excellency, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House in Freetown. The visit is part of a tri-nation tour of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to assess the Ebola situation in the three worst-hit countries and hold discussions on ensuring a total eradication of the disease and what role China could play in the post-Ebola recovery of the affected countries.

President Koroma and the Foreign Minister exchanged views on post Ebola recovery as well as Africa’s common position on the reform of the UN Security Council, the Boko Haram menace in Nigeria and the Malian conflict, which are posing serious challenges to peace, security and development in West Africa.

The Foreign Minister expressed China’s continued support to Sierra Leone and commended President Koroma for his effective leadership of the national response against Ebola.

He said the visit is to discuss with the government of Sierra Leone on the specific needs of the country in terms of development and also the need to create the necessary independent development to move the country forward.

Mr. Yi’s visit seeks to focus on five main areas – to strengthen Sierra Leone’s medical and public health infrastructure, establish a West African Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which will be based in Sierra Leone, and send more medical personnel; mining and industrial cooperation to focus on processing of mineral products for value addition; Fishing and agriculture to encourage Chinese fishing companies to invest in Sierra Leone; continue to do more in infrastructural development, for instance, the Mamamah Airport; and promote human resource development by speedily kickstarting the construction of the Youth Village.

China has provided substantial support and assistance to Sierra Leone in the form of tangible infrastructural development, including bridges, government buildings, stadiums and roads.

Currently, China-aided infrastructure projects such as Charlotte, Bankasoka and Makali hydropower stations are legion, and the completed state of the art Regent to Kossoh road project, the Bo stadium and even the Siaka Steven stadium are all examples of over 40 years of fruitful and bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

The Youth Village and proposed new airport are landmark projects the Chinese government is helping Sierra Leone to pull off within the shortest possible time.

International community extols president’s social mobilization drive against Ebola

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared this morning Sierra Leone as Ebola free at a colourful and well attended ceremony at the Bintumani International Conference Centre at Aberdeen in Freetown.

The ceremony was attended by cabinet ministers, members of parliament, senior government officials, traditional leaders, members and Dean of the diplomatic and consular corps, the media as well as ordinary Sierra Leoneans, including survivors of the evil virus called Ebola.

However, this event could not have come without a price in terms of collateral damage as thousands of Sierra Leoneans, over 200 health workers and 11 doctors lost their lives to the disease.

Furthermore, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma’s nationwide social mobilization drive for community involvement and ownership of the fight against Ebola made considerable progress to break the chain of transmission of the disease.

The significance of his nationwide social mobilization tours stem from the fact that paramount chiefs, religious leaders, MPs, traditional and cultural society heads, Councilors and other stakeholders accepted and believed his message that they shoulder the responsibility of driving the Ebola virus out of their communities. It was this social mobilization by the president that turned out to be the game changer in the fight to eradicate Ebola from Sierra Leone, and consequently the WHO declaring the country as Ebola free today Saturday 7 November, 2015.

A number of diplomats have commended the efforts of President Koroma in his social mobilization drive for community involvement and ownership of the fight against Ebola culminating to the end of the outbreak today.

Please read below the testimonies of some of our development partners as well as the CEO of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC):

State House Communication Unit:

QUESTION – Ahead of Sierra Leone being declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization (WHO), what is your assessment of President Koroma’s social mobilization drive in the fight against Ebola?


British High Commissioner Peter West – ANSWER:
I am full of admiration for President Koroma’s leadership and I think an outstanding aspect of that leadership has been his work on social mobilization. From the onset, I knew that President Koroma believes that without the cooperation and understanding of the people of Sierra Leone we will not be able to overcome the disease. Over many months I have travelled with him to every district in this country. In some cases, more than half a dozens times to problematic districts. I have seen him explained, persuade, cajoled and insist on people doing the right things to end the transmission chains. In his recent tours, I have seen his emphasis on building from the lessons we have learnt during Ebola so that Sierra Leone emerges stronger and more resilient with structures which are able to provide the services which the people of Sierra Leone deserve.

As we get to zero plus forty-two, I am proud that the UK along with other international partners has been able to play a full part in this fight against Ebola. But most of all, I want to congratulate President Koroma on a job very well done.

