John Baimba Sesay
Sierra Leone’s effective interaction with the outside world, especially donor and development partners both at both bilateral and multilateral levels has helped in positively positioning her on global issues. Whatever successes therefore, that the country has scored over the years through in the area of international relations diplomacy, such should be used when discussing the candidacy Dr. Samura Kamara, the lead presidential aspirant.
Sierra Leone remains a player on global matters, as chairman of the African Union Committee of ten on the reform of the Security Council, leading negotiations on issue of fair global representation and through her contribution of troops to Darfur, Sudan, eventually helping ensure stability in that part of the continent.
President Ernest Koroma, on his election, with Dr. Samura Kamara either as financial secretary, finance minister, or foreign minister, succeeded in persuading traditional development partners like World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others to maintain previous funding levels to the country. This was a major achievement for us. This strong donor confidence on the government was practically a huge success as they continued to support our development efforts.
With Dr. Samura Kamara as foreign minister, the country expanded her bilateral relationship, reaching out and strengthening ties with Brazil, India, Venezuela, South Africa, Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries. Also, through our robust foreign relations, Sierra Leone successfully convinced the Venezuelan Government to award scholarships to medical students and other disciplines, with Brazil offering training packages in water irrigation, fish preservation and HIV/AIDS.
Both Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China have, and continue to enjoy strong and unbroken ties of friendship and cooperation. Significant outcomes of the strong bond of cooperation are the establishment of the China-Sierra Leone Malaria Prevention and Treatment Centre; China’s support during the ebola outbreak; and amongst others, her annual support to Sierra Leone’s human resource growth through award of scholarships. Sierra Leone, it should be noted, continues to stand with China on global geopolitical issues.
During Dr. Samura Kamara’s tenure as foreign minister, Sierra Leone and China, in 2016, signed six cooperation agreements geared towards lifting the bars of cooperation between the two nations. Both nations also scaled up their bilateral relations through comprehensive, strategic cooperative partnership in a bid to fully exploit the ten point cooperation package announced during the 2015 Johannesburg FOCAC Summit.
FOCAC (Forum On China-Africa Cooperation) is a development cooperation mechanism established in 2000 by the Chinese for the purpose of lifting the bars of cooperation between the continent on one hand, and the People’s Republic of China on the other. Dr. Samura Kamara’s strong bond of friendship with the Chinese along the FOCAC framework has also helped in fostering the relationship between the two nations.
Sierra Leone remains committed to international peace and stability. It continues to pursue the values and ideals of a strong, self-confident, democratic and peaceful nation, all of which could be better achieved with the support and cooperation of the international community.
The country continues to pursue prudent socio-economic programmes that are impacting positively in improving the lives of Sierra Leoneans. We have ensured robust economic policies in the last couple of years. There has also been the active participation of the private sector to our growth process. As finance minister, Dr. Samura Kamara worked on a comprehensive range of measures aimed at strengthening public financial management in both Central Government and Local Councils including launching of the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Programme (IPFMRP). This was to ensure sustainable improvement in the country’s fiscal governance.
Billion of Leones were to be transferred to Local Councils for various health projects at the local level, including the construction of a Maternal Health Post in Kenema and the Rehabilitation of the Nixon Memorial Hospital in Segbwema Town, Kailahun District, all under the tenure of Dr. Samura Kamara either as financial secretary or as finance minister.
In the ministry of finance, Dr. Samura Kamara worked on broadening the country’s tax base by introducing Goods and Services Tax (GST), which has been of vital help in pursuing our growth process. Overall, economic growth during his tenure either as financial secretary, Bank Governor or later finance minister was robust despite the global financial crisis at the time.
Dr. Samura Kamara has earned huge global respect given his relationship with development partners. With his outstanding record both local and global, it is imperative, that we elect him, president for through that we are sure of continuing with the ongoing development drives!