German Foreign Office hosts 7th GEFA Ambassadors Roundtable on agriculture digitalization.

German Federal Foreign Office Thursday 12th December hosted the 7th Ambassadors’ Roundtable on the topic “IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY OF AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD PRODUCTION THROUGH DIGITALISATION” organised by the German Export Association for Food and Agriproduct (GEFA) and attended by Deputy Ambassador of Sierra Leone to Germany, Jonathan Leigh.

Tanja Werheit, Deputy Head of Division International Economic Affairs, Focal Point for German Business in the Federal Foreign Office says this was the last round table for the year and with a different topic which is digitalization and Smart farming. Describing it as complex and challenging for years to come as it is in line with climate change. The world, she says, is faced with the challenge of feeding the growing population.

Patrick Honcoop, Head of Product Partnerships of 365FarmNet Group spoke on the way to Smart Farming in his keynote address. He called it a major trend. No future. It is happening today.

Prof. Dr. Karin Schnitker addressed her audience on the Hype or real application potential for the international agri-food supply chain in the context of block chain which is a 24/7 data availability farm management and automated documentation of field operation with three core fields of application.

The next such meeting is on 21 st January 2020.

IAEA Nuclear Safety Workshop Hosted In Sierra Leone.

A national workshop to raise awareness on nuclear safety for high level officers and decision makers in Sierra Leone was recently hosted in Freetown through the initiative of the Sierra Leone Ambassador to Germany, Dr. M’Baimba Lamin Baryoh and organised by the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Authority with support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna Austria. Ambassador Baryoh is  the country’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA as ambassador also accredited to Austria.


The workshop was one amongst series hosted to review Sierra Leone’s intergrated nuclear security support plan to identify achievement on further needs the country has in nuclear security. And to assist the relevant stakeholders to prioritise such needs in a three year plan.


Formally launching the one week technical workshop, Ambassador Baryoh stated that the Sierra Leone government recognises the IAEA support in ensuring member states benefit from peaceful nuclear technology towards the wellbeing and prosperity of the world. And the launch of the workshop is President Bio’s commitment to pursue the bold vision of eradicating poverty and promoting good health and wellbeing. Adding that the 2030 agenda clearly states that least developing countries like Sierra Leone must explore technology for development if the SDGs are to be achieved.


However, according to Ambassador Baryoh, this technology must be carefully handled within the lamination of safety and security and it is important for Sierra Leone to strengthen its nuclear regime to enhance transparency, build confidence and facilitate peaceful nuclear cooperation.


He stated further that the IAEA is now supporting Government in its technology programmes in nuclear and radiation safety which will see the establishment of the first ever cancer treatment centre with radio therapy and nuclear diagnostic  facility and the IAEA is to deploy nuclear physicist and other specialists.


He also noted that the workshop will serve as a lynchpin to support Sierra Leone’s effort in establishing an effect nuclear security regime that is in compliance with the IAEA standards.


Credit SLBC TV News

Sierra Leone Heath Minister Attends Health Forum In Germany.

Sierra Leone is close to meeting the mandatory 15% budgetary allocation to its health sector in line with the Abuja Declaration, Health and Sanitation Minister Pro. Dr. Alpha Wurie told German government officials in a series of bilateral meetings, and in separate meeting with SIEMENS Healthliners   during his recent invitation to Berlin to attend the World Health Forum and the 6th German-African Healthcare Forum respectively, the latter in which he participated in two panel discussions.

According to the Minister, 10.6% allocation was made to the health sector this year which is above 7.5% last year and 6.7% in 2017. He described it as moving in the right trajectory more so when President Bio has given instructions for a new intake of 4,000 staff meaning more personnel to work in the health sector something that was impossible some five years ago.

The Minister, accompanied by the Ambassador Dr. M’Baimba Baryoh and the Deputy Mr. Jonathan Leigh, was briefing Dr. Stefan Oswald Director-General Marshal Plan with Africa, displacement and migration in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation on the status of the health sector in Sierra Leone and seeking Germany support in getting the sector upgraded specifically when there was glaring demonstration of weakness in the system during the Ebola scourge. He however thanked the German government for its support to Sierra Leone during that period. He spoke about equipping Community Health Centres in Chiefdoms to make them the epicentre they should have been despite getting support from different countries.

Dr. Wurie also briefed him about the introduction of a nationwide ambulance service, procurement of an ambulance boat for Bonthe, the plans for the renting of holding houses for easy access to treatment facility and the expansion of the blood bank service etc.