QUESTION 2: Moving forward, you have been very supportive of government’s action in stemming the virus, what areas do you think government should strengthen to equip the response for future outbreaks?

Peter West – ANSWER: I think it’s very important people learnt lessons from this episode. There is more capacity and more qualified people now to deal with this sort of crisis in the future. I think it is important also we embrace those people and those institutions so that there is a stronger structure to deal with this crisis in the future. And I think now in the next few years we are working very closely with President Koroma and his government on a recovery package on six specific areas which the government has set out and to make sure that the country develops and returns to the ambitions set out in the Agenda for Prosperity.

Discussion with WHO Representative – Dr Andres Nordstrom

State House Communication Unit –

QUESTION: Ahead of Sierra Leone being declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization, what is your assessment of President Koroma’s social mobilization drive in the fight against Ebola?

Dr Andres Nordstrom – ANSWER: I think the socio mobilization part of the response possibly has been most important and critical element because not until we really began to reach out to people to engage them, to communicate with the people that we can see the difference. Because we need the people to fully engage and fully also to trust and to also change some of the behaviours. So I think the social mobilization the president has been providing leadership for has been extremely important for this outbreak. I think there is a good platform; there is a lot of good experience and resources reaching out to people in communities that we need to build on to tackle other health problems in the future.

State House Communication Unit

– QUESTION: Dr Nordstrom, how would you describe the leadership of President Koroma?

Dr Andres Nordstrom – ANSWER:
He is really a leader that is providing both inspiration and leadership but also is a person that stays very calm and somebody also you both feel trust with and somebody who you can like as well.

Interview with CEO of NERC Major (Rtd) Paolo Conteh

State House Communication Unit –

QUESTION: Ahead of Sierra Leone being declared Ebola free by the WHO, what is your assessment of President Koroma’s social mobilization drive in the fight against Ebola?

CEO NERC – ANSWER: I think the president’s own contribution particularly in the area of social mobilization was key to the fight. I say so for two reasons because in terms of social mobilization it is not only about the message, it is about who carries the message – the messenger – and in President Koroma you have a good messenger because when he speaks people listen. People are drawn to him. So his contribution in my view was immense and I think it helped. He took the message to every district and I was with him.

He went around the country; spoke to paramount chiefs, religious leaders, tribal heads and so on. So I will say his contribution was immense in particularly social mobilization, getting the message to people to listen and do the right things.

SHCU©2015

President Koroma urges UN to move with the times

President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma delivered a rousing speech at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday September 22, 2016, calling on the international governing body to move with the times and speed up the reform of the UN Security Council.

As chairman of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government on the Reform of the United Nations Security Council, the president stressed that no matter what they as leaders do at the national or global level, the world “will not be able to deliver on the SDGs’ promise of an inclusive, fairer and better world without the reform of the United Nations.”

The president spoke about some of his administration’s biggest achievements, including access to justice, women and youth employment and empowerment. He also thanked the outgone UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for Sierra Leone’s successful fight against the Ebola epidemic; a fight won with the help of the UN and bilateral partners.

President Koroma also talked about the significance of the Paris climate agreement, which he signed soon after addressing the General Assembly. He pointed out that although Sierra Leone contributes almost nothing to global warming, it is the third most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change. He therefore delineates climate change as an urgent life and death matter. “That is why we welcome the Paris Agreement,” he said, and told world leaders about his government’s commitment to implement its provisions in Sierra Leone. “My Government, in collaboration with our development partners, is implementing projects on adaptation, including climate information and early warning systems. We remain committed to these efforts and we seek further collaboration in confronting this global threat against humanity,” he assured.

The speech was also a stark warning to the UN of the grim international consequences should the premier governing body continue to hold on the edicts and structures established 71 years ago, calling on the UN to move with the times by carrying out the relevant reforms. Straight from the shoulder, President Koroma told world leaders that the UN lacks the democratic competencies to tackle the developmental, security and other challenges facing Africa and many other parts of the world today. “Without strong African voices at the highest level of our premier global decision making body; without the energetic voices of the region with the largest number of young people, without the decisive contribution of the continent that is mostly affected by Security Council decisions, no solution proffered to our challenges by the United Nations would be sustained, inclusive or lasting,” the chairman of the C-10 declared amid rapturous applause by the audience.

