EU Continues to be a Reliable Partner of Sierra Leone -Ambassador Müller Asserts

Ambassador Manuel Alexander Müller.jpg

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In a recent Press event held on Tuesday, 16th April 2024, Ambassador Manuel Alexander Müller, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Sierra Leone, reiterated the EU’s steadfast commitment to its partnership with Sierra Leone. The Press Lunch, which took place at the Country Lodge Conference Room on Hill Station in Freetown, served as a platform to highlight the collaborative efforts between Team Europe and Sierra Leone, focusing on development cooperation initiatives and future aspirations.

Ambassador Müller, along with the German Ambassador Jens Kraus Masse and the Irish Ambassador Aidan Fitzpatrick, emphasized the enduring nature of the EU’s support for Sierra Leone’s development journey over the past two decades, particularly since the end of the war. The partnership, grounded in shared values, has seen significant contributions to peace, stability, security, democracy, governance, human rights, gender equality, inclusive economic growth, and sustainable development in Sierra Leone.

He pointed out that the dialogue between the EU and Sierra Leone during the last EU-Sierra Leone Political Dialogue in October 2023 underscored a mutual commitment to strengthening their partnership across various domains, including governance, democracy, human rights, economic development, and multilateral issues. The EU Ambassador added that the commitment extends beyond bilateral cooperation to active engagement in international organizations, aligning views on global challenges such as inequality, conflict resolution, and climate change.

Ambassador Müller highlighted the EU’s substantial development cooperation with Sierra Leone, focusing on key areas such as education, agriculture and infrastructure. The EU’s support, he said, aims to address development challenges, reduce poverty and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, aligning with Sierra Leone’s National Medium Term Development Plan and the Government’s Big 5 agenda.

Specifically, the EU has commended Sierra Leone’s Feed Salone initiative, emphasizing its support for nutrition stability and job creation. Through bilateral agreements and programs like “Boosting Agriculture for Food Security” and “Jobs and Growth,” he revealed that the EU has been actively involved in promoting sustainable agricultural practices and value chain development in Sierra Leone.

Furthermore, he highlighted the EU’s role in the Global Gateway Africa-Europe Initiative, which focuses on infrastructure development to enhance digital, transport and energy networks in Africa.

“This initiative aims to attract public and private funding to support sustainable growth, job creation, and human development in Sierra Leone and across the continent,” he stated.

According to him, the EU’s support is implemented through a collaborative approach, leveraging the expertise and resources of EU Member States under the Team Europe framework.

He said projects are executed in partnership with the Government, Civil Society Organizations and the United Nations, ensuring alignment with local priorities and needs.

Recent initiatives, he intimated, such as the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to combat violence against women and girls, the Salone Access to Finance project for agricultural value chain production, and the Business Environment and Competitiveness for Salone program, demonstrate the EU’s ongoing commitment to fostering economic growth, gender equality, and youth empowerment in Sierra Leone.

The EU Ambassador said looking ahead, the EU plans to launch new initiatives like Nature Nourishes, which combines environmental protection with local development, and continue its support for agriculture, sustainable energy access, and inclusive growth.

He said additionally, the EU reaffirmed its dedication to engaging directly with Sierra Leonean communities through initiatives like the upcoming two-week bus tour to showcase EU-supported projects across the country.

The visit of Ms. Rita Laranjinha, Managing Director for Africa of the European External Action Service, he said, further underscores the EU’s commitment to strengthening its partnership with Sierra Leone.

Scheduled from the 17th to the 19th of April, he disclosed that the visit will facilitate discussions with Government representatives, opposition leaders, and Civil Society, reaffirming the EU’s enduring support for Sierra Leone’s development agenda.


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