Canada - Sierra Leone Relations
Canada and Sierra Leone established diplomatic relations in 1961. Canada and Sierra Leone are connected by a unique historical link. Freetown, the capital of present-day Sierra Leone, was founded in 1792 by a contingent of over one thousand settlers, including some from Halifax and other areas of Nova Scotia. These were mostly former slaves from the United States who had sought freedom in the remaining British territories in North America following the American war of independence. Even today, one can see the influence of the Canadian Maritime provinces in Freetown in the style of construction and in the names of streets and businesses. This affinity is reflected today in the good working relationship, which allows Canada and Sierra Leone to cooperate on a broad spectrum of issues in various forums, including the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.
Canada in Sierra Leone
Canada is represented in Sierra Leone by the High Commission of Canada in Accra.
Sierra Leone in Canada
Sierra Leone has been represented in Canada since 1973 by its Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Trade and Investments
In 2015, two way merchandise trade reached $11.9 million consisting of $9.1 million in exports and $2.8 million in imports from Sierra Leone. Top Canadian merchandise exports to Sierra Leone included miscellaneous textile articles and vehicles and parts.
In 2012, Canada concluded negotiations with Sierra Leone for a code-share only Air Transport Agreement (ATA), which promotes air connectivity by allowing code-share services between the two countries.
Development and Humanitarian Assistance
- In 2014-2015, Canadian development assistance, estimated at $21.73 million for Sierra Leone, essentially targeted humanitarian assistance and heath, including reproductive health.
- Global Affairs Canada has no bilateral assistance program specific to Sierra Leone.
- The main Canadian partners involved in Sierra Leone were the Canadian Commercial Cooperation (which was involved in the delivery of personal protective equipment to West Africa in response to Ebola), the Canadian Red Cross, World Vision Canada and Plan Canada.
- The main multilateral partners are the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund and UNICEF.
- Canada was one of the earliest responders to the Ebola crisis, and has committed more than $130 million to help address the health, humanitarian and security implications of the crisis in West Africa.
- Canada also contributed in-kind to efforts to end the Ebola outbreak, including the deployment of two rotating mobile laboratories (provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada — PHAC) and lab teams to Sierra Leone from June 2014 to May 2015); support to the deployment of health experts and emergency response personnel to UN agencies in the affected countries; the donation and delivery of more than 18 million dollars’ worth of items of personal protective equipment to the WHO in West Africa; and, the donation of an experimental vaccine to the WHO. Based on an interim analysis of the vaccine during trials in Guinea, which indicated that it was effective in protecting people exposed to Ebola, the vaccine is now being used in Sierra Leone.
- In November 2014, Canada launched the “Join the Fight against Ebola” campaign, which led to the recruitment of seven Canadian healthcare workers and the deployment of 58 delegates through the Canadian Red Cross, to help manage existing Ebola Treatment Centres in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea (including 36 delegates who were specifically deployed to support response efforts in Sierra Leone).
- From December 2014 to June 2015, the Department of National Defence also deployed Canadian Armed Forces healthcare and support staff to work at the UK’s Kerry Town treatment unit, where they provided medical care to 90 local and international healthcare workers.
Peace and Security
- A major area of cooperation between Canada and Sierra Leone is in peacebuilding. Since 1999, Canada has actively supported post-war rehabilitation and the consolidation of peace in Sierra Leone through various forms of assistance.
- Canada was highly involved with the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), which concluded its work on December 31, 2013, contributing $18 million over the life of the Court and chairing the Court’s Management Committee.
- The Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone (RSCSL) was created to carry on the remaining functions of the SCSL – archiving, witness protection and dealing with any judicial work stemming from the SCSL’s mandate and became operational on January 1, 2014. Canada continues to make valuable contributions to the RSCSL – including by chairing the RSCSL Oversight Committee and maintaining a Canadian roster judge who can be called upon if needed.
- The UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) is an inter-governmental advisory body that supports post-conflict states in their peacebuilding, recovery, reconstruction and development efforts. Canada has chaired the Sierra Leone PBC Country configuration” since February 2009.
- Canada was the 6th largest donor to the UN Peace-Building Fund, pledging $35 million through 2012. This support has included Canadian training, equipment and programs for police and Sierra Leonean peacekeepers.
- As an indication of the progress achieved, Sierra Leone has progressed from a recipient country of peacekeepers to one that now contributes armed forces personnel to peace operations such as UNAMID (Darfur), UNMISS (South Sudan), AMISOM (Somalia), MINUSMA (Mali), UNISFA (Abyei) and UNIFIL (Lebanon).
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