From the Editor’s Keyboard

Remarkable Boost for Sierra Leone’s Image Under EBK

By  | 6 June 2013 at 01:10 | 1265 views

Any adult Sierra Leonean cannot deny the fact that our country’s image abroad has undergone a vast improvement since President Ernest Bai Koroma of the APC assumed power in 2007 after free and fair elections in September of that year.

One of the first things our President said when he started work was that he was going to run the country like a business. That shocked some people who had seen leader after leader running the country like their personal property while viewing critics as trespassers and violators who should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed or forced into exile while the people starved in their homes with no electricity.

What a lot of people, especially foreigners, do not know about President Koroma (probably because they do not have enough time to do research on the man before they go to Freetown) is that he comes from a deeply religious home and has vast experience in business (over 30 years).

Now, any experienced and genuine business person would tell you that you cannot run a business successfully without a business plan to guide and motivate you. That’s why many leaders have failed in Africa; they do not have a plan to follow or if they have one, they put it aside and do something else.

President Koroma had a business plan for his first term (2007-2012); he called it the Agenda for Change and he and his ministers, together with civil servants and foreign partners, religiously implemented that plan and anyone who returns to Sierra Leone today after a number of years abroad would tell you that indeed there has been vast changes in the country. Positive changes. Mission accomplished for the Agenda for Change.

Now the President has another business Plan, and that is the Agenda for Prosperity (2012-2017) which is essentially about creating an environment in which Sierra Leoneans would have access to jobs or create their own businesses without hindrance and with support from government so that a prosperous middle class can be created who would pay taxes to government which in turn will use that money to develop the country without having to ask foreigners for help. Right now, most of the serious tax payers in the country are foreign investors and a handful of successful Sierra Leonean entrepreneurs.

Recently, when the Rwandan government ran short of cash it asked its nationals in and out of the country for a loan and the money poured in, especially from diaspora Rwandans who are impressed with the work President Paul Kagame is doing in the country. A first in Africa. President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone is in many ways like Paul Kagame: Serious, well-organized and very patriotic.

A lot of foreign investors and politicians like Tony Blair have seen the above qualities in President Ernest Bai Koroma (fondly known as EBK or World’s Best); and they have decided to give a helping hand. Let’s face it, Africa still has a long way to go to catch up with the West. Asking for their help is not enough, you have to demonstrate to them that you are a serious and decent person. You need to have a business plan and a clean record; the very things a bank would ask for if you show up, asking for a personal loan. EBK has got that. Let’s clap for him.

On the other hand, former President Kabbah and former SLPP Presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio cannot even get a visa to visit the United States of America. Think about that.