A delegation from Sierra Leone headed by the Minister of Tourism, Memunatu Pratt and comprising officials from her ministry, the National Tourist Board and the Relics and Monument Commission respectively, arrived in Berlin Germany on Monday 4th March ahead of the 5-day annual International Tourismus Bourse (ITB) which bring together countries from around the world to showcasing and exhibiting their tradition and culture for touristic attraction.
On the evening of their arrival, the minister was welcomed at the embassy and held a briefing session with the diplomatic staff.
She was upbeat about rebranding of the tourism sector both at home and more importantly abroad and seemed very pleased with the success and significant progress made so far. She revealed that from records made available by the immigration department at the Lungi International airport, 20,000 tourists visited Sierra Leone in the last three months. And the priority is open up this part of the world to Sierra Leone touristic attraction.
The ITB is a global event attracting about 60,000 people across the world this year. Sierra Leone will be showcasing her cultural values and have a booth where all of these will be displayed or made available, including local cuisines and traditional dance.
Ambassador MBaimba Baryoh promised to do follow ups on all of the issues raised and discussed as he too has used every available platform since assuming office to invite investors to focus attention on Sierra Leone tourism sector emphasising that it is a priority area of President Bio and the NEW DIRECTION.
On the morning of Tuesday 5th March, KPRN Network represented by Hanna Kleber, Managing Director and Jens Frenzel, Project Manager for Africa who are in charge of planning the Sierra Leone event in Germany, held a briefing session at the Sierra Leone embassy at which the Minister, representatives of the tourist board and staff of the embassy were in attendance, presented a comprehensive plan for the uplift of the tourism industry in Sierra Leone over a three years period which the Minister and Ambassador Baryoh nodded.
A student exchange and research teaching programme between the SRH Hochschule Berlin, a private University in Germany and FBC (University Of Sierra Leone) is being considered following extensive discussions between Ambassador M’Baimba Baryoh and Prof. Hartman, Vice Chancellor SRH, and a follow up visit to the University on the evening of February 14 by the Ambassador where he delivered a speech on ‘NEW INVESTMENT STRATEGIES’ of the Government of Sierra Leone to faculty members & students.
The University offers courses in applied sciences with focus on renewable energy and when Prof. Hartman visited the Sierra Leone embassy earlier, he stated categorically during the discussion that “wherever energy is mentioned I run to go there”. This was when Ambassador Baryoh extended an invitation for him to visit Sierra Leone where he spoke with Prof. Foday Sahr, Vice-Chancellor USL during which a MoU was planned and now ready for signing.
Ambassador Baryoh stated in his speech at the University that the NEW DIRECTION government of President Maada Bio has key areas of priority including energy, agriculture, health, tourism, marine resources with education as the flagship programme in which 21% of the national budget is invested which has seen the introduction of free, quality primary and secondary education and extended recently to include some core courses at university level.
He stressed that the Sierra Leone is politically stable, the fight against corruption is making remarkable successes and gave the assurance of investors protection and security whilst explaining the conduct of three democratic elections that were free, fair and transparent between 2002 and 2018 with the change of governance on two occasions.
Also, he elaborated on challenges faced travelling by sea between the international airport and the capital and the plans to construct a bridge linking the airport to the city. Sierra Leone he emphasised is completely ready for business.
The ambassador was accompanied by his wife Elizabeth Baryoh and the Deputy Ambassador Mr. Jonathan Leigh and both took part in discussions on the side-line.
Agriculture Ministers from across the world have ended their 3-day German Forum for Food and Agriculture meeting hosted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and held at the City Cube in Berlin.
Sierra Leone’s Agriculture Minister, Joseph Ndanemah participated actively as one of four panellists on the topic OUT OF DEADLOCK: NEW VISION FOR AGRICULTURE AND TRADE, the only African on the panel, on Friday morning where he stated he would prefer trade to aid and grant at the pre-briefing session.
And in the session proper before an audience of about 120 attendees, including Ambassador M’Baimba Baryoh, the minister suggested the dismantling of trade barriers as Agriculture is important to keep rural areas going.
Later in the day, German Chancellor Angela Markel addressed the session which was exclusively for ministers.
On Saturday morning, minister Ndanemah chaired a session discussing digital agriculture using the Chatham rules, in his words. And later reported on its outcome at a session chaired by the Germany Agriculture Minister culminating to the end of the event during which the draft communique was overwhelming approved.
Ambassador M’baimba Lamin Baryoh seen here having a tete a tete with the German President at a reception Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted recently at his residence.
The Sierra Leone Ambassador spoke once again about the possibility of getting s Schengen visas in Freetown. The President promises to discuss further with his government.