As the voice of Africa under the aegis of the C-10, the Sierra Leonean leader told the UN that Africa stands united behind the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration and urged against any attempt to take down their position through divide and rule reminiscent of colonialism.

President Koroma also told the assembled representatives of the UN’s member states that Sierra Leone is now ready to deploy its newly Formed Police Units (FUPs), Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) units as well as Police Guards to the UN Standby Arrangement System (UNSAS) at short notice in fulfillment of the country’s pledge made to the Leader’s Summit on Peacekeeping in September, 2015.

The president reiterated his government’s commitment to good governance; address the underlying causes of fragility and drivers of conflict, effective management of the country’s natural resources in a bid to transform Sierra Leone into a middle-income nation by 2035. He also reminded the international community, including its bilateral friends to fulfill their pledges to the country’s recovery programme. President Koroma further expressed the urgent need for all parties to cooperate with global initiatives in finding enduring peace in Syria, South Sudan and Libya, and called for action in resolving the Israel Palestine conflict, in fighting terrorism, and what he described as “dangerous escalations in the arms race”.

Certainly, many of the arguments by the president were aimed at the UN which has failed to adopt measures, including text based negotiations that will lead to a comprehensive and early reform of the Security Council to reflect contemporary realities. He urged the assembled leaders to speed up the reform process so that Africa can take its rightful place in the UN Security Council.

After the speech, President Koroma had bilateral meetings with the President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson, the outgone UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and attended a reception ceremony hosted by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also took interviews with the CCTV and BBC in between his bilateral meetings.

IMF praises Sierra Leone’s Economic Reforms under President Koroma

On Monday September 26, 2016, the Chief of Mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), John Wakeman-Linn, paid President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma a visit at State House.

The purpose of the visit was to update the president on the outcome of the sixth and final review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). This facility is a lending arrangement that provides sustained program engagement over the medium to long term in case of protracted balance of payments problems. The IMF Executive Board approved the arrangement for Sierra Leone in October 2013.

Following consultations and constructive discussions with the Sierra Leonean authorities, the IMF has in an end-of-mission press release described the economic reforms undertaken by the Government of Sierra Leone as largely on track and largely successful. “The economy proved resilient in the face of two major exogenous shocks: the Ebola epidemic and collapse of iron ore prices and associated loss of production in 2014 – 2015,” the fund said in its press release issued on September 27, 2016.

It extolled the changes the government has implemented: “Prudent fiscal policy throughout the program contributed to the achievement of a relatively low fiscal deficit. Credible monetary policy contributed to price stability, bringing inflation down from over 20 percent at the beginning of the program to single digits, although in recent months it has begun to increase somewhat.”

“The current account balance has strengthened. International reserves have risen to more than $500 million,” the release added.

Amid concerns that the economy needs revamping after the Ebola epidemic, the IMF encouraged the government to put emphasis on price stability, while remaining attentive to second round pressures on prices. “Exchange rate and market policies should be transparently implemented,” the fund urged.

Notwithstanding, the mission was pleased that all quantitative performance criteria for end-June 2016 were met and consequently, Sierra Leone’s sixth and final review under the ECF arrangement is tentatively scheduled for consideration by the IMF Executive Board in November 2016.

Click on link to read Press Release :http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2016/09/27/PR16428-Sierra-Leone-IMF-Staff-Completes-Review-Mission

Click on link to read story on the visit of the IMF Chief of Mission:http://www.statehouse.gov.sl/index.php/component/content/article/34-news-articles/1622-president-vows-to-stay-engaged-with-the-people

President Koroma expresses hope of bright days ahead in his traditional New Year message

In a national broadcast on New Year’s day, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has expressed hope of bright days ahead for Sierra Leone, saying that the new year “has come upon us with the assurance of an economy on the path to full recovery.”

He pointed out that every citizen must be commended for the sacrifices and adjustments they made in order to overcome the challenges facing the country. “…from the fisherman at Funkia to the farmer at Buedu; from the petty trader at Abacha Street to the bike rider in Pujehun and our compatriots in the Diaspora – Sierra Leoneans have shown great resilience and have been at the forefront of discussions and actions to turn this country around,” the president said.

