ODA, IOM, & MPPA Meet On Diaspora Agribusiness Investment Forum

By Alfred Fornah
The Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs (MPPA) on Thursday 6th September, 2018 held a fruitful meeting regarding preparations on the forthcoming Diaspora Agribusiness Investment Forum.

The meeting which was held at MPPA, Youyi Building in Freetown saw discussions on preparations for the investment forum which some stakeholders in the private sector have described as one of the most anticipated event that will be organized in Sierra Leone this year.

In his statement, the Director of ODA Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh briefly highlighted his institution’s role in organizing the Diaspora Agribusiness Forum, and assured all that his office will react accordingly.

IOM’s Consultant Coordinator for the Forum, Mr Amadu Massally noted that as the country gets into a new administration, calling for a new direction, he believes the climate is ripe again to tap into the diaspora of Sierra Leone. According to him: “And I’m hoping that the Diaspora Agribusiness Investment Forum that will be held on the 18th and 19th of this month will be able to harness Diaspora resources and attract investment in the agribusiness sector. But also to provide catalytic interventions that will spur the private sector to where it ought to be.”

The IOM’s Diaspora Engagement Manager in -charge of Migration and Development for Africa (MIDA) project, Mr Akao Kunikazu informed that they have nominated twelve diaspora Sierra Leoneans and invited nine Japanese Companies (a tenth one already doing business here is DOLE) including the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to participate in the Forum. Some of these diasporans he said have agribusinesses in Sierra Leone. He also said that the Japanese Ambassador assigned to Sierra Leone will also be in attendance from his residence in Ghana

Both the Minister and Deputy Minister of Political and Public Affairs took active part in the discussions and even made suggestions as to how the event can be successfully organized in order to achieve it intended purpose. They promised that they will be hands on to the extent possible going forward ‘because this is an event with huge potential’ they agreed.

The Minister of MPPA, Ambassador, Foday Yumkella assured IOM staff present that their Ministry will now be actively involved and will ensure that they play their own part in organizing the event.

 

 

SIERRA LEONE DIASPORA AGRIBUSINESS INVESTMENT FORUM

The 5 Ws of an Agribusiness Investment Forum… in Sierra Leone

What is this?
An investment forum that will bring together investors, entrepreneurs, and other diasporas with key roles to play in supporting enterprise development in Sierra Leone to connect, interact, and problem-solve to enhance prospects for development of agribusiness enterprises that can contribute to inclusive growth in Sierra Leone. A unique group that features our compatriots in the diaspora combined with a rare appearance by a group of Japanese private companies will descend into Sierra Leone.

Preparing for them are Sierra Leone agro-based enterprises (agribusinesses) that have been selected via an independent company and process. They will offer bankable projects hopefully, to the investors. The names of those companies will be announced in due time.

Who is doing this
The IOM with funds from the Government of Japan is sponsoring the exercise and it is being coordinated by two Sierra Leonean consultants hired along with IOM staff to execute on the formation and coordination of the project. Other participants include some members of the Sierra Leonean diaspora and some private companies from Japan.

Locally run agribusinesses are also part of the puzzle as is the GoSL with the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), Min. of Trade and Industry, SLIEPA, SLeCAD, and SMEDA, among others. The Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture is also strategically involved. This is a national event!

Why is the IOM doing this?
IOM believes the Sierra Leone diaspora is an integral and important piece of Sierra Leone’s economic recovery. Engaging this community is considered critical to national development. The IOM a migration- and by default diaspora-oriented organization is most suited for this kind of work.

As an added value to the overall intentions of an investment forum, typically, the IOM has incorporated the visit of about ten Japanese private companies who will accompany twelve Sierra Leoneans from the diaspora into the project.

When/Where is this taking place?
The investment forum is scheduled to be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The dates slated are the 18th and 19th of September, 2018.

How is it being done?

The event itself will be a combination of panel discussions and presentations with a question and answer session that follows. We will break out into workshops and especially have a speed networking event. At the end of each day, we will collect, collate and communicate action items that have been committed to. These will culminate into an action plan that will guide the way forward. Our hope is that this exercise will help put the private sector on a trajectory for transformation.