Other topical issues discussed were the First Lady of Sierra Leone project against child pregnancy and early marriage, and her “HANDS OFF OUR GIRLS CAMPAIGN” which she is taking nationwide. Both Rene Franke, Senior Policy Officer in the Ministry and Ambassador Baryoh took part in the discussion.

Dr. Wurie also met with officials in the Federal Foreign Ministry and thanked the German government for providing training to the Sierra Leone Army whilst also requesting from the federal foreign Ministry training for Sierra Leonean Protocol Officers.

In the meeting with SIEMENS, led by its Senior Vice-President for Africa Luc Van Overstraeten, Dr. Wurie reported on the status of the Primary Health Care facilities, Community Health Post and Maternal Health Post respectively across the entire country with every of the 149 chiefdoms having at least one to deliver maternal and productive health service and do basic diagnostic work. Discussions also included the establishment and equipping of the Intensive care units in 15 secondary and tertiary hospitals and labs vital for sustaining life.

The meetings were organised and facilitated by the Ambassador to Germany, Dr. M’Baimba Baryoh

German Ambassador to Sierra Leone urges political parties to work towards political stability and peace.

Relationship between the Government of Germany and Sierra Leone is being further strengthened by a meeting in Berlin of the German Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Horst Gruner and Ambassador of Sierra Leone to Germany, Dr. MBaimba Lamin Baryoh.

Relevant issues discussed included more German investment in Sierra Leone and the latter’s proposed membership of the G20 Compact with Africa of which Germany is a very important key player. At the moment, there are few German owned businesses in Sierra Leone namely; DHL courier service, LEOCEM manufacturers of cement and Brussels Airlines which is part of the Lufthansa group, a reputable international air carrier.

Ambassador Gruner’s assessment of the situation in Sierra Leone sounds positive but a bit worrisome on the political front. This is where he is urging the political actors in Sierra Leone to work towards political stability and peace as it has the propensity to scare away potential investors.

For his part, Ambassador Baryoh lauded the German government’s readiness to always support Sierra Leone and gave the assurance that all conditions are been met for investment as the country is rich in mineral wealth, marine resources  and with available facilities to attract tourism. He too isn’t happy that only 1% of German investment is in Africa.

In an unrelated development and an event at which ambassadors accredited to Germany were present, Ambassador Baryoh in his presentation spoke about Sierra Leone observing democratic principles, the ongoing  infrastructural development, maintenance of peace, security and the aggressive fight against corruption; referencing the country’s high scores in the recently released corruption index of the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC).


Ambassador MBaimba Baryoh, on Tuesday August 20th paid a courtesy call to Mr. Christoph Kannengießer, Chief Executive Officer of the Africa Association of German Business (Africa Verein) and their discussion centred around an upcoming event later this year at which Sierra Leone will possibly occupy centre stage.

It is going to be the first German-African ICT Forum to be hosted on 19th September whose agenda Mr. Kannengießer says will be an interesting event connecting German companies with African countries and coinciding with the hosting also of the annual Green Week at which a roundtable discussion about Sierra Leone on health and Agri-business will be hosted.

Ambassador Baryoh emphasised that Energy, Health, Agriculture and Education, (particularly vocational training) are the areas he would love to see attract attention of investors in relation to Sierra Leone.  He expressed how happy he was to have found his way to Africa Verein.

According to Mr. Kannengießer, there is going to be a plenary session during the event at which a Minister from Sierra Leone should be available to present a case for Sierra Leone. He lauded the Ambassador who in the absence of Ministers at past events has made interventions in presenting a case for Sierra Leone. Besides the plenary, specific workshops are also going to be held, Kannengießer said,

The Ambassador assured him that every effort will be made to get the Minister of Tertiary Education of Sierra Leone, Prof. Gbakima attend the event as it would be a huge boost for the country particularly so, because the focus will be on vocational training. He also briefed him how the Sierra Leone Import and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) can be a useful component in an event like this. Partnership with the Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce with companies in Germany was also suggested by Mr. Kannengießer to serve as an interface between the private sector and the government.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha Wurie has also been invited by Africa Verien and the German Health Alliance to attend the 6th German-African Healthcare forum on 30th October 2019 organized as side conference of the World Health Summit holding from 27th to 29th October in Berlin.

The forum will discuss major healthcare topics and focus on Healthcare Business: Partnerships with Multi-sectoral Approaches, taking into account the digitalization process in the health sector.


Sierra Leone is pushing desperately to become a member of the G20 Compact with Africa grouping, an initiative launched in March 2017 under the G20 German Presidency by countries of the G20 (the world leading industrialised nations), which partners with the World Bank, IMF and the ADB and with a current membership of 12 African Countries to boost private sector investment in Africa and is co-chaired by Germany and South Africa.

Ambassador to Germany Dr. M’Baimba Lamin Baryoh is working assiduously to ensure Sierra Leone become a member at the next annual meeting of the World Bank and IMF schedule for October this year and in pursuit of this he met Ambassador Robert Dogler, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel in the German Federal Foreign Ministry last Thursday for discussion.

Accompanied by Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Leigh and Protocol Officer Beatrix Brewer, Ambassador Baryoh explained the present status of Sierra Leone’s intention to joining the group and how much efforts are being made. He was informed by Ambassador Dogler that an African country will have to volunteer itself for membership and approval giving at the margins of the World Bank and IMF meeting. But the offices of both financial institutions in the African country will have to do the recommendation. He then advised that Sierra Leone get in touch with both offices in Freetown.

According to him further, the G20 framework is an initiative committed to reform based on good governance targeting the economic sector, human rights etc. He further described it as a sectoral thing marked with reform partnership and a martial plan not specific at the overall look of the economy as there are other instruments from which every country can benefit.

The so-called marshal plan with Africa is supposed to treat African states differently than before; this time as equal partners in the promotion of development focussing on expansion of economic cooperation based on the German Marshall Plan Concept.

Ambassador Baryoh earlier briefed him on the successes of the free education programme, laying emphasis on vocational training and thus seeking German support. Mr Dogler highlighted the bilateral cooperation between Germany and Sierra Leone and explained that there is an envelope of money used for feasibility study into certain sectors away from the traditional support to private sector development like energy, education and finance and referred Ambassador Baryoh to get in touch with a Mr. Rauh who is his counterpart for West Africa.

Migration as it affects and involves Sierra Leoneans and the urgency of getting an immigration officer come to Germany for verification and identification of asylum seekers was also discussed. In the words of Mr. Dogler “we cannot allow people without passport to come and stay here. It is important to have an immigration officer come over”. Katja Dedar of the German Federal Foreign Ministry also took part in the discussion.

Meanwhile in a related development, Ambassador Baryoh also met with the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Maria Flachsbarth at a diplomatic reception wherein they briefly discussed the Compact with Africa in the area of reform partnership. They are to meet on a later date to expand on the discussion.

600 Sierra Leonean Asylum Seekers In Germany.

German Federal Interior Ministry have briefed Ambassador MBaimba Baryoh on the status of Sierra Leoneans legally residing in their country and those applying for asylum. The latter for whom the Ambassador asked to be provided with skill training, if possible after the verification and identification process would have been completed.


Statistical data read out to the ambassador who was accompanied by the deputy ambassador Jonathan Leigh, Head of Chancery David Gbenjen and Protocol Officer Beatriz Agudo-Breuer indicates that there are 4,564 Sierra Leoneans in Germany and 600 asylum seekers.


Dr. Christian Klos, Director of Return Policy at the Federal Interior Ministry informed the delegation of a voluntary repatriation programme, though it is a preference, most asylum seekers are not ready to accept and its success is a bit poor. According to him, the programme funded nine Sierra Leoneans to return home last year but so far this year no application has been filed.


Ambassador Baryoh inquired whether the data also includes those who claimed to be Sierra Leoneans but actually not. On the issue of verification and identification of asylum seekers, he told them it is the responsibility of immigration officers from Freetown and not the embassy since “we do not have the capability and logistic for such a process”.

Head of Chancery, Mr Gbenjen brought it to their attention that the embassy has been sidestepped over the years as the German authorities often maintain connection with immigration officials in Freetown without reference to the embassy in Berlin of their work and results.

Over the last several months, the embassy has been getting calls from persons claiming to be Sierra Leoneans and in need of consular assistance but their dialects are those of other African countries. They couldn’t respond to questions appropriately or satisfactorily. One Diamond Johnson with Nigerian accent claimed he was born at Freetown Memorial Hospital. No such hospital exists in Sierra Leone and wasn’t specific as to where the hospital is located. Another lady claimed to have attended FSSG but cannot tell where the National Stadium is and even the location of St. John. There are dozens more of such cases.


A representative from the Geman Police and two other officials connected with migration also attended the meeting.


Ambassador to Germany, Dr. MBaimba Lamin Baryoh has presented his letters of Credence to the Presidents of Italy and Austria respectively, & to several multilateral organisations in both countries to which he is also accredited, and attended the 41 st conference of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in Italy.

