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New FAO Country Representative Presents Letters of Credence To Foreign Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Tower Hill, Freetown, 4th July, 2022 The Food and Agricultural Organization new Country Representative, Saeed Abubakar Bancie, has today presented his letters of Credence to Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Professor David John Francis as he reaffirmed FAO’s support to Sierra Leone.

“The FAO’s mandate is to free humanity from hunger and to work towards providing access for all people at all times to the food they need, and to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Our aim is to increase the quantity and improve the quality of available food around the world.” He stated.

Professor Francis, thanked Mr. Bancie and the FAO for the support given to Sierra Leone over the years. He said Sierra Leone and the FAO had a very good working relationship for which the Government and people of Sierra Leone were grateful.

The Foreign Minister highlighted some of the gains made by the Government in the implementation of the Free Quality Education School feeding program. He said the Government is now planning to roll the School feeding program Nationwide.
This he said has helped to increase pupils enrollment in schools, but also, improve on their nutritional intake.

On the United Nations Security Council seat bid, professor Francis presented promotional materials to Mr. Bancie, Making him one of the ambassadors for Sierra Leone.

Professor Francis assured Mr. Bancie of his Ministry’s fullest support as he congratulate him on his new role.

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WFP Country Director bids Farewell Courtesies To Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Tower Hill, Freetown, 5th July, 2022.The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Country Director, Mr. Stephen Nsubuga has bid farewell Courtesies on Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Professor David John Francis as he leaves for a new assignment in Ukraine.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.

Professor David John Francis thanked the World Food Programme for the tremendous support given to Sierra Leone during the Covid-19.
“These are challenging times, and the Covid-19 transition has been met with another global Crisis. Nations allover the world are struggling currently, it now takes proactive leadership to make gains in governing any state.” The Minister Said.

The Minister on behalf of the President, His Excellency, Rtd. Dr. Julius Maada Bio thanked Mr. Nsubuga and the World health organization while he assuring his predecessor of the Government’s fullest support.

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UNFPA County Representative, Mrs. Nadia Rasheed Present Letters of Credence to Foreign Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Tower Hill, Freetown, 23rd May, 2022. UNFPA new Country Representative, Nadia Rasheed has today presented letters of Credence to the Hon. Foreign Minister, Professor David John Francis at his tower hill office in Freetown.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1973 and reaffirmed in 1993, with tow objectives. To build the knowledge and the capacity to respond to needs in population and family planning, and to promote awareness in both developed and developing Countries of population problems. The organization delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA partners with Governments, other agencies and civil society to advance its mission around world.

Madam Nadia Rasheed in her presentation commended the Government of Sierra Leone for efforts made in areas of Health and Education sectors. She affirmed her commitment in working with the Government and people of Sierra Leone during her stay.

The Honourable Minister, in his response said the Government recognizes the role of Multilateral partners in the maintenance of peace and security in the Country. He welcomed the new Country representative on behalf of His Excellency President, Rtd. Brig. Dr. Julius Maada Bio and the Government of Sierra Leone.

Professor Francis encouraged Madam Nadia Rasheed to closely work with the Ministry of Health and the Office of the First Lady. He said those two offices will help her achieve her mission for UNFPA in Sierra Leone.

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Parliament Ratifies The Sierra Leone-Russia Visa-Free Agreement

The Sierra Leone House of Parliament has today 9th November, 2021, unanimously ratified an agreement tabled before it by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David John Francis on 21st October, 2021, between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Government of the Russian Federation on Visa-free travels for holders of Diplomatic and service passports.

While presenting the agreement to Parliament for the second time, Professor Francis said the agreement will pave ways for the establishment of the Russian Embassy in Sierra Leone, thereby ending the risk of traveling to Guinea for Russina Visas which has been a waste of time and resources to Sierra Leoneans. The Minister was optimistic that the agreement will bring more business and educational opportunities for Sierra Leone.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Minister and his Counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, during the one day state visit to Moscow in order strengthen the already existing relationship both Countries have enjoyed over the years.

