The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Brigadier (Rtd.) Julius Madaa Bio, arrived in Ghana on Monday, October 22, 2018 for a two-day official visit.
President Bio was received at the Kotoka International Airport by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, officials from the Ministry, government officials and members of the diplomatic corps.
The President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo welcomed President Julius Madaa Bio to the Jubilee House, Accra, where the two Presidents held bilateral talks and also addressed the Press.
Speaking at the joint press briefing, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo acknowledged the strong bilateral ties between Ghana and Sierra Leone and assured his counterpart of Ghana’s commitment to sharing her experience and expertise in various areas of national development to give a further boost to the relations between the two countries. He also thanked President Bio for attending the state funeral of the late former United Nations Secretary General, His Excellency Kofi Annan.
In the area of education, he commended the Government of Sierra Leone for emulating the example of Ghana by introducing a Free Quality Education policy for primary and secondary school students, which underscores education as a long term development tool.
The President also indicated that the Government would consider Sierra Leone’s request for technical assistance in the area of technical and vocational education training and would work with the country on the modalities for implementing the request.
He stated that Ghana was prepared to work with Sierra Leone to develop arrangements for an overseas medical personnel deployment programme to help Sierra Leone meet her healthcare needs.
President Akufo-Addo added that he and his counterpart have noted the need for national food security and the alignment of national food security strategies with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Food Security Reserve, which is part of the Regional Agricultural Investment Programme. He underscored the importance of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme in Ghana and the new commercial agriculture initiative by Sierra Leone. He also added that there would be cooperation in the energy and fisheries sectors.
President Julius Madaa Bio, for his part expressed his gratitude to Ghana for supporting Sierra Leone in its challenging times. He mentioned the war, Ebola disease and mudslides as some of the challenges that have affected the country’s development. He however emphasised that the country was making progress.
He said Ghana has made remarkable progress and his country was ready to cooperate with the country in various areas of national development for the mutual benefit of both countries.
President Bio expressed appreciation for the capacity development assistance that the Government of Ghana was providing in collaboration with Médicins Sans Frontières, for nurses from Sierra Leone who were undergoing top-up training in Ghana.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey and her Sierra Leonean counterpart, Dr. Alie Kabba signed a Joint Communique on Cooperation on behalf of their respective countries.
The two countries have pledged to work towards the convening of a Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation to facilitate the enhancement of the varied areas of cooperation between the two countries to be enhanced.
Both countries pledged to enhance trade cooperation by bringing together the private sectors in the two countries, to increase the volume of trade. They also pledged their commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Area for its immense benefits on trade expansion, job creation and welfare for all African countries.
The two countries further pledged their commitment to peace and security and noted the need for holistic measures, concerted action in addressing threats to the peace and security of the ECOWAS sub Region.
They further reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate at the level of ECOWAS, the African Union, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations and to deepen the shared values of democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and to pursue the agenda of an Africa Beyond Aid.