As the compelling aroma of the deliciously prepared meal spreads across, so does the message about Sierra Leone National Day.
Even before the official time of the event, people were already waiting. They all came with one resolve, to have a taste of the Sierra Leonean food.
Europeans, Asians, Americans and other African nationals queue up in their numbers to be served the meal from Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Stand at ITB had never attracted so much crowd.
From the groundnut soup to the locally-produced rice, ginger drink to the tamarind everything was eaten by the visitors to the pleasure of the National Tourist Board.
“The food is delicious,” remarked one partaker. “I love this and will like to have more.” commented another.
The ingredients in the food made it even more difficult for the visitors to spare the extras. It was a joyful moment for the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Memunatu Pratt. She has always maintained that food tourism could be used to get more tourists to visit Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone has some of the best delicacies and spicy foodstuff that could forge a love relationship between a tourist and the nation. The cuisine from Sierra Leone could attract more tourists than we think.
The ITB Tourism Trade Show attracts over 10,000 visitors annually. Sierra Leone’s participation is part of efforts to attract more tourists to the country.
The National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone continues to woo investors and tourism experts from across the world to start doing business with Sierra Leone.
On Thursday March 7, 2019 in Berlin, Germany, officials of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs together with the Sierra Leone Embassy in Berlin held key meetings with top tourism marketing executives, documentary filmakers and hospitality training experts.
The discussions led to revelations that Sierra Leone like many other West African countries were not attracting too many tourists because of weak marketing.
Documentary Film-maker, Sascha Gottschalk of Filmemacher Deutschland had this to say.
“You need to show how beautiful your country is. Most Western tourists only think about East Africa when it comes to tourism in Africa. West African countries need to market the beautiful things they have to attract those tourists.”
The acute lack of expertise among staff in the hospitality industry in Sierra Leone is militating against the growth and development of the sector.
Minister of Tourism, Memunatu Pratt is ready to bring sanity in that direction.
During discussions with Bok Lardner of Terenga College, Nigeria, the need to train and develop professionals in the hospitality industry was laid bare.
Cobra Verde, Group Tour Expert also assured the Minister of Tourism that they were prepared to assess the touristic potentials of Sierra Leone with a view to marketing her to tourists.
The Acting General Manager of the National Tourist Board, Madam Fatmata Abe-Osagie said her institution would work round the clock to improve tourism in Sierra Leone.
Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh and the Director of Culture, Foday Jalloh made brilliant interventions that would translate to national progress in the area of tourism and cultural affairs.
The ITB Trade Market continues on Friday March 8, 2019.
Mohamed Faray Kargbo Education and Outreach Unit Monuments and Relics Commission
At its press conference at ITB Berlin 2019 the West African country was in a confident and buoyant mood. Following political unrest and a serious Ebola epidemic in the period up to 2016, tourism has now become an increasingly important economic factor. Tourism Minister Dr. Memunatu Pratt invited travellers as well as investors to visit his country and participate in the emerging tourism sector. The country intends to focus on the wildlife and eco-tourism market. “In Sierra Leone, as well as elephants and the pygmy hippopotamus, visitors can find innumerable bird and ape species“, said Memunatu Pratt. In addition to wildlife and eco-tourists, beach holidaymakers and water sports enthusiasts will get their money’s worth too“, added Memunatu Pratt. “There is a reason why Sierra Leone is known as ’Hawaii in Africa’.
Ambassador M`Baimba Lamin Baryoh added that the West African country can be considered politically stable now, and safe. “Sierra Leone is de facto the third-safest country in Africa, and the capital Freetown is the safest in West Africa“, he said. “And safer than Berlin”, he added with a smile. The fight against corruption was so successful that investors were finding Sierra Leone an attractive proposition too.
M`Baimba Lamin Baryoh also stressed that Sierra Leone’s new government under President Julius Maada Bio – who has been in office for ten months – wanted to make sure that flights to the West African country would become cheaper in future.
Freetown, Sierra Leone, March 4, 2019 – Sierra Leone honored Dr. Jane Goodall (DBE, anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace), the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, during her three-day visit to the country this past week, with three major announcements – first, bestowing the country’s highest honors on Dr Jane Goodall; second, the announcement of changes in the visa policy to allow for visas on arrival; and third, the declaration of the Western Chimpanzee as the National Animal of Sierra Leone. These announcements coincide with the 27th anniversary of the founding of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary of which Jane Goodall played an instrumental role.
