Sierra Leone At 63: How The Country Laid Foundation For Africa’s Intelligentsia

Sierra Leone At 63: How The Country Laid Foundation For Africa’s Intelligentsia

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 3:29 pm

Sierra Leone At 63, Africa’s Intelligentsia,  Abubakar Hashim,

President Joseph Bio

 Abubakar Hashim

Sierra Leone will be 63 on Saturday 27, April 2024. The country’s relationship with other African countries spans over 200 years and is waxing stronger.

What makes Sierra Leone thick is, principally, Fourah Bay College, considered the “ bedrock of Africa’s Intelligentsia”.

Founded in 1827 by the Catholic Missionary Society CMS, the college produced the first crop of Africa’s intellectuals in the civil service and academia.

Located in the ancient and sprawling city of Freetown, it has produced the best brains in Africa and beyond. Prominent African personalities like Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first black African Bishop, Adekunle Ajasin, the first civilian Governor of Ondo State in Nigeria, Dr Apker Aku, first Executive Governor of Benue State, Prof Tam David West, former Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Jomo Kenyatta, first Kenyan President and many more other prominent African personalities.

Fourah Bay College was the gateway to Sierra Leone’s prominence in Africa. Important personalities like Bishop Ajayi Crowther was the grandfather of Herbert Macaulay, who was a frontline Nigerian Nationalist, who fought bitterly for Nigeria’s independence in 1960, a year before Sierra Leone’s independence in 1961. Ajayi Crowther’s daughter, Abigail, was Herbert Macaulay’s mother. Ajayi Crowther was the first crop of eminent Africans educated at Fourah Bay College, which was then affiliated with the prestigious Durham University in the UK.

Africa and the world will celebrate with Sierra Leone as it commemorates its 63rd independence anniversary on Saturday, 27 April 2024.

At 63, the country, apart from laying a solid foundation for Africa’s intelligentsia, is today, occupying the AU Chairmanship position to reform the UN Security Council for an African slot. The country is also currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the decision-making organ of the UN. It last occupied this position in 1971.

President Julius Maada Bio, recently, delivered the 3rd Annual Distinguished Lecture in African Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the US. President Bio is the 3rd African leader to have delivered this important lecture, after the first black Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, and President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi.

At 63, the country is also laying a strong foundation for food self-sufficiency, in a laudable project tagged “ Feed Salone”.

About 6 years ago, the country had developed a 5-year National Transformation Program NTP 2018 to 2023. NTP, since then, has prioritised agriculture, with the sole aim of achieving food sovereignty. Feed Salone is an offshoot of NTP, with a personal passion of the President, fortified by a Presidential council and executed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

At 63, the major challenge the country faces is the energy deficit, particularly in the capital Freetown at the moment. This is exacerbated by the ongoing rationing of water in the capital city by the country’s GUMA water supply company.

The country’s currency, the Leone, has been stable for the past weeks, at 23,600 to the USD.

At 63, Africa and the world will celebrate Sierra Leone, a tiny West African Country, but an emerging giant, that laid a solid foundation for Africa’s intelligentsia and is now a prominent player in today’s international politics.

*Abubakar Hashim is the West Africa Bureau Chief of TheNEWS Magazine, based in Sierra Leone

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