Tony Blair in Sierra Leone to Review Progress of Africa Governance Initiative with President Koroma
23 Feb 2010 by Newstime Africa in Africa, 1598 Views Breaking News, 1598 Views Sierra Leone, 1598 Views West Africa 1598 Views
Tony Blair today (Tuesday 23rd February 2010) returned to Sierra Leone to review the progress of the Africa Governance Initiative project with President Koroma, with a specific focus on healthcare and the work the Government of Sierra Leone is doing to prepare for the delivery of free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five. This is Mr Blair’s third visit to Freetown since launching his Africa Governance Initiative project with President Ernest Bai Koroma in 2008. Despite recent improvements, Sierra Leone still has some of the worst maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. 1 in 7 children die before the age of 5, often from easily preventable conditions, which is why the Government of Sierra Leone is committed to increasing access to basic medical care for pregnant women and children.
In November 2009 the Government of Sierra Leone announced that from April 27th 2010 (Independence Day in Sierra Leone) it was going to abolish user fees for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five. The Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative is working with the Government of Sierra Leone and its donor partners on the preparations for April 27th. In particular, it is helping senior officials in the Ministry of Health develop the processes and tools they need to plan and manage the implementation of this ambitious policy. During his visit to Freetown Tony Blair will discuss the free health care initiative with Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana, who is currently supervising the Ministry of Health, and will meet the Chief Medical Officer and other senior officials who are leading the preparations. Mr Blair will visit a local hospital to see firsthand the opportunities and challenges that the free healthcare initiative will pose.
Some background on the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative project in Sierra Leone:
Since his victory in free and fair elections in 2007, President Koroma has set about transforming Sierra Leone’s economy, kick-starting private sector-led growth, reforming government and tackling corruption. His Agenda for Change sets out a compelling vision of economic and human development, focusing on agriculture, infrastructure, energy, health and education.
The aim of the project with Tony Blair is to support the President’s Agenda for Change priorities and attract sustainable private investment in the country and the two leaders will review progress since the hugely successful Investors conference in London last November. Following this conference, Sierra Leone has already seen the announcement of a $400m biofuels project that will create over 10,000 jobs, whilst more major investments are in the pipeline.
The Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, which is a registered charity in the UK and USA, works with some of Africa’s most dynamic leaders deliver the change their people need to relieve poverty.
By combining Tony Blair’s unique experience as a leader and reformer, his personal relationships with African leaders, and in-country teams of experts, he is helping build the capacity of partners to tackle poverty and attract investment sustainably.
Renewing the commitment to Africa Tony Blair made as Prime Minister, the not-for-profit Africa Governance Initiative began in Rwanda and Sierra Leone in 2008.
The innovative hands-on approach embeds small teams, working side-by-side with staff in Presidential Offices, Investment Agencies and key Ministries to support government to deliver poverty reduction as a national priority.
Creating lasting change takes time, but there are already signs of AGI’s potential to create a step change in the capacity of the current partner governments, and we hope to extend this model to new countries in the future.
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