 ©Mr Amadu Massally,

IOM Consultant Coordinator

Email:  amadu.massally@gmail.com

 

 

President Bio Interacts With Sierra Leoneans in Nouakchott

Nouakchott, Mauritania, Saturday 30th June 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has now made it a routine to interact with ordinary Sierra Leoneans residing in countries abroad during his overseas trips. For him the philosophy is simple, that for Sierra Leone to prosper and his Government to succeed he would need contributions from all Sierra Leoneans within and outside Sierra Leone. And so far with his impressive efforts, the goodwill from Sierra Leoneans is overwhelming.

Following on with his philosophy, on Friday 29th June, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio interacted with Sierra Leoneans in Nouakchott. For many of the Sierra Leonean residents, it was the first time a Sierra Leonean President was interacting with them in Mauritania. Many praised President Bio for his humility and care he has shown by meeting them to know their concerns.

During the interaction, President Bio thanked the residents for the good comportment in Mauritania and that he was proud as a Sierra Leonean to know that many good things are being said about them from the Mauritanian authority.

He told them that as a new Government there are many challenges because of what he inherited from the past Government but he was very determined to ensure that he creates the meaningful change that will attract them to return home.

President Bio also urged the residents to remain united as Sierra Leoneans and embrace one another.

The President of the Sierra Leonean residents in Mauritania thanked President Bio for his concern about their welfare and praised him for the actions he has taken so far as President. He told President Bio that they will always keep him in their prayers so that he will succeed to change Sierra Leone.

Other statements were made by the First Lady, Mrs Fatima Bio and the substantive Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Alie Kabba.

For more enquiries:
State House Media and Communications Unit;
+232(88)269282/+232(76)267664

MINISTER OF POLITICAL & PUBLIC AFFAIRS ENGAGES ODA, IOM ON THE MIDA PROJECT

By Alfred Fornah

The Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon Foday Yumkella on Wednesday 20th June 2018 had a meeting with the Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs ( ODA) and also with some officials of the International Organization for Migration ( IOM) at his Youyi Building Office in Freetown.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss issues regarding the Migration and Development for Africa ( MIDA) Project.

Briefing the Minister and his Deputy about the project, the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Dr Kallay Musa Conteh said the MIDA project is funded by the Japanese Government and implemented by the International Organization For Migration , Office of Diaspora Affairs and the Ministry of Health . He added that the project aimed at building a bridge between available resources of the Sierra Leonean diaspora ,needs and opportunities in Sierra Leone. ” Together with IOM and the Ministry of Health we have rolled out a pilot phase of this project in Koinadugu District; with a motive to strengthen the Health Care System through the deployment of experienced diaspora health care workers in that part of the country” Dr Conteh noted.

Akao Kunikazu, IOM Project Manager in charge of the MIDA Project said with the support they received from the Japanese Government they were able to recruit diaspora Medics who delivered free medical services in areas such as Internal Medicine , Dental and Mental Health, and also performed extremely well in handling Gynecological and pediatric cases in Koinadugu District.

He informed that they have started a second phase of the project in Kailahun District. ” the new project seek to address issues on Health, Agriculture Disaster prevention and intervention”

He added that the project will also provide E- Learning platform for Diaspora medical experts who are residing overseas to transfer knowledge to students at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences in Sierra Leone.
He also said in September this year they will organize a Diaspora Agribusiness Workshop; encouraging diasporans to invest in Agriculture among other sectors.

In his response, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon. Foday Yumkella commended IOM, ODA and their partners for the project. This kind of program , he said demonstrated Diaspora contribution to the development of the country. He called on ODA and IOM to consider incorporating other sectors in implementing such a laudable project.

©Alfred Fornah
Communications Officer ODA

ODA SENIOR MANAGEMENT PAYS COURTESY CALL ON POLITICAL & PUBLIC AFFAIRS MINISTER

By Alfred Fornah
The Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) senior management team on Tuesday 22nd May 2018 paid a courtesy call on the newly appointed Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon. Foday Yumkella at Youyi Building Freetown.

Leading the team from ODA was it’s Director Dr Kallay Musa Conteh , who was accompanied by five other senior staff members.

