Sierra leone High Commission Daily News
SIERRA LEONE DIASPORA CONSULTATION NETWORKING FORUM IN LONDON
Sierra Leoneans living in the UK in collaboration with Africa Recruit of the Commonwealth Business Council organised a forum on 4th June 2005 at the Hilton London Docklands Riverside in London. The objectives of the Forum were to mobilize Sierra Leoneans in the process of rebuilding their country, inform the Diaspora and engage in their country’s redevelopment process.
The successful Forum had very active and dynamic participants from different backgrounds and was pragmatic, exiting and result oriented. Particular issues discussed included how Sierra Leoneans abroad could return home to utilise their skills, expertise and resources in public, private and non-profit ventures in their country through secondary or tertiary avenues, while they remain in the Diaspora.
Participants were briefed by the Deputy High Commissioner, James Allie and the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie about Human Resources Development and Capacity Building Programmes in Sierra Leone, the reconstruction, rebuilding and rehabilitation of schools all over the country, the Government’s aggressive education for all programme, the programme to open secondary schools in each chiefdom in the country as well as emphasis on technical and vocational training. Participants were further informed about Government’s newly established Senior Executive Service Scheme (SESS). The new service has been introduced to encourage qualified and very experienced Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad to make their services available and to contribute to our national development effort. Selected and specific assignments and vacant posts under the scheme will be advertised in due course. The scheme will offer very attractive conditions of service and salary packages in order to make it easier for our compatriots to relocate back home, without necessarily facing financial hardship. The salary packages will not be over generous but will be comfortable and attractive. Government hopes that this move will give our own experts a chance to serve their country in one way or the other. There was a briefing on the security situation and Government’s effort to revitalise the economy.
The Forum created a stimulating and interactive environment in which delegates and speakers tabled issues; discussed challenges and opportunities for engagement in Sierra Leone. They examined issues relating to national, regional and international policies and strategies for the promotion of investment and Diaspora involvement in Sierra Leone. They tried to develop our action plan and suggested the next steps ahead. It is evident that the challenges were enormous, hence their determination to show understanding and appreciation of the challenges and potential solutions. Many delegates attended the Forum and expressed a desire to return to their country which they regard as home. They were anxious and willing to contribute to the process of reconstruction and development in Sierra Leone, engage in capacity building efforts of the international community within the country and participate in the economic rebuilding of the country through partnership, joint ventures and investment.
The Forum was funded by DFID (The Department for International Development) Africa Recruit which assisted in organising the forum has been working on a programme and Africa plan of action to build robust and enduring capacity in Africa, using human resources and skills capacity. Africa Recruit has been in the forefront of mobilising skills and human resources capacity in and outside Africa over the last 3 years, in addition to facilitating the Africa Diaspora towards capacity building in Africa either through skills or investment in areas such as remittances. Africa Recruit acts as a platform for debate with the African Diaspora on how to add value to capacity building in Africa with main skills, labour and human resources. They have a global database of over 1500 African Diaspora organisations in the form of national, professional community and interest groups and a mailing list of over 150,000.
Over 2400 human resources practitioners within and outside Africa are associated with Africa Recruit, They have over 500 organisations and institutions with investment interest in Africa. They have an extensive database of 269 African Universities, 356 Universities based in Europe, North America and Asia and work with NEPAD, IOM, ILO, UNESO, UNDO and others. To assist them in the compilation and updating of the educational and professional skills. Experts are invited to provide the organisation with full details of their names, addresses or educational background and professional skills as well as competences. The database contains 43,000 registered users. They hold pre-return seminars and workshops that provide both returnees and African-based recruiters with pragmatic information and tips on how to be successful in the transition process. They match and pair employment and investment opportunities in Africa with appropriate prospectors in their databases.
They arrange networking events that bring educational institutions recruiters, entrepreneurs, job seekers business and political leaders together in a face-to-face setting. They disseminate pertinent information about opportunities in Africa and prospects in the Diaspora and about their success stories and best practices using their website (www.findajobinafrica.com) brochures and flyers.
LETTER TO ADE DARAMY ABOUT INFORMATION OF SIERRA LEONE ASSOCIATIONS IN THE U.K.
8th June 2005
Mr. Ade Daramy
Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora Group
C/O The Africa Recruit
18 Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5LU
INFORMATION ABOUT THE DIFFERENT ACTIVITIES OF SIERRA LEONE ASSOCIATIONS IN THE U.K.
Thank you for your efforts in bringing together such a large number of Sierra Leoneans and friends of our country last weekend to discuss about how they can make meaningful contributions to our National development. I was pleased that the attitude taken by all present was forward looking than wasting time on who had done what.
Trying to maintain the momentum, I am requesting you to prepare for me a list of Sierra Leoneans, who participated in the consultations as well as representatives of the different Associations and Organisations, who were associated with the planning of the meeting. I have decided to follow this route because of the difficulties we have faced in the past trying to prepare a database which we would use to identify our nationals in the U.K. and elsewhere. While we know that some of our compatriots are aware that there is a Sierra Leone High Commission Website and a bi-monthly bulletin which we send to Sierra Leoneans, whose addresses are known to us, we are conscious of the need and importance of obtaining more addresses of our countrymen and women, who would love to learn about developments in their country. Quite often, we have been faced with situations, where people have relied on rumours instead of ringing the High Commission to establish a fact or to enquire about Government Policies, development activities and opportunities back home. Some of our compatriots have without any prompting from anybody contacted us to find out about what they can do for their country. We have recently heard from a Sierra Leonean who is a retired Pharmacist, living in the U.K., who informed the Minister of Health in my office that he would be willing to assist in the Pharmaceutical field in Sierra Leone during his vacations in the country. I am sure that there are other Sierra Leoneans, who are prepared to assist in one way or the other but have not indicated their interest or wish formally. Preparation of a database is a first step to making this exercise easier. In that regard, I wish to reiterate that a number of Consultants who have contacts with donors and have skills, which we can utilise, are encouraged to get in touch with us.
We have an e-mail address and fax machine through which people can contact us.
They are Fax: 0207 734 3822, E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
You can encourage our compatriots to visit our website and other websites of Sierra Leone Government Departments and Ministries. We are here to provide service to our people and others who want to hear about our country. No one should hesitate to contact us for clarification in respect of Government Policies and issues relating to Sierra Leone. As I indicated at the meeting, we have an Information Attache who is tasked to provide that service. We want to know what the different Sierra Leone Associations are doing. News from them will be put on our Website promptly when received.
We count on your continued zeal to motivate others and commitment to see results in Sierra Leone. I am aware that many other Sierra Leoneans and friends of our country in the U.K., not forgetting DFID, were actively involved in the planning of the Consultations last Saturday to whom I say thanks a million. I hope that we would all join hands together in building upon the goodwill and determination to see our country move forward. Government is doing so much already, but we as individuals can do more, without necessarily allowing any bureaucracy to disrupt our energies and enthusiasm. Let others know through the High Commission’s Website what the different Organisations, Clubs, etc. are doing for Sierra Leone.
With kind regards.
James B. Allie
Acting High Commissioner
CC: Dr. T.A. Banjoko and A. F. Akinkugbe
The Africa Recruit
18 Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5LU