Sierra Leone’s Koroma promises jobs, growth in second term

Updated 25 November 2012
0

Sierra Leone’s Koroma promises jobs, growth in second term

FREETOWN: Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Koroma vowed to transform the fortunes of the war-scarred nation with more jobs and development after his convincing re-election victory.
Koroma swept to a second term with 58 percent of votes in a poll last week that observers praised as peaceful and transparent, triumphing over his main rival Julius Maada Bio who trailed with 37.4 percent.
By scoring more than 55 percent of the vote the incumbent managed to avoid a second round of voting.
Koroma was sworn in on Friday immediately after the results were announced. He called on all Sierra Leoneans, including Bio’s opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), to unite in moving the country forward. “The job at hand requires the goodwill and positive energy of the membership of all political parties,” he said.
“We will focus on creating jobs for the youths, and on training our youths to seize the immense employment opportunities we are creating in the construction, mining, agriculture and other sectors,” Koroma said. “We will continue with our infrastructural development programs; we will continue to attract investment; we will continue to fight corruption,” said Koroma.
The United States swiftly congratulated Koroma on his re-election, noting the democratic progress the west African country has made since the end of a civil war a decade ago.
“The people of Sierra Leone have made their voices heard,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
“This election demonstrates the progress that Sierra Leone has made in strengthening its democratic institutions since the end of the civil war in 2002,” Carney added, urging all parties to accept the election results.
However Koroma was heavily criticized during his campaign for his failure to crack down on graft.
The crucial test for the west African nation will be whether the ex-military leader Bio accepts the outcome. During the counting of the votes, he alleged fraud and vowed that he would not let his supporters be cheated.


More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

Updated 26 April 2018
0

More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

  • Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing
  • The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron

PARIS: More than 70 countries committed Thursday to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions “even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.”
The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long-term.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani were all present.
Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the United States, is expected to close the conference later with a call for the necessity for multilateral action.
Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words will be put into action.
“When we have information — for example the UN list of individuals and entities financing terrorism — we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly,” Lewis told The Associated Press.
Participants called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations.
Participants included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Arabian Gulf.
France has pushed for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it has recognized how sensitive the issue is, and saw the conference as a first step for coordinated action.
The French organizers noted that Daesh military defeats on the ground have not prevented the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with Al-Qaeda — especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.
Terror groups don’t only rely on the cash economy — they’re using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations.
Daesh has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. Daesh revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president’s office.
Though most of the attacks in Western countries do not cost a lot of money, a French official said terror groups “behave like big organizations” in that it “costs a lot to recruit, train, equip people and spread propaganda.” The official was speaking anonymously under the presidency’s customary practice.
The French counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins told FranceInfo radio that Daesh uses micro-financing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money.
Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to Daesh over the last two years, he said.
Money, he said, went to “320 collectors mostly based in Turkey and Lebanon from whom jihadis in Iraq and Syria could receive funds.”
In recent years, the US and other Western nations have encouraged Middle Eastern nations to close off such sources.
However, allegations over extremist funding in part sparked a near-yearlong boycott of Qatar by four Arab states.
Qatar denies funding extremists, though it has faced Western criticism about being lax in enforcing rules.
Participants agreed to hold a similar conference next year in Australia.