In his statement, the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Dr Kallay Musa Conteh explained about the mandate of the ODA. He said since it’s establishment by the former President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma in 2008, the institution has been doing a lot in engaging the diaspora towards national development. He outlined some of the projects that have been implemented by the ODA. These projects he said include the UNDP funded project in 2011 which they attracted 25 Sierra Leone Diaspora Experts who were brought home to fill some of the critical gaps that existed in the public sector during that time. He also mentioned the capacity building project that was sponsored by the World Bank.

“Together with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), we have also rolled out a pilot phase of the Japanese funded Migration and Development in Africa (MIDA) Project in order to strengthen the health system in Koinadugu and Falaba Districts” he said. He added that a second phase of the MIDA project is now in progress in Kailahun District. ” this particular project aimed at attracting diasporans to deliver free health care services in that part of the country. He said the project has other components like Agriculture and Disaster Management and Prevention. Dr Conteh went further to talk about another diaspora project dubbed as Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) which they are also implementing with the IOM.

Dr Abdulai Dumbuya, ODA’s Information Technology , Communication & Database Manager said another important function the ODA is performing is to collect data of Sierra Leone Diasporans, adding that recently they presented a copy of the data to H E President Julius Maada Bio at State House. “The database simply provide information about the expertise of diasporans, their areas of interest to invest in Sierra Leone among others.

Joseph Lansana, Private Sector Manager of ODA explained their role in ensuring that Diasporans have the enabling environment to invest in the private sector in the country. He also noted that they are working in tandem with the Bank of Sierra Leone and the ACPEU to formalize remittances.

ODA’s Office/Admin Manager highlighted some of the challenges the institution is faced with, including the allocation of funds. He pointed out lack of required funds and the late disbursement of Government allocation to the institution. He hoped that with the help of the new minister, some of those problems would be surmounted and the ODA will be able to carry out it’s operations accordingly.

In his response, the Hon. Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon. Foday Yumkella stated that the Diaspora Office is an institution he believed can achieve quite a lot. He quoted the section in President Bio’s State Opening of Parliament speech that talks about how the Government intends to mobilize the diaspora towards national development and further urged the ODA team to work towards such ambition.
“I consider myself as a captain that want to learn very fast from you, and we need to work together to achieve our expected goal” the Hon. Minister said.

State Opening of Parliament: President Bio’s Statement regarding the Diaspora

“The Diaspora is a resource that Sierra Leone can tap into for its development needs. In the Diaspora reside some of the most educated, entrepreneurial and wealthy citizens. Most Diasporas are strongly attached to Sierra Leone and would be willing to contribute meaningfully to the country’s development.
Mr. Speaker, my Government will (i) will review the mandate of the Diaspora Office and assess its validity (ii) examine the laws relating to dual citizenship with a view to allowing Sierra Leonean Diaspora to fully participate in the politics of Sierra Leone (iii) mobilize highly skilled Sierra Leoneans for knowledge and skills transfer to Sierra Leone through volunteer services or short-term consultancy services or partnership between local and Diaspora professionals organizations (iv) mobilize and leverage Sierra Leonean Diaspora business communities for investment and trade in Sierra Leone (v) develop interactive mechanisms and special incentives for Sierra Leonean Diaspora Business communities and (vi) encourage Sierra Leonean Diaspora to form professional fora abroad”.

ASSOCIATION OF SIERRA LEONEANS IN TEXAS SUPPORTS LESS PRIVILEGED CHILDREN

By Alfred Fornah

The Association of Sierra Leonean Organizations in Texas (ASLOT) has on the 31st March 2018 made cash donation of one thousand United State Dollars to Ebola orphans and other less privileged children.

During his visit at Hope 4 Ebola Orphans Interim Care Centre at Hamilton Village, Sampha Sesay, a representative of ASLOT explained to the kids how the many different diaspora-led organizations located in Texas work together under the umbrella of ASLOT to foster mutually supportive and cohesive relationships to find solutions for the betterment of Sierra Leone. He said their Organization has been helping vulnerable children, like kids with disabilities and those orphaned by Ebola and the August’s tragic mudslide; promoting and celebrating Sierra Leones’ rich culture and independence by levering individual resources of the various member organizations to support projects for the development of their home country.

