State House, Freetown, Thursday 17 November 2022 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has held his fourth Government of Sierra Leone and European Union, EU, dialogue forum since 2018, emphasising that in an era of global interconnection, they both need each other.
“In an era of global interdependence, the EU needs Africa as much as Africa needs the EU. Risks and challenges faced by African countries may have far-reaching ramifications for Europe. In the midst of a seeming global reset, this dialogue we are having this afternoon becomes even more important.
“Sierra Leone is only six hours away from Europe. There are new and existing opportunities that we can further harness. I am hopeful they will emerge during the course of these discussions. I, therefore, look forward with open-minded optimism to the dialogue this afternoon,” he told the opening.
President Bio said that he was pleased to discuss very pertinent issues that continued to shape the relationship between Sierra Leone and the European Union, adding that he appreciated their support to key sectors in the Medium-Term National Development Programme, his Human Capital Development agenda of education and agriculture, in particular.
He also cited, among other things, their interventions in infrastructure, mainly roads and bridges, as well as in governance that was already helping civil service reform, civil registration and Elections, adding that the country-specific bilateral cooperation was also very much appreciated.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank the EU for your invaluable contribution to Sierra Leone’s development. I am regularly briefed by the Minister of Planning and Economic Development on the ongoing development cooperation and interventions across the country,” he concluded.
The EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Manuel Müller, who was taking part in the event for the first time since his arrival, said it was an excellent opportunity for them to take stock of the most important aspects of their bilateral relationship with the country and the government.
He added that they would continue to support Sierra Leone’s efforts at consolidating democracy, and peace; promoting stability and creating a conducive environment for human rights and the rule of law, as well as fostering prosperity and development.
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