The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Kaifala Marah has presented the All Walks Of Life (AWOL) prestigious award of ‘Best Ministry of the Year 2017’ to the outgone Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara at a press conference held at the Ministry’s conference Hall, Tower Hill, Freetown.
In his brief statement before officially handing over the award to the outgone Minister, Dr. Marah gave a brief overview of the introduction of performance contracts in 2014 by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma that set in motion the process of enhancing and operational mandates in various MDAs. It is against this background that the Ministry was among the five best performing Ministries based on the outcome of the Ministry’s Performance Contract Assessment Report for 2016/17 (Performance Tracking Table – PTT) in the country. Dr. Kaifala Marah lauded the relentless efforts of Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, during whose tenure the Ministry developed and articulated, for the first time ever, a comprehensive strategy to guide and re-invigorate the national approach to foreign policy and international cooperation in a rapidly changing global environment. ‘The selection of the Ministry for the National Achievements Awards 2017 as the ‘Best Ministry’ clearly manifests the dynamic and professional leadership demonstrated by Dr. Samaura M.W. Kamara, Dr. Marah added. ‘I therefore have the honour to officially dedicate the AWOL 2017 Best Ministry trophy to you in recognition of your strong leadership’, Dr. Marah concluded.
In his acceptance statement upon receipt of the ‘Best Ministry Award 2017’, the outgone Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and now the APC Presidential candidate, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara stated that he was incredibly honoured to accept the award on behalf of the hard-working and dedicated men and women of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. ‘I am extremely grateful for this extraordinary recognition’, he added.
Dr. Samura Kamara maintained that during his tenure, he endeavoured to introduce reforms in the Ministry through the establishment of Embassies and Consulates abroad in strategic geographical locations to promote Sierra Leone’s interest which subsequently makes our country a force to reckon with in the international community.
The approach to achieve the Ministry’s mandate, he reiterated, was the introduction of the Sierra Leone Foreign Service Transformation Strategy 2014-2018 (SLFSTS). This strategy shifted our focus on the traditional diplomatic practice and also scaled up economic diplomacy, which puts poverty and human development at the heart of the Government of Sierra Leone’s agenda for international cooperation and engagement.
‘‘Although within my tenure the Ministry encountered several shortcomings, however, with the support of the professional staff of the Ministry we were able to overcome these challenges’’, he added. Dr. Samura Kamara furthered that the human resource base of the Ministry has increased not only in numbers but with specialized personnel who can deal with the exigencies of diplomacy through the use of modern technological facilities.
He called on the staff of the Ministry at headquarters and abroad to continue to work together, to nurture and support each other.
Concluding, Dr. Samura Kamara implored his successor, Dr. Kaifala Marah and staff to build on these achievements; be innovative in managing Sierra Leone’s external relations, actively seek new ideas, and open up new prospects for Sierra Leone’s Diplomatic and International Cooperation. He dedicated the award to the Senior Management and Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and their diplomatic partners.
The welcome statement was delivered by the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Khadijatu Basirr, and the vote of thanks was delivered by the Deputy Director General for Policy, Dr. Michael Kargbo.
Questions and answers by journalists present formed part of the ceremony.