With the agreement now ratified by Parliament, this will not only provide practical benefits, but also help in creating a sense of acceptance and inclusion, maintaining a high level of bilateral support, offers access to knowledge, exchange of experiences and directly shapes Cooperation between both Countries

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Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister Engages Diplomatic Staff in Kenya

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Professor David J. Francis has just touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya. He is in transit to attend the AU -EU Ministerial Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.

In a brief meeting with the diplomatic staff based at the Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya, the Minister highlighted the transformative strides the Ministry has taken in strengthening Sierra Leone’s diplomatic relations. He also implored the team to work collaboratively in effectively representing Sierra Leone in Kenya and the entire East Africa region. He further emphasized that Kenya is a major hub and a multilateral station, and that’ the Mission should consistently promote and protect Sierra Leone’s interests through effective interaction with relevant agencies focusing on economic/development diplomacy.

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Prof. David J. Francis Woos Investors in the US

Professor David Francis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in his engagement with the United States Chamber of Commerce, described the SLPP Government as a liberal, progressive and business friendly Government.

He clearly informed the United States Chamber of Commerce that he wants to move away from the old tradition of Foreign Ministers from Africa running to countries with cap in hand begging for donor support, but that he wants to present unique opportunities to partners who are interested in making profits out of their investments and at the same time making the country and people of Sierra Leone better.

Professor Francis heartily commended the problem resolving mechanism of his Government, citing the case of SL Mining Company that has been recently resolved amicably in the interest of both parties, and the unfortunate situation about the First International Bank, revealing how both have to do with investments stemming from United States.

“We support businesses as a Government because no country has developed without the private sector,” he underscored going further to quickly challenge investors that if they want to make profits on their investments they should come to Sierra Leone and explore the untapped opportunities in the extractive industry, agriculture, marine, tourism, oil and gas.

He highlighted how the Government of Sierra Leone has put in place structures and processes to facilitate a transparent and corrupt free business environment.

The Foreign Minister said his Government is aware of the excruciating financial challenges their traditional partners are going through as a result of the Global pandemic, stating that it would be very difficult to go to the same old partners that have been helping Sierra Leone since Independence.

“The narrow focus on Economic Diplomacy has now changed to the broad spectrum of Development Diplomacy,” he disclosed adding how the Pandemic has forced Sierra Leone to start doing things differently, and reinvigorated the Government to fast track in looking at other areas for development and service delivery.

He said the airborne geo- data survey Sierra Leone did should be used as a concession for development.

According to what he said the agricultural land covers 5.4 million hectares of land and the country is determined to produce rice and feed her people as rice is the staple food, and stop importing rice that costs over US$ 200 million.

In the area of Energy, Professor David Francis guaranteed a strong energy revolution in Sierra Leone, in the sense that 9 River Streams are under processes that will enable them to generate electricity power supply saying that will be supported by solar plants and the hydro services.

Prof. Francis assured the United States Chamber of Commerce of the vast corridors of investment in Sierra Leone and the possibility for value addition in the country that will create wealth, jobs, and skills for the citizens of the country. “We want to change the mentality. We can actually do it in the country, and today we have gold smelting in the country. We cannot develop our country on charity,” Prof. Francis reaffirmed and mentioned the construction of the Lungi Bridge that the Government is about to undertake in order to make the city more accessible.

(C) The Calabash Newspaper

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Increasing Public Service Output… J.J Saffa Has A Tough Job Ahead

A Commentary By Ranger

The civil service is the backbone of the State and can either support or undermine a country’s entire system of governance. Donors recognize this important fact and have since the end of the civil war in 2002 spent tens of millions of dollars helping the Government to reform and strengthen the civil and public services.

The unfulfilled expectations and gaps of the New Direction Government from 2018 to date and two years into elections which clearly points towards a weak civil and public service delivery capacity means critical and strategic thinking, planning, organizing and coordination for extending more opportunities are required.

Civil servants, who mostly work in MDAs, are central to effective governance in developing countries. They deliver essential services to citizens, commission large-scale infrastructure, regulate economic activities and engage in diplomacy with foreign countries – to name just few roles.

As such, the newly appointed Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, needs the full cooperation of all Heads of MDAs, SOEs and Ambassadors to enable the Government deliver effectively and sustainably on the country’s Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP).

