The Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Rt. Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu, has today, Friday 19 November 2021, paid a courtesy call on the Sierra Leone High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, while in transit to attend the Commonwealth Speakers Conference in Kigali, Rwanda.
In a brief meeting with the staff of the Mission, the Speaker entreated the team to work together in harmony and in the best interest of Sierra Leone, always giving their utmost in furtherance of enhancement of relations between Sierra Leone and Kenya and the other accredited countries. He also thanked the staff for amicably working together and for their continued support to the High Commissioner.
Honoring the invitation of the government of Kenya, Sierra Leone’s President His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio, on 1st June, 2022, was the guest of honor at the Madaraka Day national celebration and concurrently witnessed the unveiling of the Uhuru Garden National Monument. Madaraka Day is a national holiday in Kenya, celebrated on the 1st day of June every year, to commemorate the attainment of Kenya's internal self-rule from the British colonial powers, in the year 1963. President Kenyatta as well as other speakers on the day noted the day as a momentous one. President Kenyatta said: “It was a day on which Kenyans asserted that, through the dignity of independence and self-governance, would work hard, together, to create a future of which generations unborn would be proud”. Making his statement on that note, President Bio said: “Our two nations have stood together in war, in peace, and in solidarity.” “We have pursued a collective agenda and continued to deepen cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral levels. President Kenyatta’s great work in this country from electricity, ports, roads, railway, housing, to healthcare, education, food security and growing the Kenyan economy through trade and investment - has shown us in Sierra Leone what is possible.” “We are also here to strengthen our ties with Kenya in areas of international cooperation, peace and security, wildlife and tourism, ICT and education, and trade and investment”. On that same note, President Bio commended the Kenyan nurses and doctors who offered their services in Sierra Leone in 2014 at the height of the country’s Ebola pandemic. The President also added that in recent times the Kenyan government came again to the aid of Sierra Leone by providing computers and other equipment in addressing the country’s first-ever digital population census. President Bio further stated “Our paths since independence for our nascent African nations of Kenya and Sierra Leone may have been different. In each of our own ways, it has been arduous, maybe not what our forefathers imagined, and probably best left untold “But more importantly, the fraternal bond between our two nations keeps getting stronger. On Sunday, I joined the Kenya Defence Forces to celebrate the heroism of four young Kenyans and the sacrifices of thousands of Kenyan soldiers who fought to restore peace and stability in Sierra Leone. If we are today the fourth most peaceful democracy in Africa, it is partly because of the sacrifice of Kenyans. Thank you,” he concluded. The invitation extended to President Bio on these occasions did not only show the warm expression of friendly bilateral relations between Sierra Leone and Kenya but it also demonstrated strong ties between the two nations, in particular as they seek to enhance economic and trade relations
In a bid to market Sierra Leone to potential foreign investors, the Chief Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa, on Tuesday 31st May, 2022 successfully presided over a Business Forum that constituted a number of eager foreign investors ready to tap into Sierra Leone’s huge resources for wholesome investment.
The Chief Minister in the midst of Kenyan Government officials, private investors and other international organizations, presented key issues touching on the very question of: Why invest in Sierra Leone?
In his presentations, the Chief Minister, highlighted a range of reasons for investment opportunities from the country being a peaceful and democratic nation with ideal atmosphere for international investment, to having an investor-minded government, to the strategic access to market via three hours flight to Nigeria, six hours to the United Kingdom and eleven hours to China respectively.
The Chief Minister also touched on Sierra Leone having a huge tourism potential with rich heritage and culture; abundant arable land and a favorable climate for farming; an eager youthful population ready to work and fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for thorough investments.
In a similar vein, the Minister of Trade, Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy, also highlighted all sectors for investment ranging from manufacturing, agribusiness, technology and the mining sectors. All these presentations were well received by those in the audience.
The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt, in her presentation, visibly brought out key steps that President Bio had taken to ensure that Sierra Leone becomes an ideal place for investment. Key among them were these: repatriation of capital and profits guaranteed; constitutional protection against expropriation; investment guarantee against non-commercial risks; one-stop shop facilitation; periodic presidential round tables with private sectors; digitization of government services; facilitative industrial zone program; political and macroeconomic stability; high labor productivity: large pool of youthful, trainable and literate workforce; etc.
The Tourism Minister concluded that Sierra Leone stands tall not only within the sub-region of West Africa and the whole of Africa but also globally, as the best place for investments across all sectors.
In efforts to enhance both economic and social development in Sierra Leone, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, on Monday 30th May, 2022 during his state visit to Kenya, successfully signed bilateral agreements with the Kenyan Government to bolster existing relations.
Engagement during the bilateral engagement with His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta focused on enhancing trade relations and promoting investment in efforts to boost engagement in these areas.
Other areas of focus also included political and diplomatic consultations, wildlife conservation and tourism development, culture and arts, gender equality and women empowerment and youth affairs.
The signing of the Joint Commission for Cooperation and aforementioned Memoranda was presided over by both Heads of State, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Professor David J. Francis, also present.
