The Indian Ambassador designate to the Republic of Sierra Leone, Her Excellency Ms Shamma Jain, yesterday presented her letters of credence to His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House in Freetown.
After conveying the usual courtesies, Ambassador Jain noted that the bi-lateral relationship between the two countries has been strengthened over the years and this is evident in the close cooperation between both countries. She stressed that India’s experience in economic development and nation building is relevant to developing countries; adding that India is willing to share these experiences with African countries, especially Sierra Leone. The Ambassador then made mention of the Pan-African E-Network project, which is intended to bridge the Information Technology (IT) divide between Africa and the West. She then disclosed that several students from Sierra Leone have benefited from the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation/ Special Commonwealth Assistance Programme (ITEC/SCAP), which is being funded by India. She further revealed that a proposal is currently underway to construct barracks across the Country, to ease the problem of accommodation faced by soldiers. Ambassador Jain then called for a reform of the UN system, especially the Security Council, as we face the challenges of the present global crisis.
Responding, President Koroma expressed condolences for the loss of innocent lives during the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai. He assured the Ambassador that Sierra Leone is in agreement with India for a reform of the UN system; and that as Chairman of the committee of ten (10), which was set up to make recommendations for reforms within the UN, he promised to work assiduously towards that end. The President also acknowledged the idea to construct barracks nation-wide, to ease the problem of accommodation faced by soldiers. He then drew the attention of the Ambassador to priority areas, which include the Energy, Infrastructure and Agriculture sector; noting that the Government is seeking investment in these areas.
In another engagement, the out-going IMATT Commander, Brig Jonathan Powe has bid farewell to His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, at State House in Freetown. Brig Powe pointed out that his tenure in Sierra Leone has been rewarding, despite the fact that he has never visited Africa before.
He said that some progress has been made within the Military, especially in meeting the UN requirements. The out-going Commander also made mention of the training proposals for an ECOWAS standby force; adding that the challenges for the future are numerous as the Country needs to source funding to contribute to the UN peace building effort. He averred that he would be pleased to see Sierra Leone soldiers be included in peace building effort.
President Koroma in his response expressed gratitude to the IMATT Commander for the services rendered during the past year. He was optimistic that Sierra Leone would get the support as the Country ventures into peace-keeping operations. The President then made mention of on-going reforms within the Military, which he hoped would continue, especially in the Maritime Wing.
By Arthur Hedd-Williams