Foreign Minister Engages New UNICEF Country Rep.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David Francis has welcomed the newly-appointed Country Representative for the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), Rudolf Schwenk in his office.

In his address, Professor Francis said the Government of His Excellency the President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, has always maintained an open-door policy for diplomats and development partners.

He commended UNICEF for an excellent working relationship with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School, the Ministry of Labor, and the Office of the First Lady in promoting girl-child issues.

“Focusing on children and women are key priorities of this government. We have legislated the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment law which seeks to give 30% elective positions to women, 30% appointment positions to women, and 30% private financial access to them.

He informed his guest that His Excellency the President Dr. Julius Maada Bio is focusing on three pillars of development: Education, Health, and Agriculture. “We have allocated 22% of our GDP towards education which has translated into two million plus pupils returning to school,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said.

He added: “As this government looks forward to working with you, I believe that with the continuous support from UN agencies like UNICEF, we can achieve a lot more.” He also called on the UNICEF Country Representative to explore the beauty of Sierra Leone by visiting places outside Freetown.

Professor Francis further called on Mr. Schwenk to serve as Sierra Leone’s Goodwill Ambassador as the country seeks to return to the non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (2024/25).

Presenting his Letter of Credence to the Minister, Mr. Schwenk said the work of UNICEF cannot be underestimated in any country as it cuts across most of the sectors including health, education, and children’s affairs. He promised to closely work with government agencies through collaboration on development areas.

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