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“I had a good time delivering the Third Annual Distinguished Lecture in African Research on the College of Pennsylvania” says President Bio

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Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 March 2024:

Criticised for what has been described as ‘money for speech mission’ overseas, and his persistent love for travelling outdoors Sierra Leone on the expense of poor taxpayers, President Bio has at the moment replied to his critics, following his look on the College of Pennsylvania the place he delivered a lecture yesterday.

Critics of the President say that he’s not morally certified to lecture the world about democracy, progressive politics, and inclusive growth in Africa, given his poor human rights and management file.

However writing on Twitter this morning, that is what President Bio stated:

“I had a good time delivering the Third Annual Distinguished Lecture in African Research on the College of Pennsylvania…

“In my submission on the theme “Navigating the Future: Democracy, Progressive Politics, and Inclusive Improvement in Africa – The Sierra Leone Expertise”, I interrogated the multiplex crises African democracies face and the imperatives of our nations to evolve in an ever-changing world.

“I shared Sierra Leone’s expertise and journey of progressive politics, which encapsulates each setbacks and triumphs, as with most younger democracies untangling the shackles of colonialism.

“As a nation, now we have traversed turbulent instances which have left scars on our society and examined the willpower of our individuals. But, from the ashes of adversity, now we have risen with dedication, embracing democracy and embarking on a decisive path in the direction of inclusive growth.

“I additionally highlighted how we will harness the transformative energy of democracy, progressive politics, and inclusive growth to resolve Africa’s complicated and multifaceted challenges and chart a course in the direction of a brighter and extra peaceable and affluent future.

“I thank the Interim President of the College of Pennsylvania, Dr Larry Jameson and the Centre for Africana Research for the invitation to ship the Third Distinguished Lecture. I welcome partnership alternatives between the College of Pennsylvania and our Tertiary Establishments in Sierra Leone.”

You may learn the President’s full lecture notes beneath:

President Larry Jameson, Provost John Jackson, Jr, Employees and College students of the nice College of Pennsylvania, Distinguished Girls and Gents, Good Afternoon.

I convey you very heat greetings and sunshine from my lovely nation, Sierra Leone, the Land That We Love.

As we collect to debate the way forward for democracy, progressive politics, and inclusive growth in Africa and Sierra Leone, we discover ourselves at a important juncture in historical past.

Our world faces interconnected crises that problem the very foundations of our societies. The struggle in Ukraine has escalated power and meals costs to unprecedented ranges, igniting a world cost-of-living disaster that has spurred social unrest throughout continents.

Amid these world upheavals, the demand for meals, water and power is escalating, fueled by inhabitants development and socio-economic progress.

These world challenges place an immense pressure on the democracies of countries, Sierra Leone included. Democracies worldwide are being examined as they try to handle these multifaceted crises, safeguarding the well-being of their residents whereas sustaining the ideas of freedom, fairness and justice.

In Sierra Leone, this backdrop of world turmoil intersects with our distinctive journey in the direction of democracy. Democracy, in essence, is akin to a muscle that requires fixed train to stay strong and resilient.

Democracy thrives on engagement, transparency, and the rule of regulation, and like several muscle, if uncared for, it dangers atrophy, leaving societies weak to the forces of autocracy and despotism.

Rising from the shadows of colonialism and the ravages of a bloody civil struggle, Sierra Leone has launched into a exceptional journey in the direction of a vibrant democracy, respiratory life into the freedoms that type the essence of our nationwide id.

Our democracy’s vitality is anchored in its means to face up to each home tribulations and the unpredictable forces of a altering world, compelling us to uphold our foundational ideas steadfastly.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, our challenges, each world and native, require management that’s adaptable, clear, and deeply dedicated to justice and equality. The inspirational management of the late Nelson Mandela demonstrated how progressive politics might unite a nation and drive ahead social progress.

Mandela’s intentional embrace of the Springbok emblem throughout the 1995 Rugby World Cup emerged as a strong image of unity, showcasing the capability of visionary management to bridge divides and foster a collective spirit of hope and resilience.

