India and Sierra Leone on Sunday signed six agreements including a Line of Credit to the tune of USD 30 million for irrigation development in Tomabum to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production.
"India is committed to be being a reliable partner of #SierraLeone in its development journey. Today we have signed 6 MoUs/Agreements including a Line of Credit agreement for US $ 30 million for irrigation development in Tomabum for self-sufficiency in rice production," Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said in a tweet shortly after his delegation-level meeting with President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, at the State House in Freetown earlier today.
Naidu, who reached Freetown, on the second leg of his ongoing five-day visit to the West African countries, earlier today, was received by Dr Mohammed Juldeh Jallah, the Vice President of Sierra Leone, upon his arrival here. He was given a ceremonial welcome and was presented the Guard of Honour.
During an interaction with the media post his meeting at the State House, the Vice President said that he had an extensive discussion with President Bio on important aspects of "our bilateral relationship as well as global and regional issues of common interest."
"We expressed our commitment to further build on long-standing friendly ties between our two countries," Naidu said.
The two sides also agreed that the United Nations need to be reformed to reflect the realities of today and address current global challenges.
"We agreed that both sides need to continue pushing for these reforms so that one-third of mankind residing in Africa and India occupy their rightful place at the high table in decision making bodies of the United Nations," said the Vice President.
"Sierra Leone as Chairman of African Union Committee of ten nations on United Nations Reforms, including UNSC reforms, plays an important role," he added.
During his talks, the visiting dignitary also stressed on the pressing issue of terrorism and stressed that all nations must intensify their collective efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism and isolate those countries "which aid and abet terrorism".
He recalled that India had played an important role in achieving peace and stability in Sierra Leone and was among the first countries to contribute troops, an army contingent of 4000 to the UN Mission in the African country. India has also assisted Sierra Leone in the post-conflict peace-building phase.
New Delhi has extended concessional lines of credit to Sierra Leone worth USD 123 million in sectors such as agriculture, water, and transmission line. In addition, Sierra Leone has also availed lines of credit worth USD 49.45 million from ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) for projects in solar and telecom sector out of Lines of Credit extended by India to EBID, the MEA had said in a statement before Naidu's departure for the five-day visit.
Naidu's trip marks the first high-level visit from India to the two African countries.
India has also undertaken grant projects through IBSA funds and provided direct humanitarian assistance to Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis in 2014 and during floods in 2017. Sierra Leone is also a beneficiary of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. The bilateral trade has remained modest in recent years and in 2018-19 it was USD 124 million.
Naidu also appreciated Sierra Leone for joining the International Solar Alliance wherein India has been playing a leading role in order to enable rapid deployment of solar energy globally and to facilitate the transfer of technology. The ISA is a group of 121 solar resource-rich countries with headquarters in Gurugram, India. It aims to deploy over 1,000 gigawatts of solar energy and mobilise more than USD 1,000 billion into solar power by 2030, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
During Naidu's visit, India also offered to conduct a Jaipur Foot camp in the west African country under our initiative 'India for Humanity' for the fitting of artificial prosthetic limbs for the disabled.
"This is an initiative undertaken in the context of 150th anniversary of #MahatmaGandhi," the Vice President tweeted.
The dignitary was also pleased with President Bio's warm gesture to gladly welcome India's decision to open the High Commission in Freetown.
On Saturday, the Vice President had met the country's Foreign Minister Nabeela Farida Tunis and held productive discussions on further building upon the growth of bilateral relations between India and Sierra Leone.
His visit is a part of India's Africa outreach policy, aimed at intensifying its engagement with the African continent.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)