Sierra Leone: Vice President Launches National Early Warning and Response Mechanism Coordinating Center 

Vice President Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has launched the National Early Warning and Response Mechanism Coordinating Center, an initiative intended to be a community instrument for solidarity, essential for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts besetting West Africa.

He assured the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, of the country’s ability to handle the center, especially for its intended purposes, adding that the infrastructure already was equipped enough to be able to help it work efficiently.

The 15-member regional group, in January 2020, announced the move for the establishment of a national centre for the coordination of early warning and response center in Sierra Leone as a proactive measure to address regional challenges in responding to such problems as climate change, security and health issues.

Addressing the meeting, the President of the Commission of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said they had decided to establish the center in all member states and that he was pleased to be in the country for the same launch.

He went on to reiterate that the center was to manage crisis, manage information prior to crisis and to prevent crisis from happening. He noted that the establishment of the center would help the country to have stability in terms of peace and security.

He also disclosed that the ECOWAS Commission had taken up the responsibility to fund the center for the first year of its establishment.

Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr Francis Kai Kai, and in charge of the center, said he was pleased that Sierra Leone had joined other member states in the coordination and management of health and security crises.

“I want to commend the astute leadership of President Julius Maada Bio for giving his full support in ensuring the center is established,” he noted, adding that he was also appreciative of all key stakeholders and donor partners for their tremendous support to the process.

Head of European Union delegation in Sierra Leone, Ambassador European, Manuel Mueller, said the establishment of the center was laudable and would contribute to promoting the development of the country.

ECOWAS Parliament reps pay Courtesy Call on Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio

The First Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Honourable Ahmed Idris Wase, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, said that they were honoured by the gesture of the President to host the 2021 Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Freetown.

He added that their visit was also in appreciation of his leadership in the ECOWAS region, noting that the humility they saw in the first family of Sierra Leone was very impressive.

“Your Excellency sir, the progress made at the ECOWAS Parliament under the leadership of Rt. Honourable Mohamed Sidi Tunis is reflective of the development we have seen in Sierra Leone. He is a leader of excellence and a team player,” he noted. 

In his brief statement to the visiting ECOWAS lawmakers, President Bio welcomed the delegation to Freetown, noting that the country and its people were very beautiful and hospitable.

“The unity in ECOWAS is a demonstration or manifestation of our intention to work together for the benefit of our region. We have gone through so many challenges. The ECOWAS Parliament is also an intentional structure meant to consolidate our integration. The more we are together, the more we understand one another and feel the pains and needs of others the better it will be for all of us,” he noted. 

President Julius Maada Bio said humility was the hallmark of great leaders, adding that people in the sub-region were the same and that quite a lot needed to be done to gain economic freedom for member states of ECOWAS. 

“Although we celebrate independence, but we are still not independent. We need to do quite a lot on the continent in the true spirit of African brotherhood to be able to have the independence we need and to realise the many things that we have. That is why we need to come together, share knowledge and compare notes to gain economic freedom,” President Bio asserted.

Sierra Leone, Guinea Sign Communique, Commit to Mutual Security, Public Health and Socio-Economic Interests

President Julius Maada Bio has concluded his 2-day working visit to Conakry where the two countries committed to reopening on Thursday 18 Feb the land border that was closed since early last year due to COVID-19.

The communique states that: “Based on mutual reassurances and enhanced mutual confidence…the President of the Republic of Guinea Professor Alpha Conde has reviewed the security situation in his country and has agreed to reopen its borders with the Republic of Sierra Leone effective from Thursday 18 February 2021 at 8:00 hours GMT”.

“The two leaders also agreed to reactivate the Joint Technical Committee on Yenga, which shall commence sittings in Nongowa, on 3 March 2021. They also agreed to implement the agreement to Joint Border Patrols along the common border areas from 5 March 2021,” the document reads, adding that the two foreign ministers would immediately restart the holding of the Joint Commission of Cooperation meetings between the two countries.

The communique also contains a raft of bilateral agreements to cooperate with each other on security, defence, public health, ICT, mining, justice, transport, private investments, and cultural exchanges. The Heads of State further pledged to use their good offices to provide the necessary capacity to address the current and emerging public health emergency such
as COVID-19 and EBOLA in the two countries.