Announcement #1 – The Order of the Rokel
The Order of the Rokel, Sierra Leone’s highest and most prestigious decoration, is awarded to those in Sierra Leone who have made valuable contributions to the country. The award was presented to Dr. Jane Goodall on February 27th in recognition of her diligent and committed work to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the conservation of the biodiversity in the country. Tacugama is Sierra Leone’s first and only sanctuary and it is located just 30 minutes from the capital, Freetown. The sanctuary plays a critical role in protecting the country’s rich biodiversity, two of Freetown’s main water catchments and the critically endangered western chimpanzees.
“What an honor, I am truly, truly humbled. I don’t really feel I deserve this, but I want to assure you that I will do my level best to do everything I can do help conservation in Sierra Leone,” said Dr. Jane Goodall upon receiving the honor.“ I am committed to doing what I can in Sierra Leone. You have wonderful forests that people from around the world would be excited to visit. I thank you for this. It is very special to me. It’s very moving. Thank you.”
“The honor is yours and you deserve this particular Order. Thank you very much for your hard work and dedication around the world,” said H.E. Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone. “I am a conservationist. I promise that I will do my best to support wildlife protection. Thank you so much for accepting our honor.”
Announcement #2 – Visa on Arrival
Dr. Jane Goodall’s visit comes at the perfect time as Sierra Leone prepares to reintroduce itself on the world tourism stage. Wildlife tourism, conservation, and sustainability are taking top billing on the global tourism stage and Dr. Jane Goodall’s stature as a world-leading-conservationist provides an important global platform for Sierra Leone’s growth as a new tourism destination.
As a first step towards its re-emergence as a tourism destination, Sierra Leone is launching a new visa on arrival and eVisa system making it much easier to visit the destination.
Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, Vice President of Sierra Leone announced the new visa system at a State Dinner at the President’s residence in honor of Jane Goodall this past Wednesday night.
“We are working towards putting infrastructure in place to declare Sierra Leone a visa-free country which means so many people around the world can just jump on a plane and come to Sierra Leone and get a visa on arrival. This country does not have a lot of foreign Missions across the world so the best way you can encourage tourists, business people and investors to come is to make things easy for them. We are also looking at instituting an eVisa system which means you could sit down in your home and apply for your visa electronically to come to Sierra Leone. We are investing in infrastructure.”
“[Tourism] means a lot for the future of Sierra Leone,” continued Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh. “We see it as an entry point for rebranding Sierra Leone. We want to send a strong signal to the world that Sierra Leone is open for business and also for tourism. We see the tourism sector as one of the vehicles to drive diversification of the economy. We see that it is able to stimulate growth and also build an economic base that offers jobs for boys and girls across the country.”
The World Bank who supported the event as part of their commitment to inclusive and sustainable development, drew attention to the clear linkages between conservation and economic development. Gayle Martin, Country Manager of the World Bank gave several examples of countries that have transformed their tourism sectors with good conservation practices and encouraged Sierra Leone to follow suite.
Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Memunatu Pratt, added, “I want to declare today the birthday of tourism industry in Sierra Leone.”
Announcement #3 – Chimpanzee Designated as Sierra Leone’s National Animal
Sierra Leone is home to one of the largest western chimpanzee populations in the world. They are the flagship species for tropical forests and woodland areas and play a key role in maintaining the health and diversity of their ecosystems. Their decline, and potential extinction, may precipitate the decline of other culturally, economically and /or ecologically important species and the ecosystem in which they live. Dr. Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees and Tacugama has had a huge and positive impact on saving the chimpanzee and the chain reaction that brings.
For that reason, Sierra Leone, in a special ceremony held at Freetown’s Bintumani Conference Centre this past Thursday evening, has named the chimpanzee the National Animal of Sierra Leone. Minister of Agriculture Dr. Joseph J Ndanema made the announcement stating, “Chimpanzees are part of Sierra’s Leone’s cultural heritage…as such, we have a moral duty to conserve their legacy so that we can share it with future generations. On this note, with concurrence from other ministries, departments and agencies and with the endorsement from His Excellency the President, I as Minister of Agriculture, hereby declare the western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) as the National Animal of Sierra Leone.”