Mandela’s enduring affect reminds us that the essence of progressive politics lies past mere ideological confines, advocating for governance grounded in values that combine socio-economic growth, environmental conservation, equity, and energetic citizen engagement.

In Sierra Leone, our dedication to those ideas is manifested in our journey from the depths of colonialism and battle to a renaissance of democratic governance and vital societal transformation.

What’s true for Sierra Leone can be true for my private journey as a Soldier, Politician and Statesman.

In reflecting upon this trajectory from navy intervention to staunch advocacy for democracy, some reputable questions come up: What has modified? How can I, a frontrunner as soon as engaged in what you’ll be able to describe at the moment as an unconstitutional change of presidency, stand on the vanguard in opposition to coups at the moment?

This question deserves a considerate exploration, for it touches upon the guts of our collective evolution as a continent and as proponents of democratic governance.

My involvement within the 1992 navy intervention, which aimed to dismantle an entrenched twenty-year autocracy and pave the best way for democratic rule, displays a fancy but obligatory chapter in our nation’s historical past.

I used to be additionally concerned within the navy “palace coup” in January 1996 and upheld our promise of returning the nation to civilian rule. Subsequently, I organised democratic elections and relinquished energy inside three months.

This was a testomony to my unwavering dedication to the ideas of democracy and the rule of regulation. Such actions, although fraught with challenges, spotlight the importance of management that prioritises the collective aspirations of its individuals over private ambition.

Selecting to relinquish energy, particularly as a younger chief who might have justified holding onto energy, was not merely a private choice however a declaration of my dedication to democratic governance.

My function within the peace mediation between the Authorities of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Entrance rebels was not merely a diplomatic endeavour however a profound dedication to the peace and unity of our nation.

This pivotal second in our historical past served because the bedrock for the enduring peace we take pleasure in at the moment, incomes me the honour of being known as the “Father of Democracy” in Sierra Leone.

The organisation of the primary multi-party normal elections after twenty years marked a major milestone, transitioning Sierra Leone from the grip of an autocratic regime to the daybreak of democratic governance.

It represented a pivotal second, not only for me however for Sierra Leone and, by extension, Africa — a testomony to the idea that true management is outlined not by the buildup of energy however by the legacy of empowerment it leaves behind.

The echoes of our previous should not be allowed to justify the actions of our current nor decide the trajectory of our future. The previous methods of autocratic rule are incompatible with the aspirations of our individuals and the exigencies of our instances.

The attract of reverting to undemocratic practices within the face of adversity is a path fraught with peril — a regression to a state now we have collectively vowed to transcend. We can not embrace the very practices now we have strived to beat.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, Africa has certainly come of age. The challenges we face at the moment — be it shortage of assets, local weather change, or the complexities of governing more and more multicultural and numerous societies — demand a governance mannequin that’s inclusive, participatory and adaptive.

In Sierra Leone, our dedication to democracy will not be merely rhetorical however is manifested in our actions, insurance policies, and the institutional frameworks we set up.  It’s a dedication to a future the place the need of the individuals is the cornerstone of governance, the place dialogue supersedes decree, and the place the rule of regulation prevails over the rule by drive.

My Authorities’s abolition of sedition legal guidelines, the safety of journalistic freedom, and the conduct of peaceable elections are milestones that replicate our dedication to constructing a society the place dialogue, transparency, and accountability are the cornerstones of governance.

As we forge forward, the ideas of progressive politics will proceed to information our efforts to create a Sierra Leone that’s resilient within the face of world challenges, equitable in its distribution of assets, and unwavering in its dedication to democracy.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, the political and constitutional crises which have beset the ECOWAS sub-region lately underscore a urgent problem to the soundness and prosperity of our nations.

The sophisticated emergence of unconstitutional governments — spawned by a confluence of social discontent, financial hardship, and a disaster of legitimacy — poses a grave menace to the democratic material now we have strived to weave.

These challenges name into query the effectiveness of ECOWAS as a regional physique in its essential function as a mediator and guardian of democratic ideas.

