His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has held a productive bilateral meeting with the President of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, on the margins of the 76th UN General Assembly in New York.

He first commended President Nguyen Xuan Phuc for his leadership in moving Vietnam forward, adding that the Southeast Asian country had made enormous strides in many areas. President Bio stated that Sierra Leone could learn a lot from Vietnam not just in the area of agriculture but also in other areas of interest to both countries.

On his part, the President of Vietnam praised President Julius Maada Bio for maintaining political and social stability in the resource-rich West African nation and thanked him for his kind words on Vietnam’s development.

The Vietnamese President formally invited President Bio to visit his country and expressed a desire for the two countries to establish diplomatic relations.

“I am confident that under your leadership the cooperation will grow stronger and stronger. I am looking forward to welcoming you to Vietnam,” President Phuc stated.

Responding to the invite, President Bio said: “I accept the invitation very kindly, and I am delighted for the series of proposals to establish cooperation between our two countries. Both Presidents agreed on exploring trade and investment opportunities.

During the last 18 years, the exports of Vietnam to Sierra Leone have increased at an annualised rate of 14.6%, from $854,000 in 2000 to $9.9 million in 2018, and had shipped an estimated $348 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2020. Located in a strategic position for foreign companies with operations throughout Southeast Asia, Vietnam is an ideal export hub for countries like Sierra Leone to reach other ASEAN markets.