Two Sierra Leoneans are presently undergoing intensive fellowship training at the graduate school of the University of Sydney in Australia. The two Amara Kargbo and Ahmed Jalloh, are senior officials of the Ministry of Mines in Sierra Leone.
They say they were very happy with the course and looked forward to using the knowledge gained in making positive changes in how minerals are mined, managed and taxed in Sierra Leone.
The graduate program according to Robert Cummings Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, they developed the Africa program over the last 18 months and already a lot of interest has been shown.
The two months fellowship program is an essential leadership training course for senior mines officials. According to the organizers “The primary outcome of the Fellowship program is to build public sector capacity in a sector which has substantial potential opportunities to contribute to economic growth in the selected countries.”
The course outline includes “1) Practical Introduction, 2) Leadership Development Assessment, 3) Global Oil and Gas Contracts and Issues, 4) Public Policy: Delivering Public Value, 5) Mining Tax Law: 6) Issues Management, 7) Project Management, 8) Public Sector Leadership, 9) Environmental Impact Studies and Audits, 10) Gender and Development, 11) Research Project.
Though most of the participants who all come from African countries like Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia Sierra Leone and others say they all have scientific backgrounds but they appreciate the issues dealing with accounts and taxation which are plainly economic aspects of the program.
Ahmed Jalloh, a Sierra Leonean who is the spokesman for the group says he is appreciative of the course because it has exposed them to things they never knew about the industry. He stated that the knowledge will help all of them (participants) advice their governments properly and influence policies in a positive way that would yield increased benefits to their various countries. He emphasized the areas of profit sharing and policies, environmental impact assessment and project management noting that Australia has vast experience in mining.
Amara Kargbo also from Sierra Leone explained how they had visited a machinery plant where they saw how caterpillars were assembled and maintenanced. He said this is good for all of them because they were now colleagues and they would network together within their different regions and share local experiences which will further enrich their work and knowledge.
This was the first intake of students and the organizers pledge to make it even more relevant as it develops.