It is expected, with this new designation, the positive role chimpanzees and their habitats play in providing direct and indirect benefits to local communities will greatly increase. It is also hoped that Jane’s visit will showcase the country’s sustainable tourism offerings and increase awareness of the need for conservation of these critically endangered species.
Also announced was that HE Fatima Jabbe-Bio, First Lady of Sierra Leone, will become a Patron of Tacugama further emphasizing the administration’s commitment to conservation and the special place Tacugama holds in the tourism fabric of the country.
At the British Council this past Friday, Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer addressed 300 children who marched from the Youyi Building to the Cotton Tree and then onwards to the British Council waving signs in support of Jane Goodall and conservation efforts across the country. Dr. Jane Goodall inspired the children with stories of her childhood, and officially launched ‘Roots and Shoots Sierra Leone’ – a program that seeks to inspire an interest in conservation from an early age. Roots & Shoots Sierra Leone will be sponsored by UNICEF.
With its palm-fringed beaches, breathtaking mountains, tropical rain forests and vibrant culture, Salone is one of West Africa’s most alluring destinations. The true African Sierra.
About Jane Goodall Institute
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring action to conserve the natural world. JGI improves the lives of people, animals and the environment. Founded in 1977 by Dr. Jane Goodall, JGI makes a difference through community-centered conservation and the innovative use of science and technology. JGI works closely with local communities around the world, inspiring hope through the collective power of individual action. Through Roots & Shoots, JGI’s youth-led community action and learning program, young people in nearly 80 countries are acquiring the knowledge and skills to become compassionate conservation leaders in their own backyards.
Sierra Leone will participate in the world’s leading travel trade show in Berlin, Germany.
The International Tourismus Borse (ITB) which takes place from the 6th-10th March 2019 attracts professionals in the travel industry from across the world.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Madam Memunatu Pratt has expressed determination to change the negative perception that the international community has formed about Sierra Leone.
Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs is expected to open ITB Berlin 2019.
A Special Day, Sierra Leone Day would be used to celebrate Sierra Leone in Germany. It promises to be an unforgettable day.
Officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the National Tourist Board, Monuments and Relics Commission and the private sector are participating in the events.
Full highlights of the Show will be brought to you as events unfold.
The National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone is tasked with the responsibility of marketing Sierra Leone to improve and promote tourism.
Mohamed Faray Kargbo Education and Outreach Unit Monuments and Relics Commission
SIERRA LEONE HONORS DR. JANE GOODALL (DBE) DURING THREE-DAY ANNIVERSARY TOUR SETTNG STAGE FOR TOURISM DEBUT
Major Announcement Expected Impacting Sierra Leone’s Conservation and Tourism Efforts
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Freetown, Sierra Leone, February 21, 2019 – Sierra Leone will welcome Dr. Jane Goodall (DBE, anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace), the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, during her three-day visit to the country, February 27 to March 1st where, 27 years ago, she was instrumental in the founding of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The three-day visit highlights the emerging conservation movement in Sierra Leone as well as the country’s re-emergence on the world stage as a sustainable tourism destination.
Tacugama, Sierra Leone’s first and only sanctuary, plays a critical role in protecting the country’s rich biodiversity, two of Freetown’s main water catchments and the critically endangered chimpanzees. Since its establishment, the sanctuary has become internationally recognized, benefiting Sierra Leone’s people through jobs, wildlife protection, environmental education, ecotourism, research and health initiatives. Dr Goodall continues to provide inspiration to Tacugama by guiding and inspiring the Sanctuary’s future.
“We look forward to welcoming back Dr. Jane Goodall,” said Her Excellency Fatima Bio, the First Lady of Sierra Leone. “Her visit allows us to share Sierra Leone’s story with the world and to revitalize the international image of our country, which is critical for the development of sustainable tourism, conservation, and economic development. The beauty of our natural diversity, wildlife and culture is also a story that we want to share.”
Dr. Goodall’s visit comes at a time when wildlife tourism, conservation, and sustainability are taking top billing on the global tourism stage. Her stature as a world-leading-conservationist, provides an important global platform for Sierra Leone’s growth as a new tourism destination. The visit will showcase the country’s sustainable tourism offerings and increase awareness of the need for conservation of these critically endangered species. It will also highlight the clear link between conservation and sustainable tourism. Dr. Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, commented regarding her upcoming visit, “I’m looking forward to my visit to Sierra Leone and proud of the impact the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary has had on saving the country’s remaining chimpanzees while providing needed jobs for local people. I am particularly excited to meet the children of Sierra Leone and share with them my Roots and Shoots program. They are our future hope.”
