State House, Freetown, Sunday 15 November 2020 – Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, has called on His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio to discuss efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and support to COVID–19 socio-economic response and recovery plans.
Vice President Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh said he was honoured and privileged to welcome the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General and her entourage, noting that the visit was an opportunity to witness first-hand the socio-economic progress of the country so far.
The Deputy UN Chief, who was on a 2-day visit to Freetown, extended fraternal greetings from the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, adding that she was excited to be with the President. She described her tour of the region as a solidarity visit to Africa, adding that she wanted to see how the continent was coping after the Coronavirus pandemic that had disrupted every development in the world.
“Your Excellency, this is a visit of solidarity. These are difficult times. I am happy that education is at the centre of your government’s plans and for the many gains made so far in the health sector. The United Nations will continue to support you in your education drive,” she noted.
Madam Mohammed further announced that UNSG had sent her to see the quick actions on economic recovery of developing countries like Sierra Leone, Niger, Mali, Ghana and Nigeria. She said that she was happy with the way the Sierra Leone government had handled the spread of the virus so far, adding that she was also impressed with government’s efforts at sustaining the peace in the country.
President Julius Maada Bio welcomed the UN Deputy Secretary-General and expressed thanks and appreciation for the commitment demonstrated by the UN Country Team to the development efforts of Government, particularly towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 aligned to Sierra Leone’s Medium-Term National Development Plan – 2018–2023.
He reiterated government’s unwavering support for the UN and its programmes and implementation of the UN reforms in the country, adding that they were appreciative of the global efforts by the UN to fight the coronavirus pandemic through the multilateral system and for providing the leadership that was necessary during such health and economic crises.
“Reduced economic activity, revenue losses, budget constraints and huge cost of managing the pandemic have adversely affected efforts to achieve the SDGs aligned to the Medium-Term National Development Plan. Public health institutions need to be strengthened. For progress to be made on issues like health, education, gender equality and climate change on global agendas, we should strive to reduce inequality, violence, injustice and corruption,” he said.
The President expressed Sierra Leone’s support for current efforts by the UN and other International Financial Institutions calling for emergency debt relief and standstill mechanisms from international financial institutions.
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