With the amount of funds stolen, wasted and misappropriated by MDAs reported annually by the Auditor General’s office shows that still, political will to change things is the greatest single challenge to an effective civil service reform.

It is generally known that what greatly hinder civil service productive, efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery are:
Negative or poor attitude to work, Bureaucracy, Political affiliation, Political interference, Duplication of offices and positions, Shortage of qualified personnel, Ineffective organization and Lack of initiative

Given this reality, if political leadership, including Parliament and the Executive do not invest in reform, then donors are unlikely to make any major headway.

Political will is so important to civil service reform because the civil service is fundamental to the political system to the extent that change cannot take place without the agreement of the most powerful players. They are essential both in terms of ensuring reforms continue over the long term and as a source of accountability.

Political patronage in this country has resulted in political appointees that see the civil service as a source of personal gain through pay, promotions and employment status.

Such interests see any reform to the civil service as a threat to these benefits. Similarly; many within the civil service benefit from being able to dole out public money, jobs, and other contracts and are unlikely to willingly give up such powers.

Civil service reform projects faced with strong patronage systems work best when they focus on specific areas. Focusing on, for example, merit-based recruitment can both improve civil service reform while at the same time chip away at the power of vested interests.

What the Audit annually implies is that systems with weak institutions lack the drive necessary to push reforms.

Furthermore; because the rule of law is weak in the country as a whole, it is weak also within the public service. This means that policies are not properly elaborated and that employees are not aware of their rights and responsibilities.

(C) The Calabash Newspaper

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United State Government Has Today LIFTED The 2017 B1/B2 VISA BAN On Sierra Leone Government Officials – Prof. David Francis

Ag. Secretary of Homeland Security, David Pekoske, of the US Govt has Today LIFTED the 2017 B1/B2 VISA BAN on officials of Foreign Affairs Ministry & Immigration Dept of the Government of Sierra Leone.

Good News for Sierra Leone’s new Development Diplomacy.

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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Pays Tribute to the Late Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya

Saint Paul’s Cathedral Catholic Church Kenema, Saturday 9 January 2020 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has paid a tribute to the former Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya, Peter Joseph Francis, who passed away on 28 December 2020.

He was the country’s first resident High Commissioner to the Republic of Kenya and Head of the United Nations Agencies in Nairobi.

In a short homily during the funeral service, Bishop Henry Aruna of the Diocese of Kenema described his death as another sad event not only for the Catholic Church but also for the entire nation.

Bishop Aruna noted that life was uncertain, and that death would always surprise the human race, every day and everywhere, and that the life of a man is short and full of trouble.

“A death like this reminds us of how temporal life is. Life is fragile, it can be taken away from us in a blink of an eye. May our good Lord grant Peter eternal rest and forgive his sins,” he concluded.

While paying tribute to the deceased Ambassador, President Bio said it was indeed difficult to talk about the late man because his death was so shocking. He referred to man as a passer-by on earth.

“My tribute will be a solace and a word of comfort to the family. Peter was a man who loved and cared for his family. His death will leave a big gap in the family,” he noted.

The President also confirmed that the late man proved to be a very dedicated servant in the discharge of his duties, adding that former Ambassador Peter Francis would be forever remembered for his service to the nation.

“On behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone, I want to say a big thanks to the family. May his soul rest in perfect peace,” he concluded.

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Sierra Leone Parliament Passes Into Law The Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion Act, 2020

House of Parliament, Tower Hill, Freetown, 8th December, 2020. The Sierra Leone House of Parliament has unanimously passed into law the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion Bill that was presented before it by the Honourable Chief Minister, Professor David John Francis, after several debates and scrutiny of the bill.

Professor Francis thanked the leadership of Parliament and Honourable Members from all sides of eye for bringing the process to a final stage of enactment. He called on parliamentarians to look at the spirit of the bill and the genuine intention of His Excellency the President, Brigadier General (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio of making Sierra Leone a peaceful and develop Country.

The Chief Minister said the Commission will build the foundation for permanent peace and promote development in the country.

_Office Of Chief Minister_