“The two Heads of State expressed their satisfaction with the strategies by the two countries in the COVID-19 pandemic and reaffirmed their determination to coordinate their efforts in obtaining vaccines for their respective populations,” the document reads.

At the sub regional level, President Bio and President Conde welcomed the latest decisions for the return of Mali to constitutional order, in accordance with the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and reiterated their continental commitment to always defend the African interest.

“They also welcomed the decision of the African Union Heads of State and Government for launching the first operational stage of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement…and commended the implementation of the 2063 agenda and other reforms initiated at the African Union,” the communique adds.

President Bio, whose government delegation also included deputy leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress in Parliament, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo and former APC Minister of Public Affairs, Information and later Mines, Alhaji Alpha Sahid Bakar Kanu, will return today Tuesday 16 February 2021

President Bio calls for urgent action to address Guinea Bissau’s deteriorating political situation

President Dr Julius Maada Bio has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to take urgent action on the deteriorating political situation in Guinea Bissau and prevent any instability in the region.

He made this call at the Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government convened in Niamey by the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government and President of the Republic of Niger, His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou.

Addressing his colleagues, President Bio observed: “Everything we have stood for and all the democratic gains we have made in this region are being tested”. He called for strong condemnation from ECOWAS of the political situation in Guinea Bissau, adding that: “We must be
ready to change the mandate and strength of ECOMIB. Let us translate our words into action. Now is the time to act”.

The actions of President Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau, including the dismissal of Prime Minister Gomes and the dissolution of the government, received unanimous condemnation by all Heads of State and Government because they were deemed illegal and contrary to the decision of the
Authority during its 55th Ordinary Session.

The Heads of State and Government expressed their deepest regrets at the turn of events, which had plunged the country into crisis and brought on
the threat of civil war.

After hours of closed-door deliberations, the Authority of Heads of State and Government issued a final communique which contains the following: “that the date of 24th November 2019 for the first round of Presidential elections in Guinea Bissau must be complied with; that the Authority condemns President Vaz’s decision to dismiss Prime Minister Gomes and the appointment of a New Prime Minister; that the Authority reaffirms its full support to Prime Minister Gomes and demands the immediate resignation of the newly appointed Prime Minister;

“The Authority directs the President of the Commission to present a list of any individuals who may have undertaken actions to derail the electoral process and upset political stability for immediate sanction; that the Authority decides to strengthen the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea
Bissau (ECOMIB) to position it to respond to all challenges before, during and after the elections and that the Authority decides to dispatch to Bissau a high-level mission of Heads of State and Government led by the Chair of the Authority and the mission will be preceded by a mission of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff.”

After the reading of the final communique, President Bio was selected by the Chair of the Authority to move the vote of thanks on behalf of the Heads of State and Government.

The President will depart Niamey on Saturday 9 November for Paris, where he will participate in the Paris Peace Forum, the annual international meeting for all actors of global governance initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron.

AfDB and ECOWAS sign agreement for study on Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway

The African Development Bank ( and the Economic Community Of West African States Commission (ECOWAS) have signed an agreement for a study into a 1,000 kilometre highway linking Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital Abidjan, to Lagos in Nigeria, marking a new step in building regional integration and trade.

The proposed Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway, a six-lane (3-lane dual) motorway, will connect the countries via Ghana (Accra), Togo (Lomé) and Benin (Cotonou).The agreement signed Monday for a study on the technical, implementation and operational aspects of the project, comes nearly five years after the presidents of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, signed a treaty on the establishment of the highway in March 2014.

Jean Claude Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission Finda Koroma, the Nigerian Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and Chairman of the Ministerial Steering Committee for the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Program, Babatunde Raji Fashola, attended the ceremony, which took place in Abuja, Nigeria. European Union (EU) Head of Co-operation in Abuja Kurt Cornelis, together with other relevant stakeholders, were also present at the event.

The Bank has approved a financing package of US$12.6 million to finance part of the study for project and mobilized a Euro 9.1 million grant from the EU Commission, bringing the total financing for this important study, to US$22.7 million.

By linking some of Africa’s largest and economically dynamic cities, the road will promote cross-border trade and integrate fast-growing economies within the ECOWAS. This is expected to contribute to reducing the poverty levels of the population that depends on inter regional trade for livelihood.

