INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL OF THE AFRICAN UNION FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY 2017, H.E. PRESIDENT DR. ERNEST BAI KOROMA ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL AND THE STATE OF PEACE AND SECURITY

IN AFRICA INCLUDING THE MASTER ROADMAP COMPRISING PRACTICAL STEPS TO SILENCE THE GUNS IN AFRICA BY THE YEAR 2020. PRESENTED ON THE OCCASION OF THE 28TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AU ASSEMBLY, ON 30 JANUARY 2017, IN ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.

The Chairperson of the Union: My Brother President Alpha Conde

Excellences, colleague Heads of States and Government;

The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission,

Honorable Ministers

Commissioners

Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

Please accept my warmest greetings and best wishes for 2017!

I would first of all like to take to pay tribute to our men and women who have and continue to pay the ultimate price for the maintenance of peace and security on the continent.

Three years from now, in 2020, guns should be silent in Africa; this is the commitment we have undertaken on behalf of our people who continue to endure violence and abuse; who are being internally displaced or forced to flee their homelands; and it is the pledge we have made to create the enabling environment for our economies to thrive. This will remain the cornerstone in fulfilling our aspirations not to bequeath conflict to the next generation.

Since our last Assembly Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, we identified, outlined and dealt with various crisis situations on the continent in fulfillment of our mandate. In this regard, the Peace and Security Council remained seized of the situations in Burundi, the Central Africa Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Mali/Sahel, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. All our efforts to maintain peace and security in these situations have been consistent with the determination we expressed in the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration that we adopted on 25th May 2013, in Addis Ababa.

Excellences,

Following the adoption of the Solemn Declaration, we have led several initiatives to provide practical guidance in actualizing our commitment to the grand Agenda 2020. These include devoting the 430th Meeting of the PSC as an Open Session on the theme: “Silencing the Guns: Pre-requisites for Realizing a Conflict-Free Africa by the Year 2020”. This Meeting underscored the importance of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and called for its full implementation, particularly the African Standby Force and its Rapid Deployment Capability.

Mindful of the time exigency relating to Agenda 2020, the PSC determined that urgent action is needed if we are to achieve this ambitious but principled and attainable goal that we have set for ourselves. It is within this context that the PSC convened the Retreat on the theme: Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by Year 2020, from 7 to 9 November 2016, in Lusaka, Zambia.

The Retreat identified fourteen major scourges that continue to affect our continent; most notably:

• The persistence of terrorist activities;

• The illicit inflow, proliferation and circulation of arms and weapons;

• The illicit financial flows that continue to weaken our economies; and

• Our lack of decisive strategic dialogue with the international community, including the UN system, on global policies and practices negatively impacting on Africa and its people.

These major scourges have now been put into a Draft AU Master Roadmap comprising Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by Year 2020 – and referred to as the Lusaka 2016 Master Roadmap.

This Master Roadmap is premised on the principle that Africa should assume total responsibility and full ownership and control over its peace and security agenda. Additionally, it is realistic and places greater emphasis on implementation, monitoring and evaluation of our collective efforts towards to the attainment of the objective of silencing the Guns by 2020. The Master Roadmap is being submitted to this Assembly for endorsement for the immediate commencement of its implementation. The details will be elaborated by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui.

While we remain mindful of the ambitious but attainable goals outlined in the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration, the PSC is certain that, with the collective will, determination and selfless efforts of all AU Member States, we shall succeed in silencing the guns in Africa by the year 2020. I therefore call on all of us, brothers and sisters, to invoke the African spirit of solidarity, which guided our actions during the anti-colonial struggle, to marshal the necessary political will and material resources to actualize our dream of a conflict free and prosperous Africa by 2020.

I would like on behalf of the Peace and Security Council and the entire Union to express our profound condolence to the Government and People of the Republic of Kenya over the recent attacks on their forces serving in AMISOM. I wish a speedy recovery for those injured during the attack.

May I now take this opportunity to present to you the Lusaka 2016 Master Roadmap, and the draft decisions for consideration and adoption.

I thank you for your kind attention.