Mr Williams Tieh,, National Coordinator, H4EO in his  brief statement noted the importance of transparency and accountability and further promised to utilized the money for it intended purpose.

The Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), Dr Kallay Musa Conteh has commended ASLOT for what he referred to as a laudable venture from their diaspora constituents. He told this writer that the diaspora constituency has a lot to offer to the country, and the ODA will continue to work hard to harness the diaspora towards national development.

Meanwhile, ASLOT is a fantastic umbrella association for diaspora organizations based in Texas and is such a good model for our diaspora in other US states and countries, pulling together resources to find practical solutions for the betterment of Sierra Leone. ASLOT is organizing Sierra Leoneans in the State of Texas into a more loving and cohesive community, while employing interdependence together with non-Sierra Leoneans to support and promote sustainable growth in healthcare, education, infrastructure, agriculture, and social empowerment to benefit the people of Sierra Leone.

© Alfred Fornah

Communication Officer,

Office of Diaspora Affairs

 

 

 

Director of Diaspora Affairs delivers paper at international Dialogue on Migration workshop at the UN

The Director of Diaspora Engagement of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh on Tuesday March 27 attended the first workshop of the UN Migration’s International Dialogue on Migration( IDM ), where he delivered an impressive and comprehensive paper on The Whole-Of-Society partnerships For Good Migration Governance.

The workshop was attended by representatives of civil society, migrants’ groups, experts and other stakeholders. It provided an informal and non-binding setting in which all stakeholders had an equal right to participate, fostering trust, openness and genuine exchange while addressing the full range of migration issues and their linkages with other policy domains.

In his deliverance at the workshop, Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh stated that Migration has, historically, been an integral part of livelihoods in Sierra Leone. He said that while migration from the country dates back to the 1960s, the recent civil war and endemic poverty have contributed to massive out-migration in the 1990s and that the number of Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora is estimated to be 336, 000 (World Bank, 2016). Of this number, about 33.7% of Sierra Leoneans living in OECD countries are tertiary-educated (World Bank, 2016).
Discussing the three principles of good migration governance, Dr. Kallay Musa said that Good migration governance would require adherence to international standards and the fulfilment of migrants’ rights; Migration and related policies are best formulated using evidence and whole of government approaches ; Good migration governance relies on strong partnerships.

Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh also discussed the objectives of good migration governance. Good migration governance and related policy , he posited, should seek to advance the socioeconomic well-being of migrants and society. Secondly, Good migration governance is based on effective responses to the mobility dimensions of crises. He also stated that Migration should take place in a safe, orderly and dignified manner.

Delving deeper into the first principle of good migration governance, Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh propounded the fact that “Humane and orderly migration requires compliance with international law. The obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of individuals is paramount and applies to all individuals within a State’s territory, regardless of nationality or migration status and without discrimination, in order to preserve their safety, physical integrity, well-being and dignity. ” He went on to elucidate that “Protecting the rights of individuals includes combating xenophobia, racism and discrimination, ensuring adherence with the principles of equality and non-discrimination, and ensuring access to protection.”

On the second principle that Migration and related policies are best formulated using evidence and whole-of-government approaches, Dr . Kallay Musa Conteh pointed out that “Migration policy is often the subject of intense political debate and can be based on populist sentiments.”

“Migration policy”, he went on, “must be based on facts and a well-founded analysis of the benefits and risks the movement of people poses to the State. To govern migration well, a State would collect, analyse and use credible data and information on, among other things, demographics, cross-border movements, internal displacement, diasporas, labour markets, seasonal trends, education and health. Furthermore, a State would seek to understand migration trends and reflect them in policies, including links with environmental degradation, climate change and crises.”

Dilating on the third principle that Good migration governance relies on strong partnerships , Dr .Kallay Musa Conteh stated that “By their very nature, migration and mobility implicate multiple actors: States and their neighbors, subnational authorities, local communities, migrants and their families, diasporas, employers and unions.”

