Tony Blair visits Sierra Leone as AGI continues work supporting President Koroma's second termTuesday, Jan 15, 2013 in Africa Governance Initiative
This week Tony Blair made his first visit to Sierra Leone since the re-election of President Ernest Bai Koroma in November last year. During his two day trip he and President Koroma discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by the country over the coming five years and the implementation of the 'Agenda for Prosperity' the Government's flagship development plan.
They both went on to discuss AGI's on-going support of the new Government's immediate delivery priorities for the President's second term in office. Speaking during his latest visit, Tony Blair said:
"I have watched Sierra Leone grow over the past decade after the war and particularly the last few years that I have been coming here. The challenges are still considerable, but step by step the country is on a path of progress and change.
"Sierra Leone has natural resources, its culture, and great potential in the area of tourism and the development of the private sector."
During the visit Tony Blair also discussed details of Sierra Leone's ambitious aim to become a Middle Income Country by 2035 with government officials as well as the need for the country to diversify away from a reliance on natural resources by growing a strong private sector, specifically in manufacturing.
President Koroma also reiterated his acknowledgement of the work of AGI and spoke of the on-going relationship between the government of Sierra Leone and the organisation:
"It was very clear from what we have agreed that we will continue with the AGI support to the government.
"We [will] focus on addressing the areas prioritised in the Agenda for Prosperity, and we look forward to AGI not only supporting us with the team that is deployed in the country, but once in a while to bring relevant expertise that we require in addressing the issues that will position us on the path of prosperity.
"My government and I have agreed that the services provided by the AGI have been useful and will continue with these services and possibly expand areas of interventions."
As well as Sierra Leone, Tony Blair made short visits to Liberia and Guinea where he met Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Alpha Conde respectively as well as the AGI teams in both countries.
During his visit to Sierra Leone Tony Blair also spoke to the BBC World Service where he talked about Sierra Leone, Africa's prospects in 2013 and the on-going instability in Mali. You can listen to an excerpt of the interview here: