Betty Milton,Information Attache,Brussels, Belgium
Sierra Leone has taken over from Senegal as Coordinator of the West African Group of Ambassadors in Belgium with Ambassador Samuel Musa taking the chair as President for six months at a meeting which took place at the OACPS Secretariat in Brussels.
Former Coordinator of the Group, Ambassador Mbaye Muctur Diop said his mandate has come to an end and that he is happy to hand over the mantle to Sierra Leone, according to the mandate of the Group.
The Senegalese Ambassador furthered that he enjoyed his tenure and received tremendous support from his colleague Ambassadors which allowed him to carry out his work smoothly.
The outgone President congratulated his counterpart and successor, Ambassador Samuel Musa of Sierra Leone for taking up the mantle and called on the others to give the same support to the incoming leadership to deepen participation and speak with one voice.
Taking over the seat as President, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador Samuel Tamba Musa thanked the outgone Coordinator for the significant achievements during his tenure. He stated that “this is a challenging period for West Africa, especially for ensuring peace, security, stability, climate change resilience, overcoming rising food prices, combating illegal migration, signing of the SAMOA partnership agreement and review of EU Programming and funding instruments”.
The Coordinator emphasized that there is need to focus on key strategic issues that posed a challenge to the Group and the region and it is necessary to present our position to the OACPS and in other fora so that these issues can be addressed adequately.
Ambassador Musa stressed the importance of the flow of information amongst members so as to mobilize the preparedness of the region to actively participate in upcoming events “we have to be agile in advocating for the transformational changes that will help us overcome the key challenges we face”.
The Sierra Leone Ambassador to Belgium also used the opportunity to inform the Ambassadors for West Africa about two important milestones in Sierra Leone which included the election of the country as a Non-Permanent member of the UNSC and the re-election of the President for a second term after successful, free, fair and transparent elections.The victory of the Non-Permanent seat of the UN, the Ambassador said, is not only for Sierra Leone but for the region as a whole as the continent will play a role in shaping international agendas.About the re-election of President Bio, Ambassador informed his counterparts that the President is committed to gender empowerment and inclusion of youth as seen in the number of women who were elected into Parliament due to a Gender Act as well as appointing women and young people in cabinet and other parastatals, of which over 30% are women.Ambassador Samuel Tamba Musa presented the road map for the implementation of his priorities for his six-month term, which included ensuring solidarity and cohesion, building links with the AU and UN group of West Africa Ambassadors, participating in OACPS events as well activating the participation of an Expert Group.Ambassadors of different West African countries congratulated the new Coordinator hoping for a more effective coordination.