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New Sierra Leone leader visits Senegal on first trip abroad


Sierra Leone’s people party presidential candidate former general Julius Maada Bio casts his ballot at the polling station in Freetown on March 31, 2018 during Sierra Leone presidential run-off. Voting began in Sierra Leone in the final round of a delayed run-off presidential election after a campaign marked by verbal sparring, sporadic violence and a last-minute legal battle. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO

Sierra Leone’s new President Julius Maada Bio has met with his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall in Dakar on his first foreign trip since taking office last week, officials said Wednesday.

Bio said after their talks late Tuesday that the pair had discussed economic affairs and matters of governance, and “how Senegal can help Sierra Leone move forward,” Sall’s office said.

Choosing Senegal for his first foreign trip “shows his interest in developing a special relationship, built on friendship and mutual interests,” Sall said.


In a statement, Bio’s office said Sall had provided an airplane for the visit and that the new Sierra Leonean leader had limited his delegation to eight people “to curtail government wastage”.

At a rally in the Sierra Leone capital Freetown after his victory, Bio, a former putschist who relinquished power to a democratically elected president in 1996, stressed the need for “discipline” and rigour in the management of public funds.

One of the world’s poorest nations despite huge mineral and diamond deposits, Sierra Leone is recovering only gradually from war and disease. The West African nation’s economy remains fragile, with corruption widespread in the former British colony.

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