SPEECH AT THE 190THANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS OF FOURAH BAY COLLEGEBY HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE AND CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SIERRA LEONE, DR. ERNEST BAI KOROMA

Protocols

We are at the cross roads of celebration and deep reflection on the current status of our alma mater and the prestigious position we wish it to regain. Sierra Leone owes much of its educational laurels to Fourah Bay College, once the greatest bastion of western education in sub-Saharan Africa. Our country became a hub of quality education in Black Africa; foreign nationals came to compete with Sierra Leoneans for the limited space this great institution had to provide. Erudite academic scholars, astute lawyers, outstanding engineers and eminent lecturers across Africa owe their measure of success in life to Fourah Bay College. This mark of achievement came by no mean feat, from the era of dedicated White administrators, to the period of affiliation with the Durham University, to the institution’s devolution to competent Sierra Leonean proprietors, the college was every bit the envy of outsiders. As a pivotal learning institution, Fourah Bay College earned Freetown the name Athens of West Africa in reminiscence of the calm days of Greek dominance in learning in the ancient world.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we have witnessed a glorious past with distinguished administrators and tutors who inspired students both in the classroom and outside, and who would not compromise academic standards any day of their lives. Great academics like Dr. Eustace Palmer, fondly called Dr. P inspired every student who studied in the humanities in the ‘70s. I witnessed an era when we had a conducive learning environment, well-stocked library and an excellent teaching staff. The canteen system was in full operation with three meals a day for every student. We even had an official dinner once a month.

Mr. Chairman, it is this feat of accomplishment that we are here to celebrate—190 years of academic journey. Sierra Leoneans hark back to much of this period with an air of pride and see it as a benchmark of our country’s success story. But interestingly, in this modern day of top-notch technology and internet connectivity, when learning is by far easier nowadays than bygone times, we have to put up with the nostalgia and the difficulty of trying to fully understand “Why the college’s performance should be rated better in those days than now?” In solving this riddle, we need a critical retrospection of where we stumbled and a thorough introspection of how we should pick ourselves up, dust off and move on to a bright future.

I am sure there are several areas to look into and lessons to learn from; because the history of this great university mimics the history of our nation. Its challenges have been Sierra Leone’s challenges. The past few decades have witnessed upheavals in our university calendar. Stints of war, political instability, the outbreak of epidemic and financial crises in our nation have had their toll on the operations of our foremost university college and the effect has been enormous.

The college has not been able to meet its full potentials owing to these external factors. It has had to close down in some instances in the past few decades, upsetting the learning calendar. As a result of these challenges, it has not been able to perform so well in international rankings and the prestige and glory our darling college has been slowly waning. It is sad to note that the college once revered by all in Africa is now a pale shadow of its old self.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, whilst we attribute the decline in standards to external factors, let us also look inward for approaches and behaviors, and for actions or inactions that are inimical to the progress and aspirations of the college. Owing to the increase in the enrollment of students, the student population has expanded considerably but the college lacks the infrastructure to accommodate this increase. Maintenance of the college buildings was long compromised. I therefore urge the university administration to improve on the job of running the university – in providing more classrooms and sitting accommodations for students, in ensuring that the buildings are well painted and the lawns taken care of. We want to see more international linkages and exchange programmes with other universities. We have to improve on the oversight on Fourah Bay College and the drive to get things done with excellence. All these require concerted efforts from the students, the administrators and the alumni association.

My Government remains committed to improve on the access to and quality of university education. We noted the dilapidated state of the university’s infrastructure and through the Ministry of Education we signed a contract with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) for the rehabilitation and expansion of Fourah Bay College campus.

The Ministry of Finance has facilitated series of internal arrangements relating to the rehabilitation process and so far, as all of you here can see, the project implementation is on full throttle. Once again government will rehabilitate Fourah Bay College campus and hand it over to the university authorities. But while we hope that this rehabilitation drive will translate into better quality education—a conducive learning atmosphere with proper hostels and a campus with high standards of environmental and health safety conditions – I will like to reiterated that this rehabilitation should be extended: the minds and habits of the people should also be changed in other to restore the lost glory of this great institution.

We have quite some distance to go but, with new spirit, with sustained commitment and with steadfastness, Fourah Bay College will once again sparkle on this historic mountain to shine the light of knowledge on the rest of Sierra Leone and beyond. On behalf of the entire University, I thank every single person in the academic staff and faculty, and our entire, incredibly generous community of supporters, for bringing us to this height.

I wish all Fourahbites fruitful 190 years celebrations. I thank you all.