Doha, June 22 (QNA) - HE President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Julius Maada Bio stressed the strength of the existing relations between his country and the State of Qatar over the past 40 years since its establishment, describing them as very close and friendly.
HE expressed his belief and conviction that the relations between Qatar and Sierra Leone are based on mutual trust and respect of each other's values and culture for the mutual benefit that these strong ties will achieve based on a very strong base of common values and a future that both Doha and Freetown can be proud of.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA) on the sidelines of the Qatar Economic Forum 2022, Powered by Bloomberg, HE said that one of the objectives of his current visit to the State of Qatar and his participation in this forum is to deepen and strengthen the relations, taking it to another level and expanding the scope of cooperation between the two countries.
HE expressed his country's desire to upgrade the existing relations between the two countries to more cooperation in the fields of trade and economy. There is much that can be achieved between the two countries by transferring the relationship to the next level, especially with regard to trade, investment, and areas that benefit both countries, HE stressed.
HE President of the Republic of Sierra Leone noted the renaissance and development witnessed by the State of Qatar in various fields and stressed that Doha succeeded in using its natural resources for its benefit. HE said that a lot has been changed in Qatar, as development is progressing at a tremendous rate, and he is impressed at the speed Qatar is moving in terms of development.
HE pointed out that Sierra Leone is also a country that enjoys a lot of natural resources, and by working with the State of Qatar, it can learn good lessons on how to use natural resources for the development of the country, and utilize its human resources, infrastructure, and economic development.
Agriculture And Development
HE President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Julius Maada Bio underlined that the relations between the two countries are built on important pillars, expressing his aspiration to strengthen them in the field of agriculture. Sierra Leone is fortunate to have more than 5 million hectares of arable land with abundant rains. So, the country needs other inputs to be a successful agricultural country using agriculture as a basis for the development and transformation of the economy, HE said.
The State of Qatar has a completely different geographical environment, and cooperation between the two countries will be beneficial in areas such as food security in which Sierra Leone can act as a producing country for some basic agricultural foodstuffs, HE added. HE noted Qatar's interest in mining and investing as Sierra Leone has many mineral resources, and from this point of view, he would like to see how Qatari companies can come and invest in this sector, as another area of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
HE called on Qatari businessmen to visit Sierra Leone, which enjoys the resources of industry, tourism, and hospitality, to invest in these sectors, especially since the government has created the appropriate climate for the public policy environment and the necessary incentives to make Sierra Leone a destination for foreign direct investment.
HE President of Sierra Leone also highly valued the efforts made by the State of Qatar in resolving disputes and said that they deserve praise and appreciation. Qatar's meditation positively impacted various conflict issues and was able to reach negotiated settlements, HE said, pointing out that in a world where peace is threatened, countries that can bring the parties together and urge them to talk instead of going to war are needed. So, Sierra Leone is pleased with Qatar's role in helping the parties resolve their differences peacefully, HE added.
His Excellency said that the State of Qatar has made itself a regional power for peace, mediation, and the peaceful settlement of disputes, and has even gone further to gradually become a global power in a very good way, using peaceful means to settle very bitter conflicts all over the world, stressing that the Republic of Sierra Leone supports the State of Qatar in this regard because it is commendable.
In his interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), HE President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Julius Maada Bio hailed the State of Qatar's growing interest in developing and strengthening its relations with the countries of the African continent, and supporting and assisting poor, developing and needy countries, adding that his country has certainly received support from Qatar in this regard.
HE President of Sierra Leone pointed out that he had visited Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) during his stay in Doha, noting the ongoing activity between the two countries for the benefit of 45,000 children out of school, by figuring out a way to help them return to school and be part of the education system.
He stressed that Qatar and Sierra Leone are among the countries that fight and combat terrorism, at a time when the whole world is grappling with security challenges of a different nature, affirming the importance of working together, specifically in the framework of exchanging information and intelligence on issues related to terrorism.
He added that with regard to training, cyberspace has become a space for planning and implementation, and that these matters are well-performed by the State of Qatar, expressing his country's aspiration to share experiences with Qatar in this regard.
He also expressed his aspiration for a peaceful world, as development cannot be achieved through conflicts and wars, highlighting Sierra Leone's aspiration to share Qatar's experiences in this regard.
HE President of Sierra Leone commended the successes and advanced positions that the State of Qatar achieved on many global competitive indicators, whether in the field of combating corruption or food security, in addition to the Global Peace Index, through which it recently ranked first at the regional level (Middle East and North Africa region), and ranked 23rd at the global level out of 163 countries, describing the State of Qatar as a very safe, developed and highly advanced country.
He also hailed the State of Qatar's role in establishing and maintaining peace in all countries, and its attempts to mediate between the conflicting countries, in addition to its remarkable preparations and equipment to host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, expressing his confidence that, thanks to its efforts, Qatar will host a successful and distinguished tournament, especially since it is the first time for the region to host such an important global sporting event.
Football is a source of great passion for most Africans, and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament will certainly be anticipated by the world from different countries, as many people will visit Qatar to watch the tournament closely, he added, noting that it is a great opportunity for Qatar to be the first country to host such tournament in the region.
HE President of Sierra Leone expressed his belief that Qatar is fully prepared to host this major global event, whether in terms of infrastructure, security, health, transportation, or other aspects, and his country's admiration and best wishes for Qatar to host this tournament.
He noted that the presence of direct flights between the capitals of the two countries, Doha and Freetown, will allow fans and those who wish to attend the tournament in Sierra Leone to come to Qatar, and that Sierra Leone's National Football Association will make the necessary arrangements for that.
Qatar's hosting of the World Cup is a great achievement, His Excellency said, noting his presence in Qatar four years ago, during which he has seen the level of development in the country. He added that upon revisiting the country and visiting Lusail Stadium, he was highly impressed with the country's improved level of development, expressing his admiration for the efforts and work made by Qatar in this regard.
HE President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Julius Maada Bio reviewed the situation in his country in terms of economy and food security. HE said that things are difficult economically, as in many other countries, due to the high inflation post-COVID-19 and international crises such as what is happening in Ukraine affected the country.
In his interview with QNA, HE explained that with regard to grain, Sierra Leone is still facing problems with supply chains. These issues are exacerbated by the current situation, as prices of basic commodities have risen very high.
HE added that his country acted accordingly when faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, placing various measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. However, the recent increases in fuel and food prices are affecting the prices of everything else in Sierra Leone, as is the case globally, where inflation is very high, he said.
HE President of the Republic of Sierra Leone touched on the reforms undertaken by his government in Sierra Leone and said that one of the reforms is to change the entire general landscape in the field of education to achieve free access to education for every child in Sierra Leone. Every child can now go to school at the government's expense, HE said, noting that the government previously had many problems in poor rural areas and those who had physical challenges were not able to learn, as well as other cases for which it is difficult to obtain an education but HE emphasized that all of them can now access education.
In regards to the economy, HE said that the government has undertaken major reforms, especially in terms of strengthening financing and raising sufficient funds and internal revenues.
The reforms undertaken have helped the country to improve the quality of education and are on a good path to fighting corruption, HE said, stressing that Sierra Leone has not only stood in support of the Anti-Corruption Commission but also given it greater powers to be able to eradicate this scourge. In Africa, Sierra Leone is at forefront of peace and that puts the country in a very favorable position to make all possible efforts to bring peace to other countries, HE added. (QNA)