Africa will be empowered when women are empowered, says Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Bio


First Lady Mrs Fatima Bio and President Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio

First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs Fatima Bio, has told young Africans that the continent will be empowered when women are empowered in Africa.

She made this statement during her valedictory speech at the United Nations Plaza where she was honoured as one of the most influential 100 people of African descent under the age of 40.

Mrs Fatima Bio received the prestigious “Hall of Fame Award” for her outstanding contribution in humanitarian work and was given the special honour to present the valedictory speech on behalf of all awardees for the class of 2018.

She continues to show passion not only through her excellent work as the First Lady of Sierra Leone, championing issues of women and children, but also through her powerful valedictory speech on that day, a demonstration of the fact that she was fast becoming one of the strongest voices advocating for the empowerment of African women.

During the award ceremony, a Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented posthumously to Kofi Atta Annan in recognition of his service to humanity at the United Nations and his contributions to Africa.

Speaking on the challenges of women in Africa, the First Lady said that women were the assets of Africa and they should not be silenced but must be empowered. She said that the continent would need to have men who can also support women to achieve their potentials.

Mrs. Bio also narrated her journey as a movie icon, through a campaigner for her husband to become President while she continued to support him as his wife and the First Lady of Sierra Leone.

“Even during our political campaigns, there were people who used to question why was I playing such a leading role. But because of my empowerment, I was focused and determined to support my husband to become our President,” the First Lady said, and also spoke about the contributions of Winnie Mandela toward the success of the late President Nelson Mandela of South Africa.

The eloquent First Lady also used her farewell speech to advise young Africans on the need to use their various platforms in the diaspora to positively impact the lives of other Africans.

“The greatest achievement is not the amount of awards you receive but the amount of lives of Africans you have changed,” she averred.

As someone who is also passionate about Sierra Leone, the gorgeous Mrs Bio used her speech to market the small beautiful West African nation to young African entrepreneurs and professionals from various fields. She told them that: “If you have heard anything negative, in the past, about Sierra Leone, I am here to confidently inform you that Sierra Leone is the most beautiful country in the world.” She also told them about the many investment potentials in Sierra Leone.

Her Excellency also used her good-bye speech to shower praises on her husband and spoke about how proud she had always felt about the impressive work of her husband as President. She spoke about her husband’s passion for education, which she said should be the priority of all African leaders as a way to empower women and children on the continent.

“I call on all other African leaders to emulate what my husband has done to introduce free education for children from pre-primary to secondary school,” Mrs Bio said.

His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, who was the special guest at the award ceremony, also received many commendations from speaker after speaker for gracing the award, which many said was a show his passion for young people and his commitment to a united and prosperous Africa.

Various other speakers at the award ceremony included the anthropologist Dr Sheila Walker; Director, New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Craig Mokhhiber and Coordinator UN Senior Africans Group and CEO African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, Dr Djibril Diallo.

The Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together, in the spirit of recognition, justice and development of Africa, its people on the continent and across its diaspora.

Sierra Leone: President Bio, UN Secretary General and Others Honour Kofi Atta Annan

Sierra Leone President, HE Julius Maada Bio, United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) and other Heads of State and Government have paid their last respects to Kofi Atta Annan, the first sub-Saharan African to serve as UNSG.


The state funeral which was held at the Accra International Conference Centre today saw the outpouring of emotions as the world remembers a man who dedicated his life to peace, gender equality, and solving the problems of the world. One of such problems that confronted the world during his tenure as UN Secretary General was the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone.

Expressing Sierra Leone’s gratitude as a country, President Julius Maada Bio reflected on Kofi Atta Annan’s personal commitment to ending the war in Sierra Leone through the formation of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone and the smooth implementation of the peace process.

In his tribute on behalf of the United Nations, the current UN Secretary General, António Guterres described him: “Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good. During the tumultuous era in which he led the United Nations, he combined compassion, commitment, and diplomatic skill to bring the Organisation closer to the world’s people, build the foundation of peace and give life to the values of the Charter.”

During the funeral service a heartfelt eulogy was also read by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in which he said about Kofi Atta Annan the UN Secretary General: “He brought considerable renown to our country by this position and by his conduct and comportment in the global arena. Indeed the outpouring of tributes from the world over is an accurate measure of the man, a man who gave his life to making peace where there was conflict, to defending the voiceless who were powerless, to promoting virtue where there was evil.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Various other solemn tributes were also given by family members including his widow, Nane Annan and children. For Ghanaians, the state funeral was like the celebration of the life of a compatriot who made Ghana and Africa very proud. A private burial ceremony was later observed at the new military ceremony.

Earlier, President Bio also had an informal chat with the current United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres both of whom sat side by side at the funeral ceremony. Other former Heads of State of Ghana like H.E John Kufuor and H.E Jerry John Rawlings also had great interaction with His Excellency President Bio. Many other Heads of State and Government and dignitaries around the world also attended the funeral to pay their last respects to a diplomat, peacekeeper and peacemaker, Kofi Atta Annan.

President Bio was accompanied to the funeral by the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Abass Bundu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nimatulai Bah-Chang, and Member of Parliament for Coalition for Change (Constituency 025), Hon Paul Saa Sam.