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Ambassador Gberie Engages with Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, to Showcase Sierra Leone’s Investment Potentials

Ambassador Gberie Engages with Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, to Showcase Sierra Leone’s Investment Potentials

Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, 9 December 2021- Ambassador to Switzerland and Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations, Dr Lansana Gberie, met with Mr. Claudio Tognola, Head of West Africa Division at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, to discuss opportunities for direct Swiss bilateral support to Sierra Leone.

The goal of Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation is reducing poverty and fostering economic self-reliance and state autonomy, by contributing to the improvement of production conditions, helping find solutions to environmental problems, and providing better access to education and basic healthcare services.

In his briefing, Ambassador Gberie highlighted that education, agriculture, health, and good governance are thematic priority areas in Sierra Leone’s Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2023. His Excellency further highlighted that Sierra Leone is a small but a dynamic economy.

Ambassador Gberie said that since 2018, Sierra Leone has taken steps to reform key institutions, laws and policies to create a conducive environment for business to thrive. He added “we are diversifying our economy to create investment opportunities in agriculture, fisheries and tourism.”

Ambassador Gberie expressed the country’s readiness to attract credible investors that will complement the Human Capital Development agenda of the government, especially in the area of school feeding, teaching and learning materials, as well as technical assistance.

“Sierra Leone is investing 22% of the country's budget in the education sector. Following this targeted investment, over two million five hundred children are now enrolled in school,” he added.

Ambassador Gberie said the Free Quality Education was launched in 2018 by His Excellency the President, Dr Julius Maada Bio, as the government’s flagship program to develop Sierra Leone's Human Capital as adopted in the country's Medium-Term National Development Plan from the 2019-2023. In this regard, he stressed the government needs support from partners to ensure project sustainability for the coming years.

Ambassador Gberie emphasised that Sierra Leone is proud of its rebranded image in Africa and beyond in the areas of:
o media freedom;
o gender equity and gender empowerment;
o improved human rights record including the recent abolition of the death penalty;
o free and fair elections and peaceful transition of power;
o peace, stable and open government;
o coordinated national anti-corruption action;
o promotion of the rule of law and justice

‘’Sierra Leone is a stable democracy, with strong a civil society, and we are open for business,” Ambassador Gberie said. Because of this strong foundation, support to the key areas of education and good governance programs will produce quick impact results, Ambassador Gberie said.

Ambassador Gberie reaffirmed his government’s commitment to supporting human capital development and promoting girl's education for inclusive and sustainable development.

In response, Mr. Claudio Tognola conveyed profound appreciation for the engagement, describing the meeting as timely and productive.

He said that his agency covers five countries in West Africa - Benin, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad- and has done so for the past 50 years. Mr. Tognola said that the agency focuses on rural development, food security, good governance and decentralization, basic education and vocational education, priorities in line with Sierra Leone’s National Development Plan. Mr Tognola said that the agency provides up to CHF 140 million to support its projects in West Africa.

He assured Ambassador Gberie that following His Excellency’s very informative briefing the agency will consider the potential of inclusion of Sierra Leone in the next international cooperation mandate which will be adopted next year by the Federal Council and Parliament.

At the end of the meeting, Ambassador Gberie presented a copy of the mission’s maiden edition of the Newsletter.

*For More Enquiries:
Mohamed Sheriff
Information Attaché,
Geneva, Switzerland
Email: m.sheriff@slmge.ch*