Freetown International Airport, Lungi, Wednesday 11 October 2023 – Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has received His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Special Envoy of the King of Saudi Arabia, on a day visit to express their commitment to investing in Sierra Leone in the areas of health, education and rural water supply.
The visiting envoy, who also serves as Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabi and his entourage had come to seek support from President Bio and Sierra Leone for their bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup after the government in Riyadh had earlier submitted a letter of intent and signed a declaration to the football governing body.
He conveyed messages of solidarity from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to President Julius Maada Bio, expressing thanks and appreciation for the warm hospitality accorded them in Sierra Leone.
He added that the King of Saudi Arabia had sent a special message of friendship and good bilateral relations to the President and people of the Republic of Sierra Leone. He said he was looking forward to hosting President Bio at the Africa-Saudi Summit in November this year.
On behalf of the King and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Tourism Minister pleaded with President Bio to support their bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup and their inspiring bid to also host the World Expo 2030.
He emphasised the great friendship between the two countries and said they looked forward to signing agreements to enable them to invest in the country’s infrastructure, health, education, and rural water supply.
“We are coming with development and prosperity to Sierra Leone by connecting Sierra Leone and the Middle East, as well as with East Africa. This is because we support good people like you, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, and people around the world like us for our development strides,” he assured.
President Julius Maada Bio, on behalf of his government and the people of Sierra Leone, thanked Allah for the safe arrival of the Minister and his delegation and expressed his appreciation for their consideration.
The President sent a special solidarity message to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, stressing that the two countries had, over the years, continued to consolidate their bilateral relations.
He shared his government’s ambitions, which were focused on developing human capital with a special interest in education, adding that his second term was more focused on food security by ensuring that the country produced more food for its people.
President Bio assured that the Expo and FIFA bids by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were significant and timely, pointing out that since the two countries had been good friends, Sierra Leone would be on their side.