SIERRA LEONE HONORS DR. JANE GOODALL (DBD)…/2
The three-day program in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, is as follows:
• Wednesday, February 27th – Morning – Dr. Jane Goodall tours the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, press interview.
• Wednesday, February 27th – Evening – State Dinner hosted by Her Excellency Fatima Bio, the First Lady of Sierra Leone.
• Thursday, February 28th – 6:00 pm. – Dr. Jane Goodall Speaking Engagement hosted by Ministry of Tourism and attended by Her Excellency Fatima Bio, the First Lady of Sierra Leone – Bintumani Conference Hall.
• Friday, March 1st – Children’s March – 300 children will march from the Youyi Building to the Cotton Tree and then onwards to the British Council where Dr. Jane Goodall will address the children and talk about her Roots and Shoots program. Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer will speak at this event.
Setting stage for tourism Jane’s visit to Sierra Leone (a country known in Creole as Salone) comes at the perfect time as the destination prepares to reintroduce itself on the world tourism stage. Most people continue to associate Sierra Leone with its troubled past, so the goal now is to propel the destination into the future, showcasing the results of the its transformation into the next “must visit” location for both leisure and business travelers. “We are excited to show our “only-in-Sierra Leone” offerings, many of which will surprise world travelers,” said Mrs. Memunatu Pratt, Minister of Tourism, Sierra Leone. “Sierra Leone offers world class beaches, stunning endemic wildlife, rich culture and historical sites, adventure travel, exquisite local cuisine, and a warm and welcoming people, that make our country one of Africa’s most promising new tourism destinations.” Sierra Leone has one of the highest densities of chimpanzees in the wild anywhere in the world. Adventure travelers can also find little-seen wildlife such as the endangered Diana monkey in the forests of Tiwai Island on the Moa river, three types of colobus monkeys, rare birds and pygmy hippos. Sierra Leone recently opened a new Tourist Information Office in the capital city of Freetown, near the historic Cotton Tree, the oldest cotton tree in Freetown or possibly in the world and synonymous with freedom of the earlier settlers. That and the launch of a new Tourism In-Flight Traveltainment Magazine and investment in infrastructure are seen as important steps forward for the sector.
SIERRA LEONE HONORS DR. JANE GOODALL (DBD)…/3 Sharing tourism assets To begin to showcase all this incredible country has to offer to the world, Michaela Guzy, Executive Producer, Director, Writer, Influencer and On-Air Talent for OTPYM (Oh The People You Meet), and David DiGregorio, founder of CornerSun Destination Marketing, will be in Sierra Leone to cover the series of Jane Goodall events. Michaela will capture on film, the wildlife, beaches, people and natural offerings of this relatively undiscovered country. The film will be shown at a special screening in New York City in early spring, to set the stage for Sierra Leone’s tourism renewal in 2020. “The Jane Goodall visit, and announcement provides us with an amazing first-hand opportunity to show the combination of a rich conservation history and unknown adventure experiences visitors can eventually enjoy,” said Guzy. “We are sierraously excited to share the secrets of Sierra Leone with the world, and who better to introduce Sierra Leone as a sustainable tourism destination than Jane Goodall?” For more information, contact: The National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
About Sierra Leone With its palm-fringed beaches, breathtaking mountains, tropical rain forests and vibrant culture, Salone is one of West Africa’s most alluring destinations. About Jane Goodall Institute The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring action to conserve the natural world. JGI improves the lives of people, animals and the environment. Founded in 1977 by Dr. Goodall, JGI makes a difference through community-centered conservation and the innovative use of science and technology. JGI works closely with local communities around the world, inspiring hope through the collective power of individual action. Through Roots & Shoots, JGI’s youth-led community action and learning program, young people in nearly 80 countries are acquiring the knowledge and skills to become compassionate conservation leaders in their own backyards.
