Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Turns Sod for the Construction of a Foreign Service Academy

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Monday 21 December 2020 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has turned the sod to construct the country’s first-ever Foreign Service Academy at the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Freetown.

Deputy Director-General of Overseas Company of the China Railway Seventh Group, CRSG, Dong Xinagyang, said he was honoured to have been awarded the contract for the construction of the Service Academy, which he said was the 17th infrastructural development that his company would have done in the country.

He assured that CRSG would deliver the building on time and that quality service would be considered during the construction phase.

“This is another news waiting to happen because the construction of the Foreign Service Academy will create more jobs and skills training to deserving Sierra Leoneans,” he concluded.

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Hu Zhangliang, said that it was a great pleasure to have been part of the turning of the sod for the construction of a Chines Aid Foreign Service Academy, saying that it was a fulfilment of Sierra Leone’s long and friendly relations with China.

“China and Sierra Leone have come a long way in friendship and bilateralism. China is committed to advancing international cooperation in the infrastructural development of Sierra Leone,” he assured.

Ambassador Hu also disclosed that the construction of the Foreign Service Academy was Christmas gift to the country, adding that the two countries had always worked together to foster development in the West African nation.  

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Madam Nabeela Tunis, noted that it was with profound joy and happiness that she joined the audience to witness what she called “a historic event of launching the construction of Sierra Leone’s first-ever Diplomatic Academy”, which would provide the much-needed platform to share knowledge, skills and expertise.

“What we are witnessing here today is a product of intensive work geared towards mobilising the needed resources to translate the vision of His Excellency the President into tangible reality. I am, in that regard, pleased to formally announce today that the Government of the People’s Republic of China has provided the funds to assist us to establish the first-ever diplomatic academy in our beloved land that we love, Sierra Leone,” she explained.

In his statement, President Bio said his government and the people of Sierra Leone were grateful for the generous support the People’s Republic of China had continued to provide through Direct AID and through FOCAC funding.

“Previous speakers have highlighted interventions including past and ongoing key infrastructural projects. Based on our continued friendly relations, we anticipate even more strategic partnerships and interventions that will support our nation’s development,” he said, adding that the in the New Direction Manifesto, they had argued that Sierra Leone had not maximised benefits from international diplomacy, foreign relations and international co-operation because there was no clear foreign policy orientation and there was undue interference in the recruitment and performance of diplomats.

“So in our Medium-Term National Development Plan, we set out fifteen strategic policy actions including, establishing a diplomatic academy for training and producing higher numbers of career diplomats, creating special schemes to encourage young graduates to become career diplomats, and upskilling and reskilling existing staff to ensure higher productivity and efficiency. This training, in addition to the reorganisation, harmonisation, and rationalisation of our Foreign Ministry and foreign missions could enhance the quality of our representation and thus maximise the benefits of our foreign relations,” he concluded.

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