Prof. David J. Francis
Sierra Leone’s foreign minister has informed the Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum that with massive investment in education, about 2.5 million children in the country were receiving free education. Prof. David J. Francis said that the government was focusing on “human capital development,” adding: “There are three pillars of human capital: education, health, and agriculture.
“Today, Sierra Leone spends 22% of our GDP purely on education. We are in the top five countries in the world that allocate more resources to education.” Francis further explained that Sierra Leone was no longer defined by the history of war, by the history of Ebola, and rather, it’s “a resilient, dynamic, enterprising, vibrant country.”
“Before the Ebola epidemic in 2014, Sierra Leone was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with an economic growth rate of 21%,” he said. However, “the progress to achieve that stage (of middle-income status)” was affected by the Ebola outbreak in 2014, according to Francis. The Sierra Leone Foreign Minister also noted that the country has managed the COVID-19 pandemic “very well.”
“The Ebola epidemic created social consciousness for the people to work with the government, and to comply with the social distancing and health hygiene protocols,” he said.
He continued by saying that Sierra Leone is now moving into the post-COVID period. “Our focus is on strengthening the health system because it is important…We will achieve middle-income status in the next 10 to 20 years. I have no doubt,” he added.
Francis also said the fact that Africa was not being represented in the UN Security Council is a “historical injustice.”
The three-day high-level event in the resort city of Antalya in Turkey brought together participants from 75 countries, including 17 heads of state, 80 government ministers, and 39 representatives of international organizations. Anadolu Agency is the forum’s global communications partner.
Francis said that the forum met the expectations by 100%, describing it as a “huge success.”
“The Antalya Diplomacy Forum is a forum for world leaders. You bring world leaders in the political, diplomatic, economic and academic sector to share ideas on how to develop innovative diplomacy to address the problems that we face – from climate change to conflict resolution, to war and peace, and development issues,” he said.
About the panel he attended on recording democracy, Francis said that “now is the time for all the regions of the world to support Africa.”
He called on all global actors to “lead the debate for the reform of the United Nations Security Council.”