President Julius Maada Bio has apportioned blame on Russia’s war in Ukraine as the cause of the “suffering” and “hardship” in Sierra Leone. He made this revelation in his recent interview with AFP less than two months before the presidential elections.

Sierra Leone is currently ranked the second poorest country in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of $472. The country has also been hit hard by higher prices of food and basic goods. A protest over the rising cost of living in August 2022 left at least 27 civilians and six police officers dead.

Bio, who is seeking re-election for a five-years second term in office has promised to make food self-sufficiency his primary focus if re-elected. Undoubtedly, much work needs to be done if this will be realized, with about 81 percent of homes in Sierra Leone being unable to meet their ‘basic food and nutrition needs.’

Speaking in an interview on Wednesday, Bio said the war had wreaked havoc in his country and other places while appealing for an immediate end.

“We are all suffering as a result of the war in Ukraine… For the sake of humanity, for what is happening, let’s end the war,” he said in Freetown.

He also mentioned that without crisis such as the pandemic and war in Ukraine, Sierra Leone would not be facing raging inflation, supply shortages and a sharp drop in its currency’s value against the dollar.

“We have a vested interest in seeing to it that war comes to an end as quickly as possible… especially as a country that has gone through war before — but also (because of) the impact on us,” Bio said.