He thanked the people of Sierra Leone for their support in rolling out the recovery priorities as well as in returning the economy back on the pathway of the pre-Ebola era and pre-drop-in-iron-ore-prices days.

In 2014, Sierra Leone was hit by the twin shocks of the slump in iron ore prices in the world market and the Ebola outbreak, which we already know reversed the gains made as one the fastest growing economies in the world. With help from the international community and the personal leadership of the His Excellency the President through his social mobilization drive for community ownership of the fight against, what many described as a “horrific” virus, the country triumphed.

During this period, President Koroma showed great and remarkable leadership and he always had the backing of the people. Sierra Leoneans endured huge challenges but were determined to support their leader in fighting Ebola as well as the economic difficulties the country is facing, which I’m sure the president has already promised to review by mid 2017. He added: “…we will review the austerity measures we are implementing and we will reassess the progress we have made under the Recovery Priorities to determine where we are and to define our new actions going forward.”

The president said that although Sierra Leoneans have shown the world their ability to pull together in times of adversity as well as to succeed against all odds, he urged his countrymen to approach national issues with nonpartisan lenses; “…we must adopt the imperatives that put Sierra Leone first in our actions.” The Commander-in-Chief noted that the destinies of Sierra Leoneans are bound together and their “fortunes intertwined” and, therefore despite tensions that may arise between aspirants seeking political office, he encouraged all and sundry never to lose sight of the fact that Sierra Leone is bigger than everyone; “is it bigger than every group and every political party.”

He called on citizens to pay attention towards the development programmes and act as monitors of the implementation of projects in chiefdoms, constituencies and districts.

In the foregoing one clearly sees that President Koroma is setting the tone and mood of the next general elections in terms of appealing to the better nature of Sierra Leoneans for peace, development and a sense of patriotism. He is not oblivious of the challenges that lie ahead in the country’s transition as a viable democracy. He takes on them head on by appealling to the better nature of all Sierra Leoneans because after all, we owe it to posterity to stay together, work together and build our beloved country together. By and large, the speech is forward looking and full of optimism for the land that we love.

PRESS STATEMENT

Freetown, February 26th 2014: We, leaders of specific youth groups operating within Sierra Leone hip hop music industry, gather today to issue out this press statement in which we want the world to know that we:

1. Are appreciative of the efforts of our President, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in rebranding Sierra Leone and making it an attractive destination for foreign direct investment into Africa.

2. Are further appreciative of love and care our President has been consistently showing over welfare of Sierra Leone youths to the extent of appointing a capable Presidential Youth Aide.

3. Wish to assure H.E. the President and people of Sierra Leone that the least that we, as youths, can do in return of the ongoing admirable show of leadership of the President, is to respect and uphold the peace in the land. Sustainable peace will enable development and prosperity agenda.

4. Have seen mails sent to the manager of Jamaican musician, BUSY SIGNAL which allege unfortunate threats and which have been widely circulated on social media Whatsapp and Facebook.

5. Wish to denounce in its entirety, the threats from these anonymous writers claiming membership of the RED FLAG MOVEMENT (R.F.M.) supposedly in support of our Sierra Leone artist, LAJ.

6. In particular, on behalf of the entire R.F.M. and LAJ the musician, the Manager, Mr. Asheim Sesay and the entire management team are distancing themselves from the illegal threats.

7. Furthermore, the President Alusine Kamara, Secretary-General Gerrard Jalloh and the entire executive and members of the R.F.M. Fan Clubs are distancing themselves from the illegal threats.

8. Have held an international phone call with Mr. KAO DENERO during which we have assured him that all the youths of Sierra Leone are looking forward to welcoming both KAO DENERO and BUSY SIGNAL to Sierra Leone.

9. Members of the RFM and LAJ Fan Clubs, in light of our strong denials of knowledge about these internet threats, hereby assure that if invited by KAO DENERO to join him, are willing to collaborate with KAO DENERO and the BLACK LEO record label to ensure visit of BUSY SIGNAL turns out to be one of the most peaceful and prosperous visits of a musician in entire History of Sierra Leone.

