Minister of Political and Public Affairs Leads IOM Delegation to Vice President Dr. Amb. Victor Bockarie Foh
Presenting the delegation to the Hon Vice President, H.E. Amb.Dr Victor Bockarie Foh, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Madam Nanette Thomas introduced Mr. Zia Gulam, the Project Coordinator for Migration and Development of the International Organization for Migration, Prof. Gerd Junne as representative from the Dutch Government and Mr. Abubakarr Bangura, the President of the Sierra Leone Central Union Holland, who were there to talk to him about the Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) project. They had already visited her office and had fruitful deliberation.
Making his statement, Mr. Zia Gulam expressed immense gratitude to the Minister for making the meeting with the Hon. Vice President possible. Mr. Gulam pointed out the following contributions CD4D aims to achieve in improving and strengthening the capacities of local institutions in Sierra Leone:
1. Involving highly skilled Sierra Leonean Diaspora professionals to transfer their knowledge, skills and experiences
2. Establish sustainable links between institutions in Sierra Leone and in the Netherlands and other EU countries
3. Facilitate study visits to the Netherlands by representatives of targeted ministries and host institutions
He stressed that CD4D is working assiduously to fill the need for professional expertise in institutions in the target countries, tap the available pool of qualified and experienced Africans in the Netherlands and commit them to contribute to the development of their countries of origin.
Concluding his statement, Mr. Gulam highlighted IOM’s Strategic Focus on Migration and Migration Related Matters and Challenges which include expert advice, research, technical cooperation and operational assistance to states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
The Vice President Ambassador Dr.Victor Bockarie Foh welcomed the delegation on behalf of His Excellency the President who is out of the country.. He said he believe that the Diaspora played a great role to keep the engine of the government moving,. He welcomed the project and promised to give the necessary assistance in making sure that it could link between our people residing in Sierra Leone and the diaspora. The Vice President stressed that the country is grateful for the pilot project vis-a-vis the health, Education and Agriculture Ministry and hope that in the not too distant future they would expand the project in the other ministries. We would want to engage ourselves fully so that we do not lose on the opportunity you are giving us. Migration has been a problem which is causing people to lose their lives: People are taking the risk in search of greener pastures which sometimes triggers migration, countries that are once peaceful faces instability causing fear of some people living in areas of their natural habitat. Our people go out there; they earn education from superior areas of civilization and find themselves closed in prisons where they live! Not that they are happy there but stay because they want a good job.
MR. Gulan stressed that once Professionals in other countries are trained it would be good to encourage them to come home and share their knowledge and expertise with the less privileged.
Until we fully engage the Office of the Diaspora to beef them up and build up their capacity and direct them properly, it will be difficult to transfer knowledge.
Knowing the devastation the Ebola virus caused our country’s economy, halting development, it is right as we are picking up to coordinate with these organizations like Diaspora issues.
In his closing statement the Deputy Minister, Ahkmed Femi Mansaray expressed delight over the reception received from the Vice President at short notice and promised the IOM team of the fullest support. He wished the team a happy stay.
By MPPA Communications Unit