On June 27, he met with His Excellency Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy at the Palazzo Quirinale for the presentation of his credentials. They both held bilateral discussion on enhancing relationship between both countries. Investment in Sierra Leone was high point of the meeting. The good work of the Emeregency Hospital in Freetown was also mentioned in the discussion.

The following day on June 28, Ambassador Baryoh performed similarly assignment with the presentation of credentials to the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Mr David Beasly at the Headquarters of the FAO.

Ambassador Baryoh conveyed greetings from President Julius Maada Bio and outlined the need for help to eradicate malnutrition of children in Sierra Leone by providing nutritional food for lactating mothers, thereby contributing in reducing the infant mortality rate in Sierra Leone. He used the occasion to ask WFP support of the school feeding programme as a supplementary contribution to the Free Quality Education introduced by the President last year. And also encouraged the WFP to provide logistics and training for the development of agriculture in schools.

Letters of credence of the Ambassador were also presented to the outgoing FAO Director, Graziano da Silva. The Ambassador was invited by the FAO Chief to take part in deliberations and meetings of the FAO and other UN agencies as much as possible since he is now accredited.

Another meeting of similar event was with the Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in the absence of the President who was away on official assignment. Ambassador Baryoh briefed him about the ongoing IFAD projects in Sierra Leone and the wide ranging topics of collaboration were discussed. The Vice-President was particularly interested in reasons for migration, youth unemployment, land tenure, gender equality and role of women in rural development, climate change all of which the Ambassador was updated.

Earlier this month, letters of credence were also presented to to the Federal President of Austria Van Der Bellen by the Ambassador, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to the Officer-in-Charge of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) Ms. Tammy Taylor in the absent of the Executive Secretary and to Fatou Haidara, Managing Director of Corporate Management and Operations of UNIDO, all in Vienna Austria.

Sierra Leone’s WASCAL membership on negotiation.

Sierra Leone’s membership in the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change (WASCAL) is being negotiated, the country’s Deputy Ambassador in Germany Jonathan Leigh was told on Wednesday 12th July 2019 at a preparatory meeting with African WASCAL Ambassadors in Berlin at the invitation of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

With the exception of Ivory Coast,  the other three Mano River Union countries namely Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone are not members

The purpose of the meeting was to prepare the groundwork for the hosting in Accra Ghana of the 3rd Conference of WASCAL Ministerial Council on July 30th 2019. WASCAL is a partnership between the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as main funder and its ten West African partners of Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

Membership is open to countries but it is not mandatory or compulsory for a country to become a member, Jonathan Leigh was told when he asked why is it that not all the West African countries are members of WASCAL. On relationship or collaboration with the UN Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he was told that the latter educate researchers in negotiation and can provide expertise.

The Ghanaian diplomat concern was the sustainability of funding for WASCAL with Germany now carrying the financial burden and wanted to know if countries were up to date with payment of dues. Records made available showed that few of the countries are in arrears as at 31st December 2018 and arrears from dues currently stands at 1.843,406.91 Euros. Current payment as at the same period stood at 774, 743 Euros.

But it was disclosed that there is no sanction for late payment or non payment of dues in reply to another question from Ambassador Leigh as to whether countries in arrear of dues risk losing benefits from WASCAL. However, research projects of WASCAL are funded by donors

CTBT Head briefs African diplomats in Germany on ratifying & signing nuclear test ban treaty.

African diplomats accredited to Germany have been briefed on the importance of ratifying and signing the nuclear test ban treaty under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) whose mandate is to ensure and enforce the ban of nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere on the earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground.

Sierra Leone was represented at the briefing by the Deputy Ambassador and Minister Plenipotentiary, Jonathan Leigh.

Executive Secretary of the CTBT organisation, Lassina Zerbo told diplomats at the session hosted at the Belgian Embassy that Africa is important multilateral like a zombie that never dies insisting that we have to be together. Referencing the UN General Assembly Resolution One dealing with nuclear power and energy; his warning was “don’t develop nuclear weapon”.

The establishment of the AU peace and security commission shows the collectively responsibility and care of the continent for peace and development. Why is it that all the five permanent members of the UN are developing nuclear weapon; is it a criteria to belong, asked Lassina Zerbo.

According to him, Africa will be the most populated continent by 2050 and the concern is where do we get food and energy and be able to set our agenda. “No room to develop nuclear weapon anymore. We need peace and development hence the importance of signing and ratifying the treaties, “he says. And prepare ourselves to be part of global issues namely; nuclear weapon and climate change.

A question and answer session climaxed the event.