By PEL Koroma,Embassy of Sierra Leone,Washington DC
At a luncheon hosted at the Embassy of Sierra Leone, 1701 19th Street , NW in Washington DC in honor of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Dr. Memunatu Pratt, Ambassador Sidique Abou-Bakar Wai informed State Officials, as well as top business people that the Tourism Ministry is in the heart of the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio. He introduced Dr. Memunatu Pratt to the invitees.
Dr Memunatu Pratt started by informing the Embassy guests that Sierra Leone is at the stage of promoting Cultural Diplomacy.
“If countries need to be peaceful, cultural awareness can be a powerful tool for political stability. Working with Foreign Missions is very important to promote Cultural Diplomacy. We are currently marketing Eco-Tourism, Historic Sites, Slave Roots and Culture as a sector for development “.
She further went on to say that the government is determined to use Tourism in rebranding and developing the nation’s resources to create jobs and build infrastructures.
“A lot has changed at the domestic level. Sierra Leoneans are owning businesses in the Tourism sector, extending opportunities to people for economic viability” Dr Prattl said, noting that building and training of young people, exposing them to innovations, transforming the traditional ideas to development approaches are key pillars for growth .
“ People should invest in Youth development , establish Hotels, Eco-Tourism, Health Tourism, Agro Tourism, Wildlife Tourism, apart from the Beach Tourism. Unidentified areas have come forward. Tourism is promoting trade, agriculture, women empowerment, thereby providing security to build peace”.
She impressed on the guests that there is a connection between Tourism, livelihood , and education.
“We have African-American program, receiving people from America whose DNA links to Sierra Leone. New Islands have been established, as well as Monuments and Cultural Sites. Sierra Leone is currently on an expansion project at the Lungi International Airport, doing road networks, improving on electricity supply, developing the capacity of citizens, especially improving skills for women to be able to pay for the opportunities. We have developed the entertainment industry”, Dr. Memunatu Pratt said.
She concluded that the aim of the Tourism Ministry is to bring the youths working in hotels, beaches out of poverty line.
Prominent among the guests at the Luncheon were Jerry Tores, American businessman- politician, Salewa Ladipo, Strategy Analyst, Blueprint Global Consulting Group , Dr. Ky Dele, Blueprint Global Consulting Group , Dr. Kadia Bundu, Anesthesiologist, Emad Shoeb, Chief Operating Officer, Swahili Village Restaurant and Izmira Violet Aitch, Senior Legislative Assistant, United States House of Representatives.