VP Jalloh admonishes Ambassadors, High Commissioners

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August 29, 2018

By Alimatu Fofanah OVP Communications Unit

vp jalloh
Photocall: Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh (front row second from right), Tourism Minister Memunatu Pratt(third from right) and a cross-section of the new diplomats

Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh Monday, August 27th, admonished Ambassadors and High Commissioners designate to various embassies overseas.

Speaking at a Seminar held for Ambassadors and High Commissioners by the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation at the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel Conference Hall in Aberdeen, Freetown, the Hon. Vice President said that one of the key priorities of the ‘New Direction’ was to diversify the country’s economy on good footing, hence the identification of new avenues to generate revenue.

One of these avenues, he said, was tourism, which is one of the world’s largest industries as it contributes immensely to the socio-economic development of a country.

Speaking on the theme of the seminar “The Role of Sierra Leone’s Diplomatic Missions/Embassies in Promoting Tourism” during his keynote address, the Hon. Vice President called on the newly appointed diplomats to embark on a drastic paradigm shift from having political missions and embassies that are essentially there to entertain ministers, politicians and other government functionaries to that of maximising impacts of promoting Sierra Leone’s positive image.

Speaking on the role of government in promoting tourism, the Vice President revealed that the ‘New Direction’ Government was working on improving policy in the area of visa free, visa on arrival, reviewing of taxes on air ticket, landing fees, entertainment complexes among others.

Other areas the government is working on, he maintained, was security and political stability in the country, infrastructure – working on restructuring Government Wharf to become a hub for sea transportation, construction of two jetties and the Lungi Bridge to expand the frontiers of the capital and also link the city to other parts of the country.

The Hon. Vice President further went on to address the diplomats on the expectations of government in the area of tourism, which he stated was to sell the positive image of the country, adding that the diplomats should be abreast with the strategic priorities of the ‘New Direction’ with a solid information, facilitate accessibility for tourist, business people to locate the country easily, map out potential areas that will be of benefit to the country and be efficient.

In his statement, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Alie Kabba, said that the President, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, was fully committed to the realisation of promises made by the ‘New Direction’ Government and that the presence of the Hon. Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, speaks to the importance of the theme of the seminar.

Minister Kabba informed the gathering that as a government they are going to divert their attention from mining to tourism as the mining sector has not provided much dividend to the country’s development. He went on to state that as a government, they have viewed and credited tourism as the road map to development, that would foster the growth of the country’s economy.

He called on the newly appointed Ambassadors and High Commissioners to have in mind that they are representing over seven million people whose aspirations include living a better life. He encouraged them to embark on potential activities that would help decrease the dependency rate of the country and develop a spirit of selling the country positively so she can become a shining light to the world.

Ambassador Designate to Germany, Dr. Mbaimba Bayoh, in his speech described tourism as the bedrock of the country’s development, as the country is blessed with natural landscape and other attractive touristic places and activities.

Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Mrs. Memunatu Pratt, described Sierra Leone as a nation that is endowed with diverse and immense natural, cultural and historical resources.
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These potentials, she said, if harnessed properly can tap into enormous opportunities that other emerging and developing countries with far less attractive attributes have benefitted from.

Minister Pratt went on to highlight some of the attractive tourism potentials that Sierra Leone can boast of: tropical year round sunny climate, the ideal location of the country, which can be accessible within five to six hours flight from Europe, its miles of pristine, unspoilt white, golden and sandy beaches with mountainous backdrop and spectacular view, it diverse Natural Parks and Forest Reserves such as the Outama Kilimi National Park, Gola Rainforest, Loma Mountains, Tiwai island and the Mamuta-Mayosso Wildlife Sanctuary, among others.