In a strategic endeavor to reinforce the enduring relationship between Sierra Leone and Russia, a high-level delegation from Sierra Leone on Wednesday 22 November 2023 embarked on a diplomatic mission, paying a courtesy visit to His Excellency Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in the Russian Federation.
Facilitated by Sierra Leone’s Ambassador Mohamed Yongawo, the delegation expressed gratitude for Russia’s consistent support during critical junctures, notably during the Ebola crisis and amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They acknowledged Russia’s significant contribution, symbolized by the donation of 100 dump trucks, as a testament to the strong friendship shared between the two nations.
Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurie, representing Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Technical and Higher Education, emphasized the delegation’s commitment to bolstering existing partnerships, particularly in the education sector. She highlighted Russia’s crucial role in shaping Sierra Leone’s education landscape, citing over 2,000 Sierra Leonean students who have pursued studies in Russia over the 62 years of bilateral relations. Dr. Wurie also stressed ongoing educational endeavors, urging for continued collaboration, especially in scholarships for middle workforce training.
Minister Wurie delineated President Julius Maada Bio’s strategic priorities, focusing on agriculture mechanization, human capital development, job creation, public sector reform, and ICT and infrastructure advancement. She underscored Sierra Leone’s desire to leverage Russia’s expertise in crucial sectors aligned with the country’s developmental goals.
Hon. Julius Daniel Mattai, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, expressed heartfelt gratitude for the warm reception, recalling his academic pursuit in the former Soviet Union. His academic tenure from 1986 to 1992 led to his fulfillment as a geologist and now serves as Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, nearly three decades after his educational stint in Russia.
The meeting underscored both parties’ commitment to strengthening ties and collaboration across critical sectors, fostering a sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership. Deputy Minister Mikhail Bogdanov pledged Russia’s continued collaboration with Sierra Leone in key areas such as education, energy, infrastructure, and agriculture.
Mr. Bogdanov promised to support the training of Sierra Leonean students in Professional and Technical Vocational courses, aligning them with the demands of the 21st-century job market.
The Sierra Leone delegation included key figures from various Government agencies and the Republic of Sierra Leone Embassy, reflecting a comprehensive and united effort to deepen collaboration and mutual understanding between the nations. The meeting concluded with a shared commitment to furthering cooperation for mutual growth and development.