President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, Chinese Ambassador Wang Qing, and the country’s foreign minister Prof. David Francis cut the ribbon to officially inaugurate the Foreign Service Academy in Freetown, the nation’s capital.

The first Foreign Service Academy in Sierra Leone and the nations of the Mano River Union was created by the China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG) Company with funding provided by China Aid. President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Julius Maada Bio, gave the building, the 19th Foreign Service Academy in Africa, its official commissioning on January 5, 2023 in Freetown.

The Foreign Service Academy was established to act as the professional training and educational institution of the Sierra Leone Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, address the capacity gap in the Foreign Service, and promote research, educational excellence, career development, and service to the nation. It is anticipated that full operations will begin on February 1, 2023.

Du Xinguo, Deputy General Manager and Country Director of China Railway Seventh Group, stated that his organization is incredibly grateful to give over the Academy after two years of hard work in response to a top-notch design created by Chinese experts. He congratulated the Sierra Leonean government, the Chinese embassy, and everyone who had contributed to the initiatives.

“We have collaborated with local workers to complete the project on time, and our teamwork has demonstrated that CRSG is a trustworthy partner,” He stated.

The Lungi-Port Loko Road, the Mange-Mambolo Road, the Grafton-Regent Youyi Road, the Wilkinson Road, the Bo-Kenema Highway, the Makeni-Matotoka Road, the Wellington-Masiaka Highway, the Juba and Savage Street bridges are only a few of the company’s completed projects, according to him.

As a result of genuine friendship, CRSG has expanded its presence in Sierra Leone, and the organization is dedicated to cooperating with both the Chinese and Sierra Leonean governments to further the two countries’ relations.

The brand-new, cutting-edge Foreign Service Academy Building is a Christmas and New Year gift from the Chinese government and people to the Sierra Leonean government and people, according to Wang Qing, the Chinese ambassador to Sierra Leone. Wang Qing also said that building capacity is crucial to building a nation. The academy, Wang stated, “would become Sierra Leone’s ‘Cradle of Diplomats’ where more career diplomats from this nation and even the sub-region will be grown and cultivated.”

“While the New Direction Agenda is helping Sierra Leone advance, China’s new path will open up additional possibilities for our bilateral relations, including market access and investment. Standing at this new beginning point, we can be confident that relations between China and Sierra Leone will have a brighter and more hopeful future under the strategic direction of Presidents Xi Jinping and Julius Maada Bio. He continued by expressing gratitude to all other Chinese, Sierra Leoneans, and members of the China Railway Seventh Group for their active support and contributions. “You overcame many obstacles, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate your hard work, and so do my colleagues at the Embassy,” stated Ambassador Wang.

The new Academy, according to Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor David Francis, indicates that his nation should be investing more heavily in diplomacy right now. He expressed gratitude to the CRSG for finishing the work in a timely manner and expressed his admiration for the caliber of the work produced.

According to Prof. Francis, the new Academy will function as a center of excellence that will offer top-notch, qualified training to all Foreign Service cadres. Additionally, it would offer local and international short courses to their African countrymen, he continued. The Foreign Minister described it as “a majestic, magnificent Academy that will be put to good use” and noted that it is a primary delivery priority that will offer top-notch programs and activities. He continued, “The Academy will employ global best practices.”

President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio welcomed the new Foreign Service Academy as evidence of the two countries’ strong collaboration and shared goals. He praised President Xi for helping to advance the socioeconomic situation in Sierra Leone. “Good development cooperation in important sectors including agriculture, education, infrastructure, and health has enhanced our connections with China.” According to Bio, one of the successes in his government’s effort to promote human capital is the new Academy.

“It will help solidify our efforts in building Sierra Leone’s good image across the world and it will train people to become professional diplomats. It will enable diplomats to represent us well and they must ensure that they are well-trained and competitive,” he noted