Comprehensively, President Bio’s State Visit to Kenya has yielded the most desired fruits of the willingness of large business communities to invest in Sierra Leone in the very near future; also, that the State Visit triggered the opportunity of opening the foreign markets and reduce trade barriers between Sierra Leone and Kenya. What that means in real time is that: Sierra Leone’s domestic trade would grow faster, innovate and improve productivity, and provide higher income and more opportunities to the people within the shortest possible time.
The President of the Republic of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame has received Letters of Credence on Friday 22nd April, 2022 from the Sierra Leone High Commissioner-Designate to the Republic of Rwanda, Her Excellency Isatu Aminata Bundu, marking the beginning of her diplomatic engagement with the Republic of Rwanda. The First Secretary of the resident Mission in Nairobi, Mrs. Amie Angela Buck, accompanied Her Excellency to present her credentials at Urugwiro Village, Kigali.
In her statement Madam Bundu expressed that, Sierra Leone stands with Rwanda on the solemn occasion of Kwibuka 28, in remembrance and honoring of the memories of innocent lives massacred during the 1994 Genocide.
Conveying fraternal greetings from His Excellency President Bio to President Kagame, the Government and the People of the Republic of Rwanda, Madam Bundu also expressed the honour to serve as Sierra Leone’s envoy to the Republic of Rwanda and assured President Kagame of her hopes to build on the existing bilateral relations between the two countries to strengthen trade and economic cooperation.
High Commissioner Bundu further reiterated that Sierra Leone and Rwanda collaborate on multifaceted global issues including shared membership of the African Union, the Commonwealth and the United Nations. She also emphasized President Bio’s commitment to working closely with President Kagame in his role as Coordinator of the Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government in advocating the African Common Position on the reform of United Nations Security Council.
Madam Bundu referenced the signing of Agreements during the State Visit of HE President Bio to Rwanda in July 2019, affirming that the Government of His Excellency is primed for the implementation of said Agreements and a Joint Commission for Cooperation.
Upon receiving the Letters of Credence, President Kagame commended the existing fraternal relations between him and President Bio and between Sierra Leone and Rwanda, conveying his desire to visit Sierra Leone, whilst encouraging the High Commissioner to work closely with Rwanda in areas of mutually beneficial partnership.
Madam Bundu is scheduled to engage with various officials of the Government of Rwanda as she embarks on her duties in the country.
Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya
The Minister of Youth Affairs of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mr Mohamed Orman Bangura has led a delegation on a study tour of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) and other youth empowerment programmes in Nairobi, Kenya.
The study tour provided an opportunity to engage with providers of Kenya’s youth programmes, sharing experiences including successes, challenges and best practice in a mutually beneficial knowledge exchange on Funds to empower the youth, who are a key component in the economic growth of a country.
Mr Bangura conveyed greetings to HE President Uhuru Kenyatta from HE President Dr Julius Maada Bio, thanking the Principal Secretary at Kenya’s State Department for Youth Affairs, Charles T Sunkuli for their willingness to engage in this exchange of experiences. The meeting commenced with a number of presentations given by heads of directorates on topics including: youth talent identification and innovation; youth enterprise development; exhibitions and trade fairs; job specific training skills; life skills training; business skills labour market information systems; social development and effective sustainable management.
Similarly, the Minister’s delegation visited the secretariats of the Uwezo Fund and YEDF respectively. Both flagship programmes of the Kenyan government’s Vision 2030, the Uwezo Fund is aimed at enabling women, youth and persons with disabilities access finances to promote businesses and enterprises at the constituency level, thereby enhancing economic growth towards the realisation of the same and the Sustainable Development Goals No.1 (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger) and 3 (promote gender equality and empower women), while the YEDF’s strategic focus is on enterprise development as a key strategy that will increase economic opportunities for, and participation by Kenyan Youth in nation building. The Fund seeks to create employment opportunities for young people through entrepreneurship and encouraging them to be job creators and not job seekers. It does this by providing easy and affordable financial and business development support services to youth who are keen on starting or expanding businesses.
Discussions centred on operations, stakeholders; eligibility criteria; loan disbursement and repayment opportunitiescoaching and mentorship and training. A beneficiary was also present to give a firsthand account of how the YEDF fund has impacted his packaging business.
The Kenyan representatives at the State Department for Youth Affairs expressed their desire to conduct a similar visit to Sierra Leone following Mr Bangura’s delivery about ongoing projects in Sierra Leone including the Youth in Fisheries, Youth in Agriculture and Carwash programmes. Benson Muthendi, Acting CEO of the YEDF commended the Minister’s commitment to active research in pursuit of establishing a stellar National Youth Empowerment Fund in Sierra Leone.
Also present was Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Kenya, Madam Isatu A. Bundu who endeavoured to continue engagements with the various entities on the ground in Kenya in collaboration with the Ministry.
Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya
In that meeting, the High Commissioner explained some of the notable achievements of President Bio’s Administration in the fight against corruption; the investment in the country’s human resource through the Free Quality Education; the enhancement of food security and sufficiency through the president’s agricultural programmes; gender equity and equality programmes; infrastructural developments, etc.
On 21 March, 2022 High Commissioner Bundu joined the Community and Sierra Leoneans in East Africa in the celebrations of Sierra Leone’s belated Independence Day which was held at the chancery’s premises in Nairobi. That celebration united all the Sierra Leoneans living in East Africa into one big family with a singular cultural heritage.
The most prominent among the celebrants of that occasion were the Director General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi ( UNON), Madam Zainab Hawa Bangura; the President of Sierra Leone Community in Kenya; a cross-section of Sierra Leonean Students in East Africa; a cross-section of Sierra Leoneans in the UN system, etc
Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner Designate to the Republic of Uganda, Her Excellency Isatu Aminata Bundu presented her Letters of Credence to H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, at State House, Entebbe. The High Commissioner Designate was accompanied by the Minister Plenipotentiary of the resident Mission in Kenya, Mr. Abdul Karim Kargbo.
At the ceremony, whilst conveying H.E. President Bio’s congenial greetings to H.E. President Museveni, the Government and People of Uganda, the High Commissioner Designate expressed the honour and privilege to serve as her country’s non-resident envoy to the Republic of Uganda. “I am greatly honoured Your Excellency”, Madam Isatu Aminata Bundu said, “to serve as my country’s High Commissioner to your great country”. She further stated it was her sincere hope that she would succeed in her endeavours to strengthen the existing relations between the two countries.
Madam Bundu affirmed that the Republics of Sierra Leone and Uganda effectively collaborate on multifaceted global issues, not least the two countries’ shared membership of the African Union, the Commonwealth and the United Nations. She firmly assured President Museveni of President Bio’s unflinching commitment to working closely with him in advocating the African Common Position on the Reform of the United Nations Security Council as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration.
While discussing opportunities for cooperation between Sierra Leone and Uganda, Madam Bundu further emphasized that the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone is ready to actualise the implementation of the MoUs, Agreements and the establishment of a Joint Commission for Cooperation following the signing of a raft of agreements during President Bio’s State Visit to Uganda in 2019. This will certainly bind and strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between the two countries, permitting further cooperation in various sectors of their economies.
President Museveni congratulated High Commissioner Bundu on the occasion of her appointment and the presentation of credentials; wished her success in her diplomatic endeavours and welcomed the fact that the citizens of the two countries shared common values. President Musuveni reiterated the need for Uganda to boost both the economic and political cooperations with Sierra Leone.
The ceremony was climaxed by the presentation of her Letters of Credence to President Museveni confirming her appointment as the Republic of Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Uganda with residence in Nairobi, Kenya.
Whilst in Uganda, Madam Bundu also met with Mr Youssef Chamas, Sierra Leone’s Honorary Consul in Kampala and visited Masaka Kids Africana; which provides shelter, food, clothing and medical care to orphans in Uganda with a focus on education, song and dance.
A. B. Dakowa
Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya
Prof. Foday M. Jaward has delivered Sierra Leone’s national statement on behalf of His Excellency the President, Rtd. Dr. Julius Maado Bio at the Special Session of UNEP@50 in Nairobi. The Minister conveyed President Bio’s fraternal greetings to His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and delegates present at the Special Session, expressing gratitude to the host country and UNEP for their stewardship and exceptional hospitality.
The Minister referenced the triple planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution and waste while highlighting practical steps taken by the Government of Sierra Leone which include :(i) the establishment of a climate change secretariat within the Ministry of Environment;
(ii) developing new legislations that govern the release of air pollutants and the management of plastic and electronic waste; and
(iii) the initiation of an ambitious four year National Tree Planting programme aimed at planting 5 million trees to help restore 12,750 hectares of degraded land thereby increasing biodiversity and offsetting the carbon release in the country.
Prof. Jaward assured that Sierra Leone remains committed to implementing international agreements and is taking measures towards developing a climate resilient future and
urged global leaders to be steadfast in using scientific knowledge about the causes of environmental challenges to inform policy direction.
The Special Session to commemorate UNEP@50 held under the theme “Strengthening UNEP for the Implementation of the Environmental Dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development“ commenced on 3 March 2022, a day after the conclusion of the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2).
His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya presided over the official opening of the two-day event, with Heads of States including HE Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana; HE Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Republic of Nigeria; HE Philip Mpango, Vice President of the Republic of Tanzania, HE Felix Moloua, Prime Minister of Central African Republic and Ministers of Environment in attendance.
The event was chaired by Madam Leila Benali, Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of the Kingdom of Morocco who made her inaugural address as the newly elected President of UNEA.
The Sierra Leone delegation included Madam Isatu Aminata Bundu, High Commissioner to Kenya and Permanent
Representative to UNEP, Dr. Bondi Gevao, Executive Chairman of the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone, Mr. Lahai Samba Keita, Ag. Director of Environment, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Mrs Amie Buck, First Secretary at the High Commission.
Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya