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Heightening Our Engagements through Economic Diplomacy PDF Print E-mail
Politics
Written by John Baimba Sesay- CHINA   
Monday, 29 May 2017 15:12

The world, writes Jean-Robert Leguey-Feilleux in ‘The Dynamics of Diplomacy,' has undergone spectacular alteration. “Some traditional forms of diplomacy”, the writer believes, “are losing their prominence. Our complex global society has turned to new means of interaction to address international problems…”

 In contemporary diplomacy, pursuing economic diplomacy helps in promoting a country’s trade, which is enhanced by promotion of inward investments.   The need to efficiently utilize economic diplomacy in advancing a country’s outside fiscal interests cannot be overstated.

 

Attraction of foreign investments, writes P. Baranay in ‘Modern Economic Diplomacy’ is an essential issue of economic diplomacy. Economic diplomacy pursues a number of objectives, amongst them networking and ensuring proper mobilisation in areas of trade and investment promotion.

 

Sierra Leone is a global player, today contributing to regional peace and stability through the contribution of peace-keeping troops to war-torn nations. It chairs the C-10, leading the advocacy for a reform of the UN Security Council, making it a global voice.

 As a country, it continues to scale up activities of her embassies abroad, having people with specific responsibilities on commerce and the private sector (as in China and Nigeria, amongst other having Trade Attachés), Defense (just recently in China with the arrival of a Defence Attaché) and other specialized areas.

The appointments of these Trade and Defence Attachés, President Ernest Koroma told me in a 2016 interview in Beijing, “clearly tells that we have now heightened the engagement to even dealing with specific activities, shifting from just normal diplomacy as it were, to engagement on a person-to-person basis, building our economic ties and military capabilities, and new co-operations.”

Opening up on global engagement and discussions at the bilateral and multilateral levels is extremely crucial in sustaining our ties with nations, ensuring new areas of bilateral cooperation and in positioning ourselves for future global roles. Engagement is also crucial in seeking investment opportunities and in pursuing the country’s interest both bilaterally and multilaterally.

As an embassy, we have had the strong commitment of pursuing Sierra Leone’s interest. Seeking credible investment opportunities forms a core of our activities. The embassy shall continue to encourage private sector involvement from countries we cover, in our development drive.

By 2016, President Koroma assured of his government’s support to enterprises seeking to explore investment opportunities in Sierra Leone by ensuring enabling environment. Sierra Leone, it should be noted, has huge untapped potentials for investment in tourism, agriculture, and infrastructure.

In a February 2016 engagement with Chinese firms, the country’s deputy envoy to China. Kumba Momoh referenced the country’s Investment Promotion Act 2004 as crucial in the promotion and attraction of private investment, both domestic and foreign. The country has remained politically stable and peaceful, also making socio-economic progress. 

Sierra Leone has been part of the continent’s striking economic growth. Few years ago, it was among the world’s fastest growing economies, added to Chad, Mozambique and Nigeria. But global trends have had an adverse effect on our growth. Iron ore, writes Kingsley Ighobor in AfricaRenewal, “is Sierra Leone’s economic life-line.”  Tonkolili, it is worthy to note, is host to Africa’s biggest ore deposit and worlds’ third largest.

However, an abrupt crash in prices of commodities like oil, gold, Rutile, Kingsley Ighobor argued,  “is changing that upbeat African narrative” since countries that depend on such commodities, “are in dire straits.”  In fact, Ighobor believes “the fall in commodity prices represents a significant shock for sub-Sahara African regions…”

Notwithstanding such a challenge, the Sierra Leone Government continues to provide an enabling environment for investments. Significant incentives are offered to foreign investors, including the ability to repatriate profits and capital without restriction; the ability for companies to carry forward losses indefinitely and customs exemptions for expatriate workers and their families.  

There has been huge investments and expansion in agriculture, mining and a growth in the country’s infrastructure trajectory. There remains an outstanding improvement in domestic revenue mobilization and collection which now significantly contribute to distribution of funds to local authorities, and councils, thus helping to build on the country’s decentralization/ democratization process. 

Good happenings. But there is more to it, especially in enticing credible foreign private sector investments. This largely depends on our roles outside the country. Our levels of engagements would be of strategic help in this direction.  

Optimistically, we'll continue to heighten our engagements at the level of government-to-government, and people-to-people in a bid to get a surge in ties bilaterally, and in advancing our interest

The shift from the traditional form of engagement, marked by the appointments to our Missions of people to handle specialized areas speaks volume of the general expectation. Those specialized areas are now being used in heightening our global engagements as a nation.

 

 

Editorial

26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.

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Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone

John D. Okrafo-Smart, Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone and gives his insight into the banking landscape.

Excerpts shared by Sheriff Mahmud Ismail

The Government of Sierra Leone is placing great priority in improving the business climate, enhancing infrastructure and support to private sector development. In line with the government focus, the Central Bank is targeting price stability in support of economic recovery, enhancing monetary policy instruments and liquidity management and also limiting intervention in the foreign exchange market, which will be important to preserve foreign exchange reserves.

The above measures will help in the strengthening of the banking system to support financial intermediation. Commercial banks are thus poised to benefit and take advantage of the improved economic and business environment by offering better services to their customers, including loans and overdrafts and forex to import, thereby creating wealth and boosting government revenue.

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Freedom of Expression Violations Rise Sharply in West Africa

The incidents of freedom of expression rights violations in West Africa more than tripled in the first quarter (January-March) of 2017.

Over the three-month period, a total of 47 violations were recorded as against 14 violations for the last quarter (October-December) of 2016. The violations recorded in the quarter under review range from arrests and detentions to physical attacks, online violations, shutdown of media houses, censorship, seizure and destruction of property and killings. The 47 violations occurred in 10 out of the 16 countries in West Africa.

 

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Dr. Tam Baryoh’s Only Crime!

Boris Johnson as a Journalist worked at The Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers. He edited The Spectator newspaper between 1999 and 2006. He was Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and was also Mayor of London. He is a member of the Conservative Party and the current UK Foreign Secretary.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was to serve as the first president of independent Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. He opened and edited a number of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria and later became an active politician. Obafemi Awolowo was a great Nigerian politician. He also was an active journalist and edited The Nigerian Worker, amongst other publications.

There is a clear link between politics and journalism though, there seems to be a very thin boundary, or perhaps, “a reflective door in the firewall, such that with time, politicians and journalists cross the line changing roles and moving from side to side,” argues Aminat Afolabi in a piece, titled ‘Politics and Journalism, the Interwoven Relationship between Them.”

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How and Why I endorse Julius Maada Bio for President?

I have

I have endorsed Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio for the SLPP presidential ticket in the March 7 2018 elections because I strongly believe in his project and ability to succeed as our next president if given the opportunity.  Perhaps I need to provide  some context as to how, when and why I took this decision.

Maada Bio is the second presidential candidate I have ever endorsed in Sierra Leone. The first was late president TejanKabbah during the campaigns in the 1996 general elections, which he won. I was then publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Expo Times, which won the best-selling newspaper award from the National Vendors Association that year. At the time, my newspaper was the largest circulation and most widely read newspaper in the country and my nearest competitors were For Di People and Concord Times. When the presidential election campaigns became heated and the battle lines were clearly drawn with the three front-runners, TejanKabbah of the SLPP, Karefa-Smart of the UNPP, and Thaimu Bangura of PDP (SORBEH), For Di People declared for and endorsed Karefa-Smart and the UNPP while Concord Times declared for and endorsed Thaimu Bangura and the PDP. Dr Prince Harding and Banda-Thomas then approached me to endorse and help TejanKabbah of the SLPP, who was then the clear frontrunner according to Opinion polls, to win the elections. 

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Freetown- 9 October 2017 – A new jingle that forewarns Sierra Leonean about the dangers of residing in disaster-prone communities will be released on 10 October 2017.

The 1:30-second radio jingle, aired twice daily for 70 days will be aired on seven major radio stations across the country.

The radio announcement is in Krio, the country’s Lingua Franca, and Mende, Themne and Kono- the widely spoken languages in Sierra Leone.

When radio-lovers tune in on Tuesday morning and evening for the next 70 days they will be informed about the changes in the weather.

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'A nation cannot progress when its citizens allow bribery to prevail over their sense of patriotism', says Simeon D. Sam Crop Officer, Tonkolili Agriculture Office. He made this statement at an awareness raising engagement organized by the Northern Region Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Wednesday 4th October 2017.  

Addressing staff of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) at their Post Office Road Office in Magburaka, ACC Public Education Officer Abdulai Saccoh said, the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign is a sustained approach which gives opportunity to ministries, departments and agencies to deal with bribery issues from within their institutions.

Mr. Saccoh stated that the PNB has enabled citizens to interact with the reporting platform, report incidents of bribery using the PNB channels. Saccoh noted that though Tonkolili is not a PNB district, citizens in that part of the country should be aware of the campaign and could use the platform equally.

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THE CASE FOR REFORM OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL
  1. In recent years many UN member States have begun urging a change of the Security Council more so by demands of African states led by Sierra Leone.
  2. The main argument for reform is that change is necessary to make the Security Council more reflective of today’s International realities.
  3. Since the Council was created in 1945 more than a hundred and ninety two nations have come into existence and former defeated states in the last World War such as Germany, Japan and Italy have rejoined the World Community. While many developing states have become economic and trade dynamos yet the Security Council still operates on the same basic principles and with the same P5 (permanent Five) UK, USA, CHINA, FRANCE and USSR.

 

Sierra Leone has consistently and with farvour put the case for Africa at every fora upto some weeks ago in New York but it is difficult to assess the response of the UN or the P 5 respectively.

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Politics

PRESIDENT KOROMA SAYS… “I am very proud of Ansumana Usman Koroma”

President Dr Ernest BaiKoroma has informed Sierra Leoneans that, “I am very proud that we have people like Ansumana. We need many more Ansumana Usman Koromas that will go out there as Ambassadors of our country, showing and telling a good story about Sierra Leone.”

Whilst speaking at his Presidential office in Freetown, President Koroma affirmed that, “I am very proud of Ansumana and I am encouraging him to do more by helping his people.”

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