Posts

CONDOLENCE MESSAGE FROM ODA FOR FREETOWN MUDSLIDE AND FLOOD VICTIMS

Freetown, 15 August- The Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA)is deeply saddened by the unprecedented devastation caused by the floods and mudslide on the 14th August 2017 in Freetown.

We wish to express our heartfelt condolences for the deceased and their families, as well as our sympathies for the victims. The scale of the disaster is hard to comprehend and the images that we have seen are terrifying.

Thanks to the Government, it’s development partners, Sierra Leone Police, Sierra Leone Armed Forces, youth groups and several other volunteers for their promptresponse. We are also calling our constituents in the diaspora to come in with their own support as they did during the time of the Ebola Virus.
May the departed souls rest in peace.
God bless Sierra Leone

Signed by:
Kallay Musa Conteh
Director ODA

Entrepreneurship Centers

CD4D PARTICIPANT TO SET UP CENTERS FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SIERRA LEONE
As the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) continue to roll out activities of the connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) Programme (CD4D), Abubakarr Bangura who is one of the CD4D participants has on the 26th July 2017 presented a concept paper in order to set up different centers for entrepreneurship incubators for tertiary institutions in Sierra Leone including the Institute of Advanced Management and Technology (IAMTECH) and Milton Margai College Of Education Science and Technology (MMCET).

The event which took place at IAMTECH brought together representatives from the Professional Managers Association from Holland better known as PUM- Netherlands Senior Experts, lecturers of entrepreneurship and ICT, ST Foundation and Office of Diaspora Affairs.

In his presentation, Abubakarr Bangura said the entrepreneurship centers will run incubator programmes for start ups, adding that establishing an incubator at tertiary institutions in Sierra Leone was one of the recommendations that was made in the first CD4D entrepreneurship education workshop that was organised for lecturers on the 26th of March 2017.

He said entrepreneurship incubator is a unique platform to practicalise the entrepreneurial mind-set of students. “It will provide a unique opportunity for students to benefit from the talent and resources located in their institution, particularly in development of products that require higher level of technology and sophistication. It will also provide new opportunities for employments, creating entrepreneurial talent and leadership’’ Mr Bangura explained.

He informed that a delegation of four lecturers from different colleges will visit Holland in October or November this year. The visit he added is a study tour that will allow participants to learn about setting up sustainable centre for entrepreneurship in educational institutions.

Speaking on behalf of the PUM Netherlands Senior Experts, Jan Jongbloed said their organization is a non-profit organization, which has been advising businesses in developing countries and emerging markets.  PUM he said links these businesses to Dutch professionals who voluntarily devote their considerable experience to creating a better world. Mr Jongbloed further expressed his commitment to work with  Abubakarr Bangura and other partners like ST Foundation to help set up these incubators in the country .

CD4D is a demand-driven project for addressing capacity-building needs in selected priority institutions in countries of origin. The project enables diaspora professionals to use their expertise, skills and network for the development of their country of origin. For Sierra Leone, the focus is on capacity building of institutions in the Health, Education and Agriculture sector. The programme is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Development and International Trade.

© Alfred Fornah

Communications Officer

ODA

ODA Receives Experts

DIASPORA AFFAIRS RECEIVES SIERRA LEONEAN EXPERTS FROM HOLLAND

By Alfred Fornah

The Director and other staff of the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), on Monday 13th February, 2017 hosted a delegation of three including two Sierra Leonean experts from Holland at their head office at 8 Wesley Street, Freetown.

The delegation was led by Mr. Mange Sesay, IOM’s Project Coordinator for the Connecting Diaspora for Development Project (CD4D). The diaspora experts are in country in order to participate in the ongoing CD4D Project. The two Professionals are Dr. Robert Chakanda, assigned to Fourah bay College to provide expertise on Geographic Information System (GIS), and Mr. Umaru Bah is assigned to take up task as an ICT Expert at the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET)

The CD4D programme which is operated by the International Organization for Migration Netherlands (IOM) is a continuation of the Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN) project; the programme links diaspora members with Dutch residency to institutions in their countries of origin. This will be done via physical and online assignments with organizations and institutions in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, and Somalia. The CD4D project aims to exchange knowledge, skills of migrants for the reconstruction and development of their country of origin. CD4D is demand driven, based on priorities and development strategies of the countries of origin of diaspora experts.

