Returning to Freetown after a fruitful two-day visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio finalized his participation at the Saudi-Africa and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summits. His engagements included significant bilateral discussions with global companies, investment funds, and Saudi Government officials on the sidelines of these summits.
Accompanied by a high-level delegation including Chief Minister Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, Foreign Affairs Minister Timothy Musa Kabbah, Health Minister Dr. Austin Demby, Trade Minister Ibrahim Alpha Sesay, Agriculture Minister Dr. Musa Henry Kpaka, and Tourism Minister Madam Nabeela Tunis, President Bio showcased his government’s strategic priorities encapsulated in the Big Five Game changers.
The Saudi-Africa Summit, a platform aimed at fostering deeper collaboration between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Africa, provided an avenue to explore potential partnerships in agriculture, health, education and humanitarian aid. President Bio reiterated the significance of this alliance to bolster development on the continent.
Concurrently, the OIC Summit addressed pertinent matters concerning the situation in Palestine. The meeting, which involved OIC Senior Officials and Foreign Affairs Ministers, culminated in the adoption of a resolution on the matter.
Reflecting on his interactions during the visit, President Bio engaged in key discussions with Saudi officials, including the Minister of Education and the Governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). In his meeting with Dr. Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Benyan, the Saudi Minister of Education, President Bio highlighted Sierra Leone’s strides in Human Capital Development and emphasized the government’s commitment to empowering youth with skills suited for the 21st-century industrial landscape.
The Minister extended an invitation to President Bio and his government to attend the upcoming Human Capital Development Summit in February 2024 while expressing Saudi Arabia’s readiness to support Sierra Leone in diverse educational domains, including Islamic college initiatives, e-learning, technical and vocational opportunities, and agricultural research and development.
During a separate session with Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, Governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, President Bio conveyed appreciation for the warm hospitality extended during the summit. He explored avenues to enhance bilateral relations, focusing on potential economic opportunities beyond religious ties. President Bio emphasized Sierra Leone’s rich natural resources and sought viable partnerships for investments in agriculture, food production and the entire value chain.
Ministers Timothy Musa Kabba and Dr. Musa Henry Kpaka offered insights into Sierra Leone’s abundant mineral, oil, gas, and agriculture sectors, resonating with Governor Al-Rumayyan’s interest in exploring investment prospects in these areas.
Both parties expressed willingness to further discussions, including exchange visits and developing a joint framework encompassing agriculture and extractive industries. The President reaffirmed his G overnment’s commitment to protecting foreign investments and addressing challenges that might arise during the course of collaboration.
The delegation’s presence underscored Sierra Leone’s eagerness to forge robust collaborations and explore investment avenues, leveraging the nation’s vast potential and attracting foreign partnerships for sustainable growth and development.
Commit and Act Foundation in Partnership with German Doctors Empowers 400 Girls in Anti-FGM Project
Bo and Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone – Commit and Act Foundation Sierra Leone, supported by the German Doctors, successfully concluded its My Body My Right Project on Saturday, November 11th, 2023. This initiative provided financial aid, medical examinations, and counseling to 400 girls, marking a crucial step in combating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and addressing school dropout rates in Sierra Leone.
The overarching goal of the My Body My Right Project is to curtail the prevalence of FGM practices and reduce school dropout rates among 800 girls across 69 communities spanning 6 Chiefdoms in Bo, Tonkolili, and Bombali Districts.
Madam Hannah Bockarie, the Founder and Country Director of Commit and Act Foundation Sierra Leone, highlighted the project’s multi-faceted approach. She emphasized that the financial support provided will empower parents, enabling them to engage in viable businesses that sustain their families. Bockarie underscored the importance of instilling business skills in parents through training sessions, ensuring sustainable livelihoods. Moreover, she emphasized the project’s focus on educating girls about the adverse effects of FGM, empowering them to make informed decisions about their bodies, health, and education rights.
Expressing gratitude on behalf of her daughter, Aminata Kondeh, a beneficiary mother, lauded the donors, particularly the German Doctors and Commit and Act Foundation. Kondeh expressed how the financial support has positively impacted her ability to provide for her daughter’s livelihood. Additionally, she credited the project for contributing to her daughter’s academic success, emphasizing the project’s role in aiding her daughter’s educational journey.