Guy Warrington, the new British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, presented a copy of his Letter of Credentials to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Samura Kamara at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday 9 August. Mr Warrington also met Directors-General and Directors from the MFAIC.
Mr Warrington emphasised the enduring and unique partnership between the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone. Through the Ebola epidemic to recovery, the UK stands with Sierra Leone, supporting the government’s plans to rebuild Sierra Leone, in the words of President Koroma, as a better, more resilient and fairer society. The lessons from the Ebola response should help guide this work. It is on this basis that the UK government pledged £240 million to support recovery over 2 years, the biggest bilateral donor partnership with Sierra Leone and the highest per capita UK bilateral programme in the world. The new High Commissioner stressed that his focus, and that of the UK team in Sierra Leone, will be to help the government deliver rapid progress across the Presidential recovery priorities.
Increasing private sector investment and jobs will be an essential part of that recovery. Mr Warrington said that much of his career had focused on trade, investment and commercial diplomacy; he was keen to support improvements to the business environment and on that basis to promote greater UK private sector involvement in the Sierra Leonean Economy.
The UK will continue to support steps towards free, fair and participatory local, Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2018 working with the government, international partners, political parties and civil society. Voter registration will be an essential step towards that aim. A successful review of the 1991 Constitution will also be an important sign of progress in enhancing long-term democratic stability.
The UK’s commitment to Sierra Leone is an example of our determination to increase the UK’s focus on parts of the world outside of Europe, including the Commonwealth, following the recent referendum decision to leave the EU. The UK remains committed to its 0.7% ODA targets and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Two years on from the outbreak of Ebola, Mr Warrington stressed the importance of Sierra Leone maintaining vigilance against future outbreaks of the disease. As he begins a 3-year posting to Freetown, the UK-Sierra Leone partnership has never been stronger.