10. KAO DENERO has, during the phone call, warmly welcomed the offer of R.F.M. to collaborate with him to ensure the visit of BUSY SIGNAL turns out most successfully.

Signed by:

Asheim Sesay

Manager, R.F.M./LAJ

Signed by:

Alusine Kamara (aka Ozil Jalloh)

President, R.F.M/LAJ Fan Clubs

Signed by:

Gerrard Jalloh

Sec-Gen, R.F.M/LAJ Fan Clubs

Guaranteed by:

Phylip Tholley (aka GUNSHOT)

Chairman, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Shawn Carter

Sec-Gen, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Ibrahim Kamara (aka SHINE)

Vice Chairman, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Alhaji Kamara (aka BODY&SOUL;)

PRO-I, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Mohamed Koroma (aka TIMBERLAND)

PRO-II, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Sulaiman Gomez (BEENIEMAN)

Chief Whip, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

ALL SIGNATURES ABOVE DONE IN THE PRESENCE OF:

________________________________

Bai Mahmoud Bangura

Presidential Youth Aide at State House

Press Releases

GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE

PRESS RELEASE

Due to the continuing difficulties of apportioning land, multiple claims to the same land, fake title deeds and confrontations, sometimes degenerating into violence, the Government of Sierra Leone has instructed the Ministry of Lands to put a moratorium on all land transactions (state and private) in the western area.The ministry will work out more appropriate modalities to reverse the present chaotic state of things and inform the public accordingly with regards the new land-acquisition methodology.As at now, only applications for development purposes would be considered.This moratorium comes into force with immediate effect.

MINISTRY OF LANDS/19 November 2008

STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR. ERNEST BAI KOROMA PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF THE END OF THE EBOLA OUTBREAK IN SIERRA LEONE 7 NOVEMBER 2016

My Fellow Citizens

On November 7, 2015, we declared victory over a vicious enemy.

On this day in 2015, we came together as a people to thank the Almighty God for His intervention in delivering our nation from the Ebola epidemic. One year ago on this day, we started work on our battle plan for recovery from an unprecedented war; from an epidemic that altered our ways of life; an insurgent that gravely injured our economic development.

One year on, we remember that a total of 8,704 Sierra Leoneans were infected during the outbreak; that we lost 3,589 of our compatriots – brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and that, among them, were 221 healthcare workers including 11 doctors. Therefore as we remember to celebrate our victory, as we continue to give thanks for those of us who have survived; we must also continue to pray for the families and friends we lost.

My Fellow Citizens, I therefore ask you to pause and remember all those who died from the disease.

May their souls rest in perfect peace!

As we remember that terrible tragedy, we should also pay tribute to the acts of great humanity and heroism that gave us hope during the worst of the epidemic. Thousands of lives were saved through the courage of individuals who put their concern for others above themselves, some of them losing their own lives in the process.

We should remember that over 35,000 Sierra Leoneans were formally registered as Ebola Response Workers and that there were many more who volunteered to serve in the fight.

We should further remember that our victory was eventually secured when you, the millions of ordinary Sierra Leoneans, united against Ebola.

Together you worked in trust and unity, adopting new habits of hygiene, sanitation, and vigilance in interacting with your families and friends, in your homes and at work.

Together, millions of ordinary Sierra Leoneans collaborated with one aim – delivering our country from the disease. And today, I salute every one of you for the great sacrifices you all made for Sierra Leone.

My Fellow Citizens, in our collective fight against Ebola, we learned a powerful lesson. We learned that resilience only comes with unity and that unity fosters progress. On this day last year, we promised to harness those lessons to continue to transform Sierra Leone into a success story.

This is why, as everyday life resumed, as we returned our children to school in safety, as we restored basic health services, and maintained a zero rate of Ebola infection; we have taken steps to create a safety net for some of the most vulnerable in society including EVD survivors. We have also allocated resources to our business sector, beginning the process of reviving that vital engine of our economic growth.

An independent assessment has shown that the first phase of our recovery programme was largely successful. We continue to make strong and verifiable progress in the Second Phase, the 12 to 24 months of our Recovery which includes energy, water and governance.