Ebrima Faal, Senior Director of the Bank’s Nigeria office noted that “the Bank remains fully committed to the 2020 ECOWAS Vision. “We will work closely with the public and private sectors to unlock new sources of growth for Africa, while reducing inequality between countries and within countries. Together, we can unlock the enormous potentials of the West African region and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals for the region,” Faal said.

Sierra Leone President to urge ECOWAS to follow through on commitments to fighting corruption

Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio will urge a closed meeting to address corruption, defence and democratisation in the region during
the fifty-fourth Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State opened in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

The President will also call on the authority, which comprises a selected number of former and sitting presidents, to make public the full outcomes of the forensic audit of its finances. He has always emphasised that ECOWAS must lay bare the full extent of systemic corruption and put in place systemic, cultural, and personnel changes needed to restore probity and transparency in the economic union.  

The President will also engage the day-long meeting, which brought together President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and the UN Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, H.E. Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, to fast-track the effective and coordinated implementation of the defence and security sector reform programme, especially regarding support to the ECOWAS mission to restore democracy in The Gambia.

He believes that the commitment to contributing troops to the ECOWAS regional defence and security effort is very important and welcomes the decision of the sub regional group to escalate funding of the construction of the Lungi logistics depot in Sierra Leone.

President Bio will emphasise the need for democratic good governance in the region, the establishment and respect for governance institutions and instruments that ensure presidential term limits and the promotion of peaceful and credible elections processes.

Earlier in the opening session, the host, His Excellency President Mohammadu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and current chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State, said he had promised a peaceful, credible and fair general elections which are due on 16 February 2019. 

ECOWAS is the Economic Community of West African States, a union of fifteen countries established on 28 May 1975 with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos. It mission is to promote economic integration across the region.

UN, African Union voice concern over protracted political crisis in Guinea-Bissau

The top leaders of the African Union and the United Nations on Saturday expressed concern over the prolonged political crisis in Guinea-Bissau, condemning the recent actions taken by the national authorities to prevent a political party from holding its conference.


Secretary-General António Guterres (at podium, right) and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, address the press following the signing of a Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhancing Partnerships on Peace and Security in 2017 (File). UN Photo/Manuel Elias

“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, express concern over the protracted political crisis in Guinea-Bissau despite the multiple opportunities offered to the main political stakeholders to arrive at a consensual arrangement,” said an AU-UN joint statement.

“They condemn the recent actions taken by the national authorities to prevent the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cabo Verde (PAIGC) from convening and holding its Party Congress, including the directive given to national security services to evacuate and shutter the party’s headquarters,” it added.

Mr. Faki Mahamat and Mr. Guterres called on all relevant authorities to strictly adhere to international human rights and humanitarian law and to immediately remove all restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly, political participation and freedom of speech.

They fully endorsed the recent decisions on Guinea-Bissau taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on 27 January and endorsed by the AU on 29 January.

They also supported the measures being taken by ECOWAS against “political obstructionists” in the country, welcoming the communiqué issued by the ECOWAS ministerial mission that visited Guinea-Bissau on 31 January and 1 February.

Further, they reiterated their endorsement of the centrality of the Conakry Agreement of 14 October 2016, which, inter alia, provides for the appointment of a consensual Prime Minister, and called on the main political stakeholders to faithfully and urgently implement this Agreement, as well as the ECOWAS Roadmap to which they have all signed up to.

Mr. Faki Mahamat and Mr. Guterres reaffirmed their commitment to continue to closely follow all political developments and to support ECOWAS in its efforts to ensure a swift resolution of the protracted crisis in Guinea-Bissau, and stand ready to employ additional measures, should the situation warrant it.

According to the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by chronic political instability since gaining independence in 1974.

The DPA provides support and oversight to the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office for Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), a special political mission first established in 1999 following a two-year civil war in the country. Since mid-2016, the Mission is headed by the Secretary-General’s Representative, Modibo I. Touré.

The main priorities of UNIOGBIS are to support efforts to consolidate constitutional order, further political dialogue and national reconciliation, encourage security sector reform, and promote respect for human rights and the rule of law.

The mission has provided assistance in several national elections, including during the legislative and presidential elections in April and May 2014, and has again been mandated by the Security Council to work closely with national authorities as well as the United Nations country team in support of the timely conduct of legislative and presidential elections in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Published courtesy of the United Nations