Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has on 4 March 2023 addressed the pre-summit luncheon of the Fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, LDCs, on the opportunities for member countries to engage and identify actions and partnerships at the highest possible level.

After acknowledging the sterling leadership of His Excellency Lazarus Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi, at a very difficult period for the world and in particular for low-income countries, he expressed optimism that the engagement from the 5th to the 9th March would be the best possible ways to implement the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA).

It is a comprehensive and ambitious agenda that will get us on track to achieving the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals], especially at a time when Africa and other countries in special situations face a myriad of interlocking challenges including food and energy insecurity, the climate crisis, and shrinking development finance. We believe that the effective implementation of the DPoA will bring about transformative changes in the lives of millions of people in the LDCs,” he noted.

He called on members of the global south to explore the possibilities of leveraging expertise and resources through South-South Cooperation for the timely implementation of the DPoA.

Sierra Leone remains committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda. It informs our national development agenda through the key accelerator Goals: SDG4 (Education) and SDG16 (Justice). Sierra Leone will continue to implement policies that ensure basic, accessible, and inclusive quality education for all children.

Sierra Leone will further continue to provide leadership for the g7+ Countries as we work on transitioning from fragility to inclusive sustainable development,” he assured.

President Bio also congratulated the incoming Chair of the LDC Group, the Government of Nepal, assured of his cooperation and support and used the occasion to thank His Highness Tamin Bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, the host, for being a strategic development partner.

Our world faces multiple vulnerabilities, including growing inequality and poverty, hunger, armed conflicts and terrorism, climate change, and pandemics. These vulnerabilities continue to impede the capacities and thus progress of LDCs toward the SDGs.

“As decision-makers, we should generate the political momentum needed to support the implementation of the six priority areas outlined in the DPoA and other development frameworks.

“As we engage in the days ahead, we must intensify the call on our development partners to bridge the financing divide, increase access to affordable long-term financing and investments, and also proffer alternatives for debt relief and borrowing terms. All this can be done with a view to enhancing recovery and achieving sustainable development,” he said.

President Bio further recalled that the target for the Istanbul Programme of Action, which was meant to graduate half of the LDCs by 2020, could not be achieved due to multifaceted global challenges that continued to adversely affect LDCs.

We should, therefore, be unrelenting in our drive to provide unprecedented leadership and political will, mobilise resources, strengthen our efforts, and collaborate closely at regional and inter-regional levels to strengthen global governance, make trade regimes fairer, boost productivity, and invest in infrastructure that foster economic growth. My delegation looks forward to engaging constructively on the foregoing and more in the coming days,” he concluded.

The Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to accelerate sustainable development in the places where international assistance is needed the most – and to tap the full potential of the Least Developed Countries helping them make progress on the road to prosperity.