In Sierra Leone, three priority areas including Health, Agriculture and Education have been identified by IOM and the Office of Diaspora Affairs to be provided with capacity by Sierra Leonean professionals residing in the Netherlands.

According to Mr. Mange Sesay, the most important element of the programme is to see that experts come from Holland and provide supports to the identified institutions in the country.

“We deem it necessary to introduce the first two participants to ODA because its the main government institution that is coordinating diaspora activities in Sierra Leone, and one cannot do anything about diaspora without their inclusion; in fact they have been playing an important role in this entire CD4D project.”  Mr. Sesay said.

In his statement, the Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Kallay Musa Conteh explained ODA’s Mandate to the two CD4D participants and recounted progress made by the office over the years. He also informed them that his institution is carrying out a talent database survey of Sierra Leonean Diasporans. He went further to state that they have established desk offices in the various entry points of the country, adding that they have officials attached to these desk offices charge with the responsibility to collect data; seeking relevant information especially for those diasporans who have plans to come home, contribute their skills and resources to national development.  ‘’We requested for Sierra Leone to be included on the CD4D project through a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sierra Leone to the Dutch Foreign Ministry. The programme is really recognized by government of Sierra Leone because when IOM CD4D Consultant, Zia Gulam came from Holland, he paid  a courtesy call on the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs and the Hon. Vice President, Victor Bocarie Foh.’’ Mr. Conteh explained. He advised the two participants to be patriotic and offer their best to the country.  He promised that they will ensure the programme is monitored.

 

Mr Umaru Bah assured that he will perform his assignment diligently; and will ensure to leave a legacy and transform ICT education at the MMCET. Also Dr. Robert Chakanda promised to give his best to FBC.

Diaspora Investments Mapping

OFFICE OF DIASPORA AFFAIRS CONCLUDES FIRST DIASPORA INVESTMENTS MAPPING

By Alfred Fornah

The Private Sector Unit of the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) has recently completed a two week diaspora investment mapping exercise.

The exercise was conducted in the Western area and some part of the North including Makeni and Mile Ninety One. This is the first ever diaspora investment mapping exercise that has been conducted in Sierra Leone.

The mapping exercise aimed at identifying and profiling diaspora businesses; also seeking to provide valuable insights into the nature and impacts of diaspora investment in country.

According to the Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Kallay Musa Conteh the diaspora business mapping is just among a number of programmes they are planning to roll out in 2017.

‘’The ODA has led it approach to harness the Sierra Leonean Diaspora community towards the development of the country. Our institution has been playing a key role in promoting friendly investment environment; thereby serving as a one stop shop resource center for the Diaspora Community. And the diaspora investment mapping we have conducted proved that the Sierra Leonean Diaspora Community is indeed playing an important role in contributing to the rapid development of the country through by creating Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and large scale investments.’’ ODA’s Director explained. He promised that the diaspora investment mapping exercise will be carried out also in other part of the country.

The Private Sector Manager of ODA, Mr. Joseph Lansana said that the idea of conducting a Diaspora Mapping exercise is to look at the strategic direction and challenges faced by diaspora businesses with a view of ODA building a business case for them and see how government can intervene. “As an institution, we believe that private sector goes a long way to complement the effort of government, it is consistent with the theme of the 2017 budget that is anchored around recovery and in line with the Agenda for Prosperity,’’ Mr. Lansana said. He furthered that, ODA want to quantify the impact created by diaspora businesses, so that they will motivate others sitting on the fence to do the same. He added that as an institution they believe the diaspora community has got a significant role to play, and part of their role is the stimulation of the much needed SMEs that will serve as the engine to the economic growth of the country, and also reduce the rate of unemployment.

Meanwhile, there is really an increase in diaspora led investment in Sierra Leone; ranging from small scale to bigger investments. Diasporans are investing in different sectors including health, road construction, medical, agriculture, education etc. There are number of outstanding diaspora investments that are creating jobs and contributing immensely to the development of the country. Some of these investments include: FINIC, GENTO Construction, Moving Roads Sierra Leone, Hill Valley, Garden State in Makeni, Bintex Inc, Canadian College at Mile Ninety One, Student Entrepreneurship Programme (SEP), SLCU Agric Business Institute,  Dorothy Springer Trust, Seeds For Growth Foundation, SierraArker among others.