About the Chimpanzees Chimpanzees are flagship species for tropical forests and woodland areas and play a key role in maintaining the health and diversity of their ecosystems, and their decline and potential extinction may precipitate the decline of other culturally, economically and or ecologically important species. Media Contact: Elisa Fershtadt, Public Relations CornerSun Destination Marketing LLC Email: firstname.lastname@example.org/Telephone: +1 917-88-6554 www.cornersun.com
Freetown 5th February, 2019: The Hon. Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on Tuesday 5th February, 2019 launched the country’s first Tourism In-Flight Traveltainment Magazine and also commissioned the first City Tourist Information Office at the National Museum, Pademba Road, Freetown.
Delivering the Keynote address, the Hon. Vice President
commended the Minister of Tourism, Mrs Memunatu Pratt and her staff for such a
laudable effort in giving the country’s Tourism sectors a facelift.
Tourism he said is one of the sectors they as a government
have been following because it is among one of the critical areas that the ‘New
direction’ government wants to use to diversify the country’s economy, move
Sierra Leone from a mineral dependent economy to a new area that they can tap
in for more additional resources for the development of the nation.
He said the Tourism industry is very closed to the new
administration and that it is a sector that the President wanted to see developed
in order to boost the country’s economy.
VP Jalloh stated that, he has no doubt that the Tourism
In-Flight Traveltainment Magazine and the Tourist Information Office are a critical
step in boosting the sector
He added that, it’s an indication that the tourism sector is
one of the sectors that the government of President Dr. Julius Maada Bio wanted
to move forward in order to make Sierra Leone more attractive to stimulate
economic growth, create job opportunities and make Sierra Leoneans themselves
enjoy the beauty of their country.
Dr Jalloh went on to state that, it is part of the ‘New
Direction’ drive to identify where they can spend additional resources to turn
around the country’s tourism sector as they believed it is one of the fastest
growing sectors in the world.
“When you look at the productive nature of the tourism
Sector and the critical innovations that are taking place in that sector and
what it could bring in terms of economic dividend, I believe Sierra Leone has
to tap into that sector.” He reiterated.
He maintained that, Sierra Leone has a lot to offer in the
area of attracting tourist and business people. The offers he said ranged from
wild life, parks, beaches to historical sites.
He furthered that, the tourism sector over the years has
been over shadowed by critical challenges that have no doubt want to slow down
the growth of the country that is capable of being on the map as a tourist
VP said as a government, they were able to take critical
steps to overcome some of those challenges.
He outlined some the critical steps they have taken in order
to boost the country’s Tourism sector. This he said among them, they were able
to implement a Regulatory Framework to ensure that the prices of Air tickets to
fly to Sierra Leone will become cheaper, the reduction of taxes on air travel
to ensure that flying to Sierra Leone will become reasonable and the
implementation of a visa on arrival.
He said that, they took up such ventures to attract more
tourists and business people to the country. In the area of infrastructure, he
said the government of President Bio is investing resources to develop
infrastructure and boost tourist sites in the country.
In her statement, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural
Affairs, Mrs Memunatu Pratt told the gathering that, as a ministry, they have
accomplished one of their milestones of rebranding, re-imaging Sierra Leone and
also, change the negative perception of the country and make tourism a
household name for people to know that tourism is alive and is being awakened
She said the big role of their recent effort has to do with
how they will inform, attract tourists and investors and how to get Sierra
Leoneans to understand domestics tourism.
To do this, she said, they realized that information is
vital hence the opening of the tourist Information office for people to get
more information on the sector and the country in particular.
She went on to talk on the sector’s partnerships with a lot
of Airline Agencies, Banks and international Agencies. She also talked on the
symbiotic relationship between Tourism and Aviation.
The Chairman of Civil Aviation, Mr Patrick Kaikai in his
statement said the launching of the magazine and commissioning of the Tourist
Information Office have a positive impact on the Aviation industry. Tourism and
Aviation, he said, complement each other and that they depend on each other
hence the need for collaboration and cooperation with each other.
The representative from the Private Sector, Managing
Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, Dr Ekundaya Walton Gilpin in his remarks
thanked the government of His Excellency for taking up such journey to empower,
renovate, give stories about tourism in Sierra Leone to the people around the
He said the initiative to launch the magazine and commission
the Tourist Information Office is an opportunity to start making people to be
attracted to Sierra Leone as the country has the human resource capacity to
nurture and give hope to Sierra Leoneans to make them understand that they have
a positive story to tell about the country out there.