I stay dedicated to the tough and obligatory job of constructing positive that this physique turns into extra related and efficient in upholding and strengthening democracy and name upon fellow leaders to do the identical.

In an age the place expertise and social media have revolutionised the dissemination of data and mobilised residents to demand transparency and accountability, our resolve to uphold democratic beliefs has by no means been stronger.

I have to emphasise right here that autocratic rule now not fits our aspirations or the calls for of our period. As leaders, our obligation is to form a future rooted in optimism, democracy, and the wealthy potential of our various populations, making certain Africa’s sustainable prosperity in a globally interconnected world.

A nation’s energy is measured not by its wealth alone however by the distribution of that wealth and the empowerment of its residents.

For Sierra Leone, the pursuit of inclusive growth isn’t just a coverage selection; it’s a elementary dedication to making sure that each Sierra Leonean, no matter their social, financial, or geographic background, has the chance to contribute to and profit from the nation’s development.

Inclusive growth instantly engages with the ideas of participatory democracy, the place citizen engagement and equal alternatives for participation in financial life reinforce the legitimacy and responsiveness of governance buildings.

My dedication to those beliefs is exemplified within the latest enactment of the Gender Equality and Ladies’s Empowerment Act 2023, a pivotal step in the direction of rectifying historic imbalances and championing gender fairness.

By mandating a minimal of 30 % quota for ladies in each private and non-private sector management positions, the Act not solely aligns with world requirements for gender equality but in addition acknowledges the indispensable function ladies play within the growth course of.

This coverage is grounded within the understanding that growth is most sustainable when it harnesses the total potential of its inhabitants, recognising ladies not simply as beneficiaries of growth however as key drivers of change.

The connection between democracy and growth, as highlighted by this legislative advance, is symbiotic. A democratic framework that upholds the ideas of inclusivity and equality creates an setting conducive to sustainable growth.

Conversely, growth efforts that prioritise inclusivity strengthen democratic establishments by making certain that they’re reflective of and conscious of the wants of your complete populace.

In Sierra Leone, this reciprocal dynamic is central to our nationwide growth technique, as we recognise that our democratic resilience is intrinsically linked to our means to realize development that uplifts each citizen.

We’d like deliberate coverage interventions that concentrate on structural inequalities and be sure that the dividends of growth are equitably shared. This strategy not solely mitigates the chance of social unrest but in addition fosters a way of belonging and possession amongst all stakeholders, thereby enhancing social cohesion and nationwide unity.

Sierra Leone, like many democracies on the earth, is worried concerning the unsettling tendencies of unconstitutional adjustments of presidency all over the world, however particularly in our expensive continent, Africa.

Within the context of Sierra Leone, latest makes an attempt to subvert democracy have resulted in vital misery, resulting in lack of life and inflicting shock to the very core of our democratic ideas.

These occasions function a stark reminder of the fragility of democracy and the significance of safeguarding it in opposition to forces that search to undermine its integrity.

My authorities is dedicated to addressing these challenges head-on, with a relentless give attention to restoring societal confidence in democracy and the rule of regulation.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, our mission prioritises youth engagement in Sierra Leone’s democratic and developmental journey. As a significant demographic, the youth should not mere recipients of progress however key architects of our democracy’s future.

Their dynamism, creativity, and views are important for fostering innovation and development.

By means of initiatives just like the YOUTH EMPLOYMENT SCHEME (YES!), which goals to create 500,000 jobs inside 5 years, we’re dedicated to harnessing the potential of our younger inhabitants.

This effort transcends job creation; it’s a strategic funding in our nation’s human capital, empowering younger Sierra Leoneans to form a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future.

As we sit up for the longer term, the challenges we face demand not simply resilience however a renewed dedication to the ideas of democracy and growth.

By grounding our actions in philosophies that prioritise justice, inclusivity, and empowerment and by putting youth on the centre of our democratic and growth endeavours, Sierra Leone can navigate the trail towards a future that displays the aspirations of all its residents.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, within the digital period, Sierra Leone stands at a transformative juncture for democracy and governance. This period brings unparalleled alternatives for civic engagement and entry to info but in addition challenges us with the unfold of disinformation and the erosion of public discourse.