We believe that the success of our change process requires improved governance within the public sector. We have therefore ensured that the Anti-Corruption Commission’s new ‘Pay No Bribe’s approach to tackle corruption harnesses technology to collect the first-hand experiences of members of the public. Over time, it will spotlight the best and the worst in the delivery of our public services. This will enable us to address challenges where they exist.

The international community and our development partners remain integral to our development process and we applaud them for their continued support. By better aligning their work in our country with that of the priorities of the Sierra Leonean people, we have arrived at a new way of working which we all agree will deliver more sustainable outcomes.

My Fellow Citizens, today, as we pause again to remember the thousands of Sierra Leoneans who lost their lives to Ebola, we must also remember the sense of national unity that we rediscovered during that period. We must once again demonstrate our resilience and ability to adapt and work as one; to overcome the challenges thrust upon us by that Epidemic and to create the nation we know our children deserve.

Ebola Don Go; Salone For Grow!

Thank you and God Bless the Republic of Sierra Leone

STATEMENT BY H.E. DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF CHINA CIVIL ENGINEERING CONSTRUN COMPANY (CCECC-SL) DREAM ATLANTIC GARDEN VILLA PHASE 1 LUMLEY BEACH 11 NOVEMBER 2016

Mr. Chairman, Ministers of Government, Members of Parliament, Your Excellency the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Vice President of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Mr. Zhang Wenjin, members of the Fourth Estate, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

Today’s commissioning of the CCECC-SL Dream Atlantic Garden Villa Phase 1, marks a remarkable moment in the recent history of real estate development in Sierra Leone. This landmark development serves several purposes. First, it will provide housing for certain segments of the market whose requirements are captured in the design and development features of the estate.

Second, it will send a symbolic message that residential estate development of international standards can be done in Sierra Leone.

And very importantly, this investment by foreign private interest reinforces our strong message to all well-meaning investors that Sierra Leone is an investment destination and ready for business.

The location of the estate along one of our most popular and exotic beaches, much as it resonates with my avowed determination to develop Sierra Leone’s infrastructure, is also a welcome and towering boost to my Government’s efforts to making Sierra Leone an attractive tourist destination.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, My Government recognizes the provision of affordable housing as a fundamental responsibility we must bear, we also recognise the huge demand for affordable housing especially in Freetown and we recognise the need for my government to continue to support this type of initiative and partnerships in fulfilling that obligation.

But distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is important to note that the demand for social housing cannot be fully addressed by Government alone. This is why we have been working assiduously to improve the investment environment, to attract private interests and to seek public private partnerships in order to expand the opportunities in the housing sector.

My government will continue steadily on this path and on the path of building new roads that will provide access to new areas. We will continue to expand on the coverage of electricity and water supply to encourage similar investments and to improve the general condition of living of our citizens.

For the past decade, the economic cooperation between Sierra Leone and China has been active, providing the platform on which more and more Chinese enterprises are participating in our economic development. While I applaud your consistent support to my Government’s development agenda, let me also encourage the management of CCECC to consider further investment in middle and low class housing across the country. Whether it is going to be an entire private investment or a public- private venture, I would like to assure you of my Government’s full support.

Today, with the commissioning of this facility, we have demonstrated how investors can work with Government to achieve sustainable results. I am confident that this facility, which has clearly given a facelift to this part of the Lumley Beach front will continue to provide employment for Sierra Leoneans at various level including at management level; that it will be a viable part of our tourism sector and that it will serve as a blueprint others will emulate.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, while I look forward to the second phase, it is now my honour to commission the phase 1 of the “Dream Atlantic Villa”.

Thank you all for your attention.