The Secretary Board of Airlines, Mr Edgar Lacle in his
speech thanked the Minister and her team for such a positive move in the right
He called on Sierra
Leoneans to be proud of their country as the In-flight Magazine will be added
to the world list of In-Flight Magazines.
The magazine he said will help tourist and investors to
discover, identify the beauty, uniqueness, rich tradition, culture, development
strides, economy and politics of the country and her people.
Giving the purpose of the gathering, the Acting General
Manager of the National Tourist Board, Mrs. Fatmata Abe-Osagie said the
rationale behind the launching of the magazine and opening of the Tourist
Information Office was to rebrand Sierra Leone.
The Chairman of the ceremony, the Deputy Minister of
Information, Hon. Solomon Jamiru in his remarks, commended the Minister and her
team for such initiative.
He said today marks
another milestone in the history of the country, as the country has got a
magazine for tourists that will be placed in airlines, given to the country’s
embassies and other missions abroad, financial players and public sector
He said the magazine encapsulated very interesting readings, stories and information about the tourism sector in the country.
China endorsed Sierra Leone Visa Free for Service and Diplomatic Passports holders
What Does Visa-Free Travel Mean?
Clarity on visa free to Sierra Leone, this leverage is only enjoyed by Diplomats and active government’s employees with service passport status can have access to this pronouncement by the Chinese government.
Well one may want t
o ask what this means? Visas are documents that are issued by governments to foreigners who want to come to their destination. There are various kinds of visas, but the most common ones are tourist, business, and in-transit visas.
Visa-free travel is the ability to visit a country without having to complete lengthy visa procedures. Nationals of a country can have visa-free travel to another country if the governments of those two countries signed an agreement to that effect, or if the receiving country unilaterally opened its borders
Bonthe Municipal Island, Bonthe, Monday 24 December 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has closed the 2018 Agro-Tourism Festival organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs on Bonthe Municipal Island, southern Sierra Leone.
The event provided the platform for agricultural and tourism groups from within the district to showcase their various products.
In his keynote address, President Bio said he was pleased with the initiative of the two ministries in organising such a wonderful event geared towards showcasing both the agricultural and touristic potentials of the district.
He said his government considered agricultural and tourism as very important components in the governance structure and that they were integral in achieving economic diversification. He noted that with tourism and agriculture Bonthe district had the potential to be the breadbasket of the country.
He thanked the people of Bonthe for overwhelmingly voting him during the March-April elections. He said over the years Bonthe had been a deprived district in the country because of divisive politics, adding that his administration was ready to correct that injustice by embarking on development projects in the district.
“This once thriving district became a deprived and neglected city. As President, I will ensure that development is shared to every part of this country and Bonthe will no longer be an exception. We will revive this district and restore its lost glory.
“Very soon, we will begin the reconstruction of the sea face that will attract a lot of tourists to the district and will also construct 5 kilometres of roads inside the municipality as a start. Also, plans are underway to resume the Tormabom Agricultural Center, which alone can feed the entire nation with reserve to export,” he said.
In his unending quest for human capital development, President Bio also disclosed that within the shortest period his government would open a School of Excellence in Information Technology that would offer professional courses not only for Sierra Leoneans but also for the entire subregion.
Mayor of the Bonthe Municipal Island, Joe Sandi, said they were happy to receive their son for the first time as President of the country. He said they were so far pleased with the development strives that were already taking place in the district, noting that Bonthe had been a deprived settlement that needed urgent attention to catch up with other parts of the country.
He called on the President to provide more roads as a way of boosting the tourism sector in the district. He also cited challenges in the telecommunications sector, in particular, the urgent attention needed to connect the district with the rest of the world.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Jonathan Joseph Ndanema, said the festival was a way of finding suitable ways of reducing unemployment in the district and the country as a whole. He said Bonthe offered a lot of opportunities to the country which were not explored by past governments.
He stated that his ministry was working on transforming agriculture into a business adventure capable of producing enough food for consumption and for export. He said his ministry would continue the inter-ministerial collaboration and ensure the event was held annually.
Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr Memunatu Pratt, said Bonthe had made history for being the first district to host the event, saying that they would learn from the experience in Bonthe and implement similar event in other districts with Agro-tourism potentials.
She added: “Tourism is one of the core areas of government and I am happy for the political will received from the President. This Island has great potentials and if we can unlock them, it will create jobs for the locals and as well improve the national revenue.”