State House, Freetown, Tuesday 13 July 2021 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has engaged the Sierra Leone–European Union Political Dialogue at the Credential Room, bringing together senior government officials and the European Union family.
Speaking at the opening of the ceremony, which had participants like Ambassador Tom Vens, the Irish Ambassador, the German Ambassador, the Dutch Ambassador, the French Chargé d’Affaires and the European Union Governance Adviser, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr Francis Kaikai, welcomed all to the 3rd EU-Sierra Leone Political Dialogue and set the stage.
He said it was important that they were meeting again to focus on the use of resources as support from the European Union (EU) on a multi-annual basis as well as grants and technical resources, adding that it would give the political and governance environment an opportunity to also look into and thoroughly discuss them.
“We are incredibly happy that we have this very important meeting because the future of the EU and Sierra Leone will be assessed based on investment issues particularly in the private sector and finally on democratisation and human rights,” he noted.
EU Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Tom Vens, said it was always a pleasure to be invited by President Julius Maada Bio for an open dialogue on the EU–Sierra Leone partnership, adding that he saw the recognition as an opportunity to be a part of the governance system in the country.
“The focus of this political dialogue is to have the opportunity and political time to assess the quality of partnership that the EU has with Sierra Leone for so many years and an opportunity to listen to progress and concerns. Also, the fact that so many cabinet members are present here is very impressive and shows the importance that you attach to us,” he stated.
The Ambassador further observed that in many other countries the EU had not seen a President sitting on the discussions of progress report with the European Union, and applauded President Bio for chairing the meeting for the third time since he assumed office in 2018.
“We are very happy at the EU that despite all the challenges after Brexit, we had the opportunity to assess our partnership in an open and frank manner. Thank you very much, Your Excellency,” he said.
In his statement, President Bio said the Sierra Leone–EU Political Dialogue was an important platform for the government because it would lead to constructive engagement on the path to development in real-time and on the other hand it will promote economic development.
“We look forward to this and to see how we can restart from the bottom where necessary, structure our relationship and make it beneficiary. So, we look forward to this again because it is important for us.
“So I just want to make it very clear to everybody that we look forward to this dialogue. It is very important and we take note of the critical issues discussed. I thank you very much,” President Bio concluded.
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