June 22, 2021
By Mohamed Massaquoi,Information Attache at the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York
The Deputy Leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) in Parliament, representing Constituency 030, Bombali District, Northern Sierra Leone, Honourable Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, who is also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Foreign Affairs, is among the entourage of the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David J Francis, on an official assignment to Washington and New York.
Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo is one of the strong APC lawmakers and his appointment as Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is a demonstration of President Bio’s continued commitment to inclusive governance in Sierra Leone.
His position in the House of Parliament is significant not only to the House of Representatives, but to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which was the more reason he was incorporated into the four-man high-powered delegation to Washington and New York.
Professor David J Francis and his delegation are expected to arrive in Washington DC on the 20th June, 2021, and later travel to New York on the 23rd of June, 2021.
This is the first official visit to the United States by Professor Francis since his appointment by President Julius Maada Bio. While in New York, the Minister is expected to embark on series of engagements including meeting with the Chairpersons of the African Group and the ECOWAS Group among others.
It could be recalled that only recently, Professor Francis disclosed to newsmen that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be shifting from Economic Diplomacy to Development Diplomacy, which, he said will look at the national interest as a very key driver towards national development.
He further noted that his vision was very strategic in the implementation of President Maada Bio’s manifesto, adding that he was ready to working in collaboration with all sectors in order to transform the Ministry.
The Minister also noted that Sierra Leone needed a shift in foreign policy from Economic Diplomacy to Development Diplomacy that would position herself for a post COVID-19 era. He emphasized that he was very proud of the foreign policy shift based on the fact that development diplomacy was about putting diplomacy at the forefront to achieve the development aspirations of the people of Sierra Leone.