By Amin Kef Sesay (Ranger)
According to a joint Press Release, the 2022 annual Political Dialogue between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the European Union (EU), chaired by H.E. Rtd. Brigadier General Dr. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, took place at State House in Freetown on the 17th November 2022.
During the 2022 Dialogue between Sierra Leone and the European Union, both sides discussed a number of points of mutual interest.
The dialogue started with a fruitful exchange on the development cooperation between “Team Europe” (European Union and EU Member States) and Sierra Leone. This exchange was a follow up to the participation of H.E. President Bio at the EU-Africa summit in Brussels in February 2022, where the President had discussed with EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, the 2021-2024 portfolio of 245 million Euros to support Sierra Leone’s development priorities in the sectors of Green Economy, Education and Good Governance in Sierra Leone.
The dialogue also included an exchange on the state of play of the preparations for peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible general elections in Sierra Leone in 2023 and Team Europe’s support to the work of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone and other Electoral Management Bodies in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program.
With regard to the importance of multilateralism, both sides underlined their commitment to a rules-based world order in the framework of the United Nations. The Government of Sierra Leone gave an overview of the Sierra Leonean priorities as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2024-2025. Both sides underlined their commitment to universal respect for, and observance and protection of, all Human Rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
Team Europe and representatives of private companies from the European Union active in Sierra Leone had a fruitful exchange with the Government on the conditions for an enabling business and investment environment. This was the second time that private companies participated in the annual Political Dialogue addressing their suggestions directly to the Government of Sierra Leone.
At the end of the dialogue, both the Government of Sierra Leone and the European Union reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening the partnership between Sierra Leone and the European Union, including their commitment to continue to hold regular political dialogues on issues of common interest, and to follow up on the conclusions and agreements reached in the course of these dialogues.
Members of the Sierra Leonean delegation led by H.E. Dr. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, who chaired the dialogue, were Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa, Chief Minister, Denis K. Vandi, Minister of Finance, Dr. Francis Mustapha Kai-Kai, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Ms. Mamadi Ngobeh Kamara, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sahr L. Jusu, Financial Secretary, Peter N. Sam-Kpakra, Development Secretary, Dr Samuel Jibao, Commissioner General, National Revenue Authority, Dr. Marda Mustapha, Executive Director, National Investment Board, John O. Benjamin, Adviser to the President, Ambrose James, Director, National Authorizing Office and Ms. Abie Elizabeth Kamara, Director, Development Assistance Coordination Office.
The European Union was represented by H.E. Manuel Müller, Ambassador of the European Union to Sierra Leone; H.E. Claire Buckley, Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone; H.E. Jens Kraus-Massé, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sierra Leone;H.E. Urban Sjöström, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to Sierra Leone;Mr. Romain Vuillaume,Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of France;Ms. Katja Lasseur, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Embassy of the Netherlands, Mr. Gerald Hatler, Head of Cooperation of theDelegation of the European Union to Sierra Leone, Mr. Bram van Opijnen, First Secretary, Embassy of the Netherlands, Ms. Elisa Tesselli, Second Secretary, European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, Ms. Emma McLoughlin, Second Secretary, Embassy of Ireland, Mr. Nikola Kutin, Second Secretary, European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone.
Private companies from the European Union active in Sierra Leone were represented by Ms. Estelle Van Eeckhout, General Manager of Brussels Airlines, Mr. Laurent Bukasa, Managing Director of Sierra Leone Brewery, and Mr. Sékou Amadou Bah, CEO of Orange-Sonatel.