Freetown: The Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dirk Niebel has commended the laudable efforts of the government of President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma for making steady progress since the assumption of office in 2007. He made this statement during a press briefing held shortly after close door meetings with His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House on Tuesday 7th August, instant.
The German Minister who was accompanied by a twenty-five man delegation to Sierra Leone disclosed that his government will allocate the sum of six million Euros for the expansion and promotion of employment opportunities in the country to enable young people make a living through skills training in rural communities as well as support to the agricultural and infrastructural sectors.
He noted that Sierra Leone is the only country in Africa that has an established transparency database system on natural resources, which sends a clear message to investors worldwide that the resources of the country are meant for the benefit of the people.
Mr. Dirk Niebel also used the opportunity to wish the government and people of Sierra Leone free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections slated for November this year.
Welcoming the German delegation, President Ernest Bai Koroma described the visit as a high point in the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries since Sierra Leone attained independence in 1961.
He informed the Germans that the level of civil liberties enjoyed by Sierra Leoneans today is second to none since independence. “There are neither prisoners of conscience nor political detainees, a reason why our human rights record is very sound,” he said.
President Koroma expressed profound delight to receive the delegation, and also noted that Germany has always maintained excellent relations with Sierra Leone in the areas of good governance as well as the overall developmental strides of the country.
He informed the delegation that Sierra Leone has established a transparent database system for natural resources in the country so as to enable the Ministry to provide accurate account of their activities in the mines and mineral sector.
“We are working hard to make sure that by the end of the year, Sierra Leone becomes an Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) compliance country”, he assured.
The Chief Executive also used the occasion to reaffirm government’s commitment to hold free, fair, open and peaceful elections in November this year. “Government is determined to ensure that the elections are free and fair as the National Electoral Commission operates independently. The elections will be transparent and peaceful because it is going to put the entire democratic process to the test,” President Koroma reiterated.
Among the German delegation were the following; Mr. Rudiger John, Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Dr. Friedrich Karl Kitschelt, the Director of Africa Department, Julia Kaiser, Head of West Africa Division, Dr. Rolf Steltemeier, Director of Communication and Coordination, Mrs. Katharina Manz Desk Officer Press, Mrs. Anne-Kristin Kramer, Interpreter, Mr. Johannes Selle (Member of the Bundestag) and Mr. Karl Joachim Gunther (Member of the Bundestag).