Sierra Leone Telegraph: 04 May 2021:
Professor David Francis is Sierra Leone’s new face of Global Sierra Leone. He was last week appointed Sierra Leone’s Foreign Affairs Minister in a cabinet reshuffle, after establishing and operationalizing the Office of the Chief Minister.
The erstwhile Chief Minister had previously acted as Sierra Leone’s Foreign Affairs Minister during the Commonwealth Summit held in the United Kingdom in 2018.
With his substantive role as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he is now saddled with the responsibility of leading on Sierra Leone’s Diplomacy and to project the Country’s Foreign Policy Interest within the United Nations, African Union, Commonwealth Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mano River Union (MRU) States and other Governmental Bodies.
Importantly also, Professor Francis now has the responsibility to oversee Sierra Leone’s Embassies, Consulates, and Permanent Representatives abroad.
Professor Francis brings to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs vast experience and knowledge in working with a number of Governments, intergovernmental agencies (EU & Commonwealth) and key UN agencies (UNAMSIL Sierra Leone, UNMIL Liberia, UNESCO on Peace Education, UNDP on Infrastructure for Peace, UNHCR on Internally Displaced Persons in Liberia); ECOWAS (ECOWAS Early Warning Mechanism & National Early Warning System); African Union (African Peer Review Mechanism & the AU Post-Conflict Reconstruction & Development).
As a distinguished international academic, senior policy adviser and consultant for more than 25 years, Professor Francis successfully supervised 6 doctoral completions, 14 PhD/Doctoral External Examinations in UK, Europe, North America and Africa as well as more than 50 Master’s dissertation supervision.
Prior to his appointment as Foreign Affairs Minister, Professor Francis served as the first Chief Minister of the modern Republic of Sierra Leone for three years, effective May 2018. In that capacity, he served as one of the Principal Advisers to the President and was responsible for the supervision, monitoring, co-ordination and performance management of 28 Ministries of the Government of Sierra Leone.
As a Senior Cabinet Minister, he served as a member of the National Security Council; National Defence Council; Economic Management Team; National Investment Board, member of Cabinet Sub-Committees and member of the Presidential Task Force of COVID 19 National Preparedness and Response.
In his role as Chief Minister, Professor Francis provided strategic policy leadership for Parliamentary Legislative Bills for key governance agencies such as the Independent Commission for Peace & National Cohesion (ICPNC) and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA).
In addition, Professor Francis set up and chaired several cross-cutting Inter-Ministerial Governance-related Committees and chaired several Governance/Security-related Presidential Task Force Committees.
In this capacity as Chief Minister, Professor Francis chaired and led a number of high-level Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) negotiation processes with international, multilateral and private sector agencies and institutions.
As part of his supervisory and performance management role of GoSL Ministries, Professor Francis organized high-level GoSL Cabinet Retreats, including the first ever political and administrative interface retreat bringing together Cabinet Ministers, Heads of the Civil Service, Permanent Secretaries and across-government Heads of Agencies, Parastatals, Commissions and State-owned Enterprises.
As Chief Minister, Professor Francis worked closely with the House of Parliament and the Government-SLPP Parliamentary Leadership and opposition parties to facilitate the passage of government legislative bills and programmes.
Before joining Government, Professor Francis was the Head of the world renowned Department of Peace Studies & Director of the John & Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom.
He served as Commissioner for the UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and held the UNESCO Chair of African Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Bradford. Professor Francis held a Research Professorial Chair in African Peace and Conflict Studies, the first ever to be established at a leading UK University.
Professor Francis has an impressive academic career. He holds a PhD degree from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom; Diploma in Law, Development and Social Justice from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands; Diploma in Human Rights, from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Lund University, Sweden, and BA (Hons) from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Professor Francis has published extensively with 10 books and more than fifty journal articles, book chapters and commissioned-policy papers.
Some of his published works include: Peace, Democracy & Development in Africa Adonis & Abbey Publishers: London, July 2020 (Ed); African Peace Militaries: War, Peace & Democratic Governance, Routledge, 2016 (Ed.); When War Ends in Africa: building peace in divided communities. Ashgate: May 2012 (Ed); Policing in Africa. Palgrave /Macmillan, April 2012 (Ed); US Strategy in Africa: AFRICOM, Terrorism and Security Challenges. Routledge, Feb. 2010 (Ed); Peace and Conflict in Africa (Ed.) London: Zed Books, September 2008 (Translated into Arabic in May 2010 by the Egypt-based Arabic Translation Institute); Uniting Africa: Building Regional Security Systems, Aldershot: Ashgate January 2006; Dangers of Co-deployment: UN Cooperative Peacekeeping in Africa (Ed.) Ashgate, 2005; The Politics of Economic Regionalism: Sierra Leone in ECOWAS Ashgate, 2001.
Sierra Leone’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation told the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph that he is determined to improve on and strengthen relationships between the Republic of Sierra Leone – with brotherly and friendly countries and regional and international organizations and bodies.
In much the same vein, he says will pursue Sierra Leone’s foreign policy interests on international trade, regional and global peace and security, terrorism, climate resilience, International Treaties, Conventions and Memorandum of Understanding; International Financial Institutions and international Trade Cooperations like International Labour organisation (ILO), Islamic Development Bank, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of Countries (ACP), World Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Group of 77 Countries for Cooperation, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OEDA), South- South Cooperation, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) as well as collaborate with home relevant Ministries.
Sierra Leone’s new Foreign Affairs Minister also said that he is seeking to improve on a number of initiatives including Public Diplomacy, promoting Sierra Leone foreign policy objectives through all the Diplomatic Missions abroad. This he said, will be a strategic move to build on the good image of Sierra Leone abroad.