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Why President Koroma’s visit to the UAE was so significant

Why President Koroma’s visit to the UAE was so significant

I read about President Koroma’s visit to this region through news dispatches by our Saudi Press Attaché, M.B. Jalloh, in our online newspapers. The coverage was comprehensive, informative and timely.   (Photo: Ibrahim Sillah, author)

For President Ernest Bai Koroma and his formidable entourage to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was a very good opportunity for Sierra Leone; after their historic trip to the United States of America.

For them to have such profound talks with the authorities of the UAE on how to improve Sierra Leone’s bilateral relations with that most vitally important country in the Gulf Region a step in the right direction.

When one takes into consideration the rapid economic development in the UAE, I believe the UAE stands second to none in the Gulf Region.

I hope President Koroma and his Government will endeavour to explore the numerous opportunities in the Gulf Region and utilize them to the best advantage of Sierra Leone.  In terms of economic stability and growth, the Gulf countries are at the top in the world today. Their GDP’s are superbly fantastic. There is every reason, therefore, for Sierra Leone to strengthen and enhance its diplomatic and economic relations with the region. I think President Koroma’s “Agenda for Prosperity” should be vigorously and wisely pursued wherever its success is presumed possible. Now is the time for the new Government in Sierra Leone to put in place the most viable agenda for President Koroma’s “Agenda for Prosperity” to make a headway so that its impact will be felt and enjoyed by every Sierra Leone national.

Sierra Leone with its abounding and colourful natural resources; Sierra Leone with its intellectuals and professionals; and, on top of it all, Sierra Leone with its current wise and dynamic leadership, should by all means be made the PEARL of the Sub-Sahara region in the next few years.  This is not an impossible dream or ambition, for Sierra Leone is endowed with all the tools and resources to make it the envy and centre of admiration for all; all it requires is to have the political will (which I should believe is there now) and all the mechanisms with the sole aim to transform our beloved Sierra Leone in conformity with our dreams and aspirations. I think those in key positions in the country should assist the President by exerting every effort possible towards making his “Agenda of Prosperity” a glowing success at all fronts so that, in the final analysis, the President will be gleefully remembered for his legacy of prosperity for all Sierra Leoneans.

Being one of the long dwelling Sierra Leone nationals in the Middle East in general and the Gulf Region in particular, I am fully aware of the many and a variety of gains that our country stands to achieve if only  our Government would utilize the right methods on how to approach the leaders of the Gulf States. In our today’s world, this region is the right venue from where heavy weight investors could be encouraged to embark on investment projects that can yield dividends to Sierra Leone in a number of socio-economic aspects. However, this can only be realized through a clearly-tailored agenda of action plans with a clear vision. Investors should be made aware of the enormous investment opportunities which they stand to enjoy in that virgin land.

President Koroma’s recent visit to the UAE was indeed in the right direction. I do believe that  he and his able entourage must have had a glimpse of what the UAE (just one state in the Gulf region) is capable of offering in terms of investments and in terms of assisting Sierra Leone in reinvigorating and effectively implementing its developmental programmes; they must have as well seen with their naked eyes of how highly developed and well-built that small country is; and they must have hopefully made a mind map of what strategies the Government of Sierra Leone should put in place to make it attain that level of development the UAE is enjoying today. It is no hidden fact that the Gulf States are basking in their high standards of living and development simply because their leaders had the vision and wisdom to make the maximum use of their natural resources in the best interest of their countries and citizens; and that is what has made them the world’s envy and centre of admiration today.

Over the years, a number of sister African countries have made huge gains out of the Middle Eastern countries in terms of investments and winning projects that would boost their economies. Nevertheless, it is so sad to note that Sierra Leone, until now, has not made any palpable gains from this region. And Sierra Leone’s failure in this area has been due to a number of factors; but I think, foremost among them is the fact it has not given enough attention to this vitally important region, which world economic powers are scuttling to have immense business projects with. I see no rationale as to why Sierra Leone should lag behind in establishing good economic ventures and further cementing its diplomatic ties with these countries. With the President Ernest Bai Koroma’s “Agenda of Prosperity” in place, I think the Government of Sierra Leone should explore all the avenues possible to ensure that Sierra Leone maximizes its gains at all fronts in this region by having a dynamic and patriotically focused and culturally sensitive representation in the Gulf region.

By Ibrahim Sillah

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