STATEMENT BY H.E. DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE LAUNCH OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE OF SIERRA LEONE BANK COMPLEX, KINGTOM 14 DECEMBER 2016

MR CHAIRMAN

HON VICE PRESIDENT

MINISTERS OF GOVERNMENT

DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS

THE SPEAKER AND HON MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT

THE HON CHIEF JUSTICE

THE MAYOR OF FREETOWN

HEADS OF MINISTRIES, DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

MY DISTINGUISHED YOUTHS OF SIERRA LEONE

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

During the State Opening of Parliament in 2013, I made commitment to establish a National Youth Service as part of my Government’s several initiatives to address the challenges of youth employability and empowerment in Sierra Leone. Today, in marking this year’s commemoration of International Volunteers Day, I am delighted to be here to fulfill that commitment, by launching the National Youth Service of Sierra Leone. This Service will be a catalyst for youth development; it will provide our youths with opportunities to gain valuable work experience, promote self-discipline, expand their knowledge of Sierra Leone’s social and cultural diversities and help to bridge ethnic divide. All of these will no doubt enhance their sense of patriotism and promote national cohesion. The National Youth Service will also help our youths to nurture and cultivate positive work ethos which is a major challenge affecting their career development and the attainment of their professional goals.

Mr. Chairman, our country is a nation of young people and its development largely depends on how ready our youths are in terms of relevant skills, experience and positive work ethic. I absolutely believe in their potential and power to move this country forward but to do so; to achieve sustainable development, we need to provide the youths with the opportunities to fit in as we have been doing for over eight years now. They too have to be ready to seize on these opportunities to improve on their capabilities, and to make themselves suitable for the tasks that we must confront together. This is why I have always maintained and ensured that they do not only fully participate, but are also at the centre of our national development efforts. I am aware that the youths can do a lot by themselves, but their efforts at constructing lives would be better served by the scaffolds and safety nets of a national development vision, program of action and relevant institutions.

My government’s Agenda for Prosperity, the National Youth Programme 2014-2018 (A Blue Print for Youth Development) and the revised National Youth Policy of 2014 constitute our development vision and programme of action for youth development. The creation of a separate Ministry of Youth Affairs, establishment of a National Youth Commission, the appointment of a Presidential Youth Aide, the formation of a National Youth Council with its affiliate youth structures at district and chiefdom levels, and today, the establishment of a National Youth Service explain my government response in providing the institutional framework to actualize my commitment to the youth of Sierra Leone.

I have dedicated my administration to the service of the youth of this country. This is why in line with the slogan of the service “Our Service Our Future”, I urge you to dedicate your service as young people to the service of your future and to the future of our country. You must continue to be hard working and disciplined; you must continue to be committed to the development of our country, and you must continue to make a difference to your lives and the communities you live and serve.

I am encouraged that with the dedication and support of our youth, we are on the path of recovery from the challenges thrust upon us by the twin shocks of Ebola and the fall in the price of iron ore. I am encouraged by the role young people played in overcoming the national challenges of civil conflict and the Ebola epidemic; I am encouraged by the role of our youths as leading agents in upholding democracy, good governance and the rule of law. I am encouraged that our youths can and will roll the wheels of industry and productivity to move our beloved Sierra Leone to development and prosperity.

Mr Chairman and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, with this launch of the National Youth Service, the logical next step will be the mobilisation of resources to ensure that it becomes fully functional and live up to its objectives. The success of this initiative is our collective challenge; all Ministries Departments and Agencies, the development community and the private sector must rise up to the occasion and embrace this unique opportunity to promote the productivity of our young graduates. I therefore implore you to create the space to accommodate our young graduates under this National Youth Service scheme, to give them the requisite experience, to help them learn the appropriate work ethics and to enable them to contribute to the change and transformation we desire in our communities and institutions and in our country.

While my government remains committed to kick-start the operations of the service, I look forward to the strong support of our development partners and friends in moving this scheme forward.

Let me use this opportunity to thank the Minister of Youth Affairs and staff of his ministry, Board and staff of the National Youth Service, the Board and Management of the National Youth Commission and members of the NYS Steering Committee that included the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. I also applaud the Hon Speaker and Members of Parliament for the speedy enactment of the National Youth Service Act. For supporting this initiative, I wish to particularly commend our development partners including the UNDP, UNFPA, United Nations Volunteers, World Bank, Restless Development, Plan International and sector youth-serving organisations.

Mr Chairman, this is another milestone in my government’s youth development agenda and I am very pleased to launch the National Youth Service of Sierra Leone.

God bless the youths of Sierra Leone, God bless Sierra Leone.

I thank you for your attention.