Sierra Leone’s President Dr Julius Maada Bio, the Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, Chief Innovation Officer and Minister of Basic Education, Dr Moinina David Sengeh have met with faculty and academic leaders from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to advance the cooperation between the two prestigious institutions and the Government of Sierra Leone.

Among the audience in the room were the Vice Provost of Harvard, Director of MIT-Africa and the Chair of the Centre for African Studies.

President Bio spoke to the faculty about the need to solidify the relationships and gains made since his last visit to Boston in March 2019. Over the past two years, Harvard has supported the government with the Partners In Health supported Koidu Government Hospital, and a new residency training programme for Global Mental Health was announced between Mass General Brigham Hospital and the Sierra Leone Psychiatric Teaching Hospital at Kissy.

Professor Zoe Marks at the Harvard Kennedy School observed that the labour and education data and records showed a closing gender gap over the last three years in Sierra Leone.

A representative from MIT’s Broad Institute observed that certain Covid-19 genomic diagnostics were happening in Kenema, Sierra Leone before many labs in Massachusetts, USA, were able to diagnose Covid-19.

President Bio assured the faculty of his government’s commitment to using technology to enhance development and to focus on human capital development.

At the end of the discussions, a commitment was made for a joint team of faculty and students from Harvard and MIT to visit Sierra Leone to deepen the existing and ongoing collaborations and research.