“In addition,” Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh went on, ” there are dozens of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations whose mandates touch on migration and humanitarian action. Governing migration well requires partnerships to broaden the understanding of migration, and to develop comprehensive and effective approaches. This means maintaining close partnerships with: Subnational governments, local authorities, cities and municipalities; Non-governmental actors at the domestic level, including employers, unions, diasporas, migrant associations, civil society, local community groups, religious organizations and academia, ensuring that the entities consulted are representative of all those in the population concerned; this could include, among others,public–private partnerships “
©Kabbs Kanu

IOM, ODA ON DIASPORA MULTILATERAL ENGAGEMENT

By Alfred Fornah

The Director of Diaspora Engagement Affairs, Dr Kallay musa Conteh is currently in the United Kingdom together with Alhaji Sanusi Savage Head of IOM -Sierra Leone and the Project Manager for the Japanese funded Diaspora project Akao Kunikazu.

The purpose of their trip is to engage Sierra Leoneans in the UK regarding the new Migration and Development in Africa (MIDA) Project.

The new project which will start next month aimed at attracting diaspora contributions in Health, Agriculture, ICT, and Disaster Management.

The Multilateral meeting brought together different stakeholders including the Acting High commissioner of Sierra Leone to the UK Mr Tamba Ngeba, Head of Chancery Mr Logan, Cultural Attache at the Sierra Leone High commission in UK Dr. Seray Wurie, Ms. Pardeshi  Dipti Head of IOM UK and a plethora of Sierra leonean dignitaries and representatives of several diaspora organizations in the UK.

During the meeting, discussions were anchored on the strategy to harness the skills of Sierra leoneans in the UK; thereby ensuring that they fully participate in the new Japanese funded MIDA project.

In his brief remarks, The Director of Diaspora Engagement Affairs Dr Kallay Musa Conteh informed the gathering of Sierra Leone Government’s determination to use its Diaspora resources for national development. He also appeal to the diasporans to avail themselves for the various vacancies that have been identified for their participation in the new project.

The Head of Mission for IOM in Sierra Leone, Alhaji Sanusi Savage explained the effective and productive collaboration IOM and ODA have enjoyed over the years. He noted that the pilot phase of the diaspora health care project in Koinadugu District is folding up with success stories due to the effective participation of Sierra Leone Diaspora medical experts. He informed attendees about the $500,000 funding from the Japanese Government to the Government and People of Sierra Leone through IOM for the implementation of the new diaspora project.

 

 

8 DIASPORA HEALTH PROFESSIONALS JET IN

By Alfred Fornah

The Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) Dr Kallay Musa Conteh has on Thursday 11th January 2018 received in audience a team of eight diaspora health care professionals led by the IOM Project Manager for the Diaspora health care project.

The Diaspora Medical Practitioners recently arrived in country to participate in the ongoing Diaspora Health Care Project dubbed as “Migration and Development in Africa (MIDA)”. The Project is funded by the Japanese Government and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) and Ministry of Health in Koinadugu District.

According to the Project Manager Akao Kunikazu the Medical practitioners are from UK, USA and Germany and they have been assigned to provide free health care services at Kabala Government Hospital and other health care centres in koinadugu District.

In his Welcome statement, the Director of ODA, Dr Kallay Musa Conteh said ODA was established in 2008 to harness diaspora resources towards national development. He noted that a lot of countries in Africa have established diaspora offices for the purpose of reversing brain drain and also for private sector development. Whilst explaining the contribution of the diaspora to the country, he emphasized that the health care workers are in country to fill critical gaps in the health sector.

He recalled that in 2017 ODA together with IOM and the Ministry of Health recruited some diaspora health care workers for the same project, and these workers he added provided exceptional free health care services to the people of koinadugu. “We are also expecting you to perform your assignment accordingly” he said.  According to him some areas in Koinadugu District have challenges with regards access to healthcare services, and it was based on that the District was selected to implement the project.

Elizabeth Conteh, a health care worker from the United Kingdom said even though they had some disappointments before, but she is impressed by the current work of ODA and IOM.

She said they are happy and willing to come and serve their country despite the stipends that would be provided to them.

Also, Habib Sesay, another diaspora health professional from UK expressed commitment to deliver his best to the project. “Over the years I have been planning to comeback home and give back to my country, and also I had the urge to come and provide healthcare services to the psychiatric Hospital’’  he stated.