By Mustapha Wai, Washington D.C.
Making history, Sierra Leone's vice president, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh ended his economic diplomatic visit to Washington D.C., the seat of power in the United States last week with high hopes.
In just a week, V.P. Jalloh and his delegation met with several high level decision-making leaders in strategic offices in the U.S. Government including the following:
1. Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Hon. Sean Cairncross;
2. Administrator and Head of the U.S. Aid for International Development (USAID), Hon. Mark Green;
3. Under Secretary of State for African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Hon. Tibor Nagy;
4. Assistant Secretary for Global Markets, Hon. Ian Steff and the Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Hon. Curtis Joseph "C.J." Mahoney at the U.S. Department of Commerce; and
5. Six members of the United States Congress, including Chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Karen Bass and Congressman Michael McCaul, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Relations Committee.
Several other officials of the Sierra Leone Government, including Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa; Bank Governor, Dr. Kelfala Kallon; and Energy Minister, Alhaji Kanja Sesay accompanied V.P. Jalloh in these engagements. Sierra Leone's ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Sidique Wai, who is no stranger to Washington, played host and was busy opening doors for the delegation.
V.P. Jalloh brilliantly engaged the above officials in reassuring them of Sierra Leone Government's commitment to strengthening diplomatic and economic ties with the U.S. Government and investors respectively. Several issues bordering on the promotion of President Bio's economic diplomacy agenda were discussed, including the MCC compact and investment environment and opportunities for U.S. companies in Sierra Leone.
Ambassador Wai remarked that his team will continue to engage leaders in Washington in ways that will capitalize on the goodwill left behind by V.P. Jalloh's visit.
V.P. Jalloh and his delegation also met and engaged the Sierra Leone Diaspora community to a heroes welcome at a Town Hall meeting, where he enumerated the progress the Bio administration has made, while appealing to his compatriots to invest in their country. The Sierra Leone Diaspora played a “key role” in propelling the SLPP to power. I came here also to say “thank you”, he concluded. Representatives of ruling SLPP and opposition parties, as well as Diaspora community-based organizations were in attendance and many of them made remarks commending the efforts of President Bio and his administration, while urging all to put country first.