Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a farewell meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Musa Timothy Kabba, the outgoing United Nations Resident Coordinator to Sierra Leone, Babatunde A. Ahonsi, (Ph.D.), commended the government for its timely and effective responses to global setbacks.
Mr. Ahonsi, reflecting on his three-year tenure in Sierra Leone, praised the country’s commitment to development initiatives and resilience in the face of global challenges. He acknowledged the government’s efforts in implementing significant building blocks for economic and social transformation, emphasizing that these efforts would yield substantial returns over time.
“As I leave Sierra Leone, I firmly believe that the important building blocks for economic and social transformation that have been put in place… will yield significant returns for the people of Sierra Leone,” Mr. Ahonsi stated. He highlighted notable achievements, including strides in Free Quality Education, increased access to elementary education, and a decline in maternal mortality.
Recalling his arrival in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Ahonsi praised Sierra Leone’s preparedness and response under the leadership of President Bio. He commended the country for becoming one of the first in West Africa to fully vaccinate 70% of its citizens against COVID-19, aligning with the WHO’s targeted population by November 2022.
Minister Musa Timothy Kabba expressed gratitude to Mr. Ahonsi and the United Nations for their strong partnership in supporting government initiatives, particularly in the areas of Free Quality Education and other priority sectors. Kabba lauded the historical role of the United Nations in ending Sierra Leone’s civil war and facilitating the country’s participation in global peacekeeping operations.
Addressing global challenges, Minister Kabba highlighted President Bio’s Feed Salone initiative as a response to food insecurity, emphasizing its significance in mitigating threats that could undermine the country’s growth. He reaffirmed the United Nations’ role as a reliable partner in Sierra Leone’s development journey.
As Mr. Ahonsi bids farewell, the positive collaboration between the United Nations and Sierra Leone stands as a testament to the country’s resilience and commitment to addressing critical global issues. MJB/21/11/2023