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Showing posts from December, 2013

Sierra Leone | Improving Electricity Delivery for 6 million

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The National Power Authority has deployed a new cable test van that can detect faulty underground cables.

One of the goals of the German-made SebaKMT diagnosis technology is to avoid service interruptions primarily caused by damage to cables due to failure on joints, terminations and cable insulation.

Electricity reaches less than 10 percent of Sierra Leone's estimated population of 6 million. The country covers a total area of 71,740 km (27,699 sq mi).

The National Power Authority (NPA), which generates and distributes thermal energy,  has a maximum capacity of 85MW, but probably generates only a fraction of that. NPA was founded in 1982 and is based in Freetown, the nation's capital.

Edward Parkinson, one of the technicians who works with the new van for testing power cables, told Voice of America that technicians used to have to dig up entire streets trying to find broken cables.  "With this new equipment, it will reduce the down time and also it will help us locate f…

Christmas Cards designed by Children in Sierra Leone

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Social Security and Insurance | The Harmony of Investment with the Public Interest

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Seven years ago,  Sierra Leone's Social Security and Insurance Trust enjoyed a Le141 Billion surplus although scheme officials were still trying to sell membership to the workforce and employers. This week, Audit Service Sierra Leone, the agency in charge of the nation's purse, raised a red flag.

"The management of the national pension trust, NASSIT [National Social Security and Insurance Trust], is of concern to me and this is reflected by its inclusion in a separate chapter," wrote Auditor General Lara Taylor-Pearce in the annual report of the Accounts of Sierra Leone for year ended Dec. 31, 2012. "The findings on governance, control and asset valuation in that agency should be a major concern for parliamentarians and all citizens," Taylor-Pearce urged the nation in the report.

This puts NASSIT and its director general, Sam Bangura Jr., scion of the late Sam Bangura, governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone (1970-1979), on the spot. To mark the 10th anniversa…

State of Sierra Leone

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President Koroma gave a state of the nation address today at the Second Opening of Parliament. A one time member of parliament, Koroma rallied his 6 million countrymen as never before in his eighth appearance as president since he was elected in November 2007.

"I like Parliament," President Koroma said. "My first job as a politician was in this House--once a parliamentarian, always a parliamentarian. That is why, even as President, I have ensured that we continue to build the capacity of parliament more than any time in the country’s history.

"That is my pledge to you: to do more for this country than at any time in the nation’s history. To build roads, grow the economy, increase salaries of teachers, police, soldiers, health workers and lecturers; reform the public service; create programs targeted at the health of mothers, pregnant women and children; and to invest in education."

Acknowledging the challenges and criticism (such as this week's Auditor Ge…

Sierra Leone | Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie, a Parliamentarian for Global Action, Dies at 66

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Elizabeth Tygsona Alpha-Lavalie,  a professional banker turned politician, died in Freetown this morning. She had been in a coma for a month, according to unconfirmed sources. She was 66. A sitting Member of Parliament (MP) for sixteen years, she was recognized nationally and internationally as a formidable peace advocate and champion for good governance.

Hon. Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie was a long-serving Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) representative for Bo District and made history in 2001 as the first female to be elected to the post of Deputy Speaker.

Life

Elizabeth or Lizzy as she was fondly known was born on January 5th, 1947. Before entering politics in 1991, she worked for the Standard Chartered Bank (SL) from 1968 to 1971 and left to earn a banking degree in Britain. She returned home to Sierra Leone in 1975 and was re-employed by the Standard Chartered Bank (SL) having attained a banking diploma. She was an associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and part of the …

Sierra Leone | Ambassador-Designate Omrie Golley

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Earlier this month, Omrie Golley opened up after a long silence. In an interview with Beijing-based press attache John Baimba Sesay, Golley talked about his new appointment as Sierra Leone’s envoy to South Korea. He also spoke at length on how he plans to enhance cooperation between the two countries, his role in the conflict in Sierra Leone, and his life following release from Freetown's notorious Pademba Road Prison six years ago this week.

Golley had been held without trial for 22 months after being arrested on charges of 'destabilizing the state,' i.e. plotting to assassinate  the former President Kabbah.  When the government of Koroma took over after a resounding win at the polls, the Attorney General's office issued a null prosequi order and released Golley.

Golley is a very controversial figure, wrote John Dermody on the Transnational Law Blog. "He holds both Sierra Leonean and British citizenship and is a member of the bar in both places.  During the Sie…

"African solutions to African problems"

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Africa needs France just as much as France needs Africa to build sustainable economies based on inclusive growth, job creation and human development, President Ernest Bai Koroma said Friday in Paris.  The peace and security summit brought together over 40 African leaders.

French President François Hollande hosted the two-day Africa-France summit a day after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing French and African troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) to use force to protect civilians.

President Koroma also said that France has demonstrated over the past five years a willingness to engage as a global security actor. The contribution of troops to peacekeeping operations for the European Union (EU) mission in Chad and United Nations (UN) missions in Côte d'Ivoire as well as interventions in Mali and now in Central African Republic is an indication that France means well, he said.

Sierra Leone's president maintained that African countries have made progr…

Sierra Leone mourns passing of Nelson Mandela

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Sierra Leone joins South Africa and the world to mourn the passing of Mandela. Flags will flag at half mast across the west African nation for three days.

A press release from State House expressed deep sadness at the passing of former South African president Nelson Mandela on Thursday, December 5. An irreparable loss to his family, the nation of South Africa and the entire African continent, the release said.

"As a true nationalist, visionary leader, great pan Africanist and ambassador of peace, Nelson Mandela touched the lives of many. We will always remember him as a larger than life political figure, who through his tenacious struggle for equality and freedom has left an indelible mark in the history of mankind. The president, government and the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone extend heartfelt condolences to the president, government and people of South Africa, especially to the Mandela family for the loss of this great son of Africa."

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Sierra Leone's Top Protocol Officers

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This weekend, State House announced that Rasie Binta Kargbo is taking over as state chief of protocol, replacing Soulay Daramy, who has served both President Ernest Bai Koroma and former president Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah. The logical choice of Mrs. Kargbo culminates more than six months of speculation by State House.
Mrs. Kargbo is expected to continue the sterling work of Alhaj Daramy, who is widely regarded as one of the best protocol officers in Sierra Leonean diplomatic circles. He is knowledgeable in international affairs, possesses good communication skills and observes behavioral etiquette. Daramy is one of 10 presidential appointments announced this week. He has been nominated as high commissioner to The Gambia.

A career diplomat, Mrs. Kargbo served as head of chancery at the Sierra Leone High Commission in The Gambia for seven years before she was recalled in 2006 and posted to Washington D.C. as the head of chancery at the Sierra Leone Embassy in North America. In 2012, Parliame…