State House, Freetown, Tuesday 14 August 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has met with a high-level delegation from Canada, headed by the Canadian Minister for International Development, Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, who was visiting the country for the first time.
Honourable Bibeau, who was accompanied to State House by the Canadian Ambassador accredited to Sierra Leone, congratulated President Bio on his election and thanked the people of Sierra Leone for a peaceful transition.
She disclosed that over the years Canada had supported Sierra Leone, and commended President Bio for his resolve to provide quality education to every Sierra Leone as well as his commitment to improving other sectors of governance.
“It’s a pleasure to be here this week. I already visited some schools as I understand that education is a key priority to your administration. I am happy to be here to see for myself and I have seen a very good start, which is promising. We will support you in the best ways we can and see how the two countries can be much more closer friends,” she said.
President Bio, on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone, welcomed the delegation to the country, noting that the two countries had been together for a very long time. He said as a new government, they had placed education at the top of their priorities because of several obvious reasons some people take for granted. He noted that with all the investments, the country continued to be slow, adding that if the country were to surmount the challenges, there must be a sound education programme that would benefit every kid.
“We see you are quite anxious to help us in this part of the world where so many activities have been directed. However, without quality education and without a critical mass of people who are well educated, it is going to be extremely difficult to engage and sustain the process of development. Next month, we are starting a free education programme which we believe is necessary for the development of our kids. We know we can only surmount the challenges when we have an educated society. That’s only when we will be able to get a shared understanding of the challenges we face,” he said.
President Bio added that his government would provide a new era of hope for the people, noting that he was ready to engage development partners and friends to see what could be done for a new beginning for Sierra Leone. He assured that his government was going to provide the quality of leaderships necessary to encourage development partners while emphasising his administration’s seriousness about genuine and people-centred development. He concluded that that was the reason for the introduction of the free education so that every child would have a share of the benefits of nation building.