Recognising these twin realities, my authorities is pioneering bold TECHNOLOGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE insurance policies to weave digital innovation into our nationwide growth material.

These initiatives purpose to reinforce financial participation and be sure that technological advantages attain each Sierra Leonean, from power entry enlargement to the digitisation of our monetary sector.

Nonetheless, the digital transformation journey introduces obstacles, notably the menace disinformation and hate speech pose to our democratic integrity and unity.

In response, we’re enhancing digital literacy, supporting fact-checking endeavours, and growing authorized frameworks to guard free speech whereas combating misinformation.

As we navigate these digital complexities, we’re dedicated to fostering an setting the place reality and empathy prevail in on-line interactions and recognise the humanity behind each digital footprint.

My authorities seeks partnerships with tech corporations and civil society to create a digital ecosystem that reinforces democratic values and inclusivity.

Our imaginative and prescient for Sierra Leone within the digital age is one in every of empowerment, democracy, and inclusive development, guided by adaptive governance and a dedication to fairness, transparency, and accountability.

We stand able to embrace the longer term, addressing how expertise can unite and uplift us and alluring all stakeholders to contribute to a thriving Sierra Leone on this digital revolution.


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, within the narrative of world growth, Africa stands at a pivotal crossroads, not as a continent in want of support, however as an indispensable companion within the world economic system.

The period of viewing Africa by the lens of charity should give solution to an period of strategic partnerships that recognise the continent’s intrinsic worth and potential.

Africa, with its huge assets, youthful and educated populace, and rising center class, represents the final frontier for funding — a fertile floor for innovation, development, and shared prosperity.

Africa’s name is obvious: we search not support, however equitable partnerships with the West, China, the Center East, and different allies.

Our engagement within the world enviornment should be characterised by mutual respect and shared advantages, making certain that Africa has a seat at each desk the place selections affecting its future are made.

From commerce negotiations to power fairness, local weather change dialogues, and the switch of technological innovation, Africa’s voice should be heard and its pursuits represented.

The continent’s potential is plain. Our youthful inhabitants isn’t just the workforce of tomorrow however a vibrant drive able to drive innovation and financial development at the moment.

Our populace stands able to contribute to and lead within the scientific, technological, and entrepreneurial ventures that may outline the longer term.

If harnessed sustainably and equitably, Africa’s pure assets provide a path to transformative financial growth not only for Africa however for the world.

And our rising center class is a testomony to the rising demand for client items, companies, and democratic governance.

That is the muse of the “Aspiring Africa” narrative—a narrative of a continent on the cusp of progressive transformation.

What Africa wants now are strategic partnerships that recognise this potential and are keen to spend money on it. Partnerships that transcend the standard support mannequin and give attention to creating sustainable financial alternatives that profit all stakeholders.

As we forge these new alliances, allow us to do not forget that the way forward for world stability and prosperity is inextricably linked to Africa’s success.

By investing in equitable offers, respecting Africa’s sovereignty, and fostering an setting of innovation and entrepreneurship, we will collectively be sure that Africa doesn’t simply rise however soars.

Our name to motion extends past our borders, beckoning the African Diaspora to contribute their data, expertise, and entrepreneurship to the event of their homelands.

It’s a clarion name for Africans to shoulder the accountability of nation-building, to interrupt free from the shackles of colonialism and dependency, and to forge significant partnerships based mostly on shared prosperity.

NONE OF THIS IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT PEACE. That is the duty forward for us all, however particularly for leaders of our continent and area.

As I conclude, I name upon my fellow Sierra Leoneans, our African neighbours, and the worldwide neighborhood to hitch us in committing to democratic ideas, peace, progressive politics, and inclusive growth.

Collectively, allow us to work in the direction of a future the place Sierra Leone and Africa at giant navigate the digital period with resilience, embracing each the challenges and alternatives it presents for constructing a extra democratic, progressive, and inclusive society.

Thanks in your consideration and your perception within the promise of our shared future.



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