State House, Freetown, Friday 1 July 2022 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has received the UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director, Asa Regner, and the UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr, visiting Sierra Leone from June 29 to July 1, 2022.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor David Francis, who introduced the team, said the two dignitaries were in the country for a 3-day working visit and had stopped at the presidency to appreciate President Bio for his tremendous strides on the issues of women and gender and other significant progress made under his leadership.
Madam Regner expressed gratitude to the President for the warm reception accorded her team upon arrival in the country and at State House, adding that she was pleased with the political will and policies of the President on women and gender issues.
“Your Excellency, I want to end by reaffirming the UN Women’s continued support and commitment in the area of women and girls’ rights in the country,” she noted, adding that their visit was also aimed at strengthening and re-affirming UN Women’s support toward the advancement of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls with a view to furthering advocacy and partnership in line with the development agenda of Sierra Leone and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
In his brief response, President Bio welcomed the UN team, saying that he was pleased to have them in his office to talk about his government’s efforts at governance and development generally but most importantly what they were doing around women and girls’ rights.
He went on to state that his government had been proactive and genuine with concerns about women and girls’ rights in the country noting that his government was genuinely committed to the welfare of women.
The President further stated that notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19, which stalled and had stifled genuine efforts, his government had made some strong commitments to education that was structured in a way that women and girls remained a priority.
“I have been able to get my government to believe that we should empower women so that they will be involved in the development process,” he said.
He ended by saying that he was determined to reach women and girls who were in the far-to-reach areas in the country and to encourage them to believe in themselves and aspire for greater heights.
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