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Institutional Transformation: New Direction moves Sierra Leone into the heart of Moscow

Institutional Transformation: New Direction moves Sierra Leone into the heart of Moscow

Institutional Transformation: New Direction moves Sierra Leone into the heart of Moscow

By Festus J. Lahai

Information Attache

Moscow, Russian Federation


What seems impossible for 31 years has now been made possible by the result-orientated representative of President Julius Maada Bio in Russia, Ambassador Mohamed Yongawo.

The Sierra Leone Embassy in Russia was established in Moscow City in 1962; accredited to 23 countries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; under the jurisdiction of the Ambassador based in Moscow in the Russian Federation.

Since its establishment, Sierra Leone has posted 11 Ambassadors to serve as Presidential Representatives in the Russian Federation.  Ambassador Mohammed Yongawo is the 12th.

Apparently, Sierra Leone used to have one of the best mission buildings in Moscow, which hosted the Chancery, The Residence of the Ambassador and some Diplomatic Staff.

Unfortunately in 1990, under unknown circumstances we lost the building.

So, the Embassy was  moved to a 4 bedroom rented apartment office space at Rublyovskoye Chausse, which Sierra Leone has been using since then.

It is suffice to summarize that, the environment was not fit for a diplomatic mission and to carry out diplomatic activities.

However, a patriotic citizen who thinks about our nation's dignity has now taken the Sierra Leone Embassy to the ‘heart’ of Moscow where other Embassies and businesses operate; and can now compete for serious investment opportunities, especially taking cognisance of the fact that President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Government’s attention is shifting into making Africa their investment priority location.

When asked his  reason for moving the Embassy, Ambassador Yongawo responded: *"Running a mission is like governing a state; you look for the best edifice which places your country in a position of strength.”*

Ambassador Yongawo continued: *“This Building occupies over 12 other Embassies; accessible to the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, a walking distance from the Kremlin, closer to the Central Bank, the area serves as the Diplomatic Quarter for most Foreign Diplomats from across the globe.”*

*"Investors can now access our Embassy easily due to its location.”*

Ambassador Yongawo commended His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio for the opportunity given to serve as Ambassador.

Ambassador registered his gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for their continued support, the Ministry of Finance, the Sierra Leone Central Bank and the Government of Sierra Leone for unflinching support to his mission.

The Ambassador extended same to the Government and People of Russia for their continued support.

H.E Yongawo registered his appreciation for the good working relationship, which existed between him and the former Minster of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Nabeela Tunis and wished her well in her future undertakings.

The Ambassador welcomed the appointment of Professor Francis, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and he looks forward to a good and productive working relationship  - to pursue the progressive Foreign Policy agenda of President Bio and promote the interest of  Sierra Leone.

HE Yongawo ended by thanking both Diplomatic and Local staff for their continued support to the ongoing successes of the Mission in the Russian Federation.

*Dennis E. Nicole, who is the Minister Counsellor and Head of Chancery, described the new office as an ‘ultra-modern and a 21st-century working environment’ for staff’.* He also encouraged them to be fully equipped as there is a lot of work ahead of them in fulfilling the New Direction Agenda of President Julius Maada Bio and the People of Sierra Leone.

One of the longest-serving staff at the Embassy, Mr. Mohamed Bawoh stated: *“I don't know what to say about Ambassador Yongawo’s vision and passion for development but his appointment has been a blessing to us as staff and the government of President Bio.”*

Here is a list of former Ambassadors and their dates of accreditation.

1. H E Harrison Emanuel Tucker-17.08.1965 - 28.05.1968

2. H E Ambrose Patrick Genda-18.07.1969 - 06.06.1979

3. H E Prof. Edward Wilmot Blyden-11.04.1971 - 22.12.1974

4. H E Dr. Ballah Musa Konteh-05.05.1975 - April 1976

5. H E Dr. Andrew Konteh-10.11.1976 - 20.10.1981

6. H E Eya Etoam M'Byo-22.01.1982 - 23.12.1983

7. H E Sorsoh Ibrahim Konteh-19.03.1984 - 28.04.1988

8. H E Olu William-Harding-13.06.1989 - 27.09.

9. H E Mrs. Melrose B. Kai-Banya-04.04.1997 - 31.08. 08

10. H.E Dr. Salieu Mohamed Turay-29.05.09 - 22.04. 2010

11. H E John Sahr Francis Yambasu-20.10.2010 - 06.08. 2018

12. H E Mohamed Yongawo-01.11.2018-present

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