2012 was a remarkable year for our country. We conducted four elections on a single day that were acclaimed by the whole world as meeting international standards of free, fair, credible and transparent election; our economy was lauded as the second hottest economy in the whole world; our nation was acclaimed as amongst the safest on earth, and in December we were awarded the Millennium Challenge Corporation Award for good governance, promoting rights and investing in people. These are achievements for all of the people of our country. I glorify God Almighty for giving this country the faith, strength and endowment to achieve these great feats; I congratulate every Sierra Leone for this national victory, and I applaud our international partners for their great contributions to the continuing transformation of our country.
We have set new standards, we are pace setters in Africa, and we now belong to a select group of countries in Africa honored for our democracy, our economic growth, and our great potentials. We achieved a lot in our Agenda for Change. Now is the time to bring home the fruits of these achievements; now is the time to do more; now is the time to move on to the Agenda for Prosperity.
Moving forward with the Agenda for Prosperity requires appropriate skills, productive work ethic, discipline and respect for the law. That is why I am dedicating my second term to combating indiscipline and recklessness; that is why I am dedicating to the Agenda for Prosperity to improving our human capacity, to ensuring that the citizens of this country, especially the youths, acquire the skills necessary for greater participation in the transformation of the country.
This is my 2013 New Year resolution: I will work closely with the youths of this country to commence and sustain the Agenda for Prosperity. This is not only because tomorrow belongs to the youth, but mainly because today also belongs to the youths. The youths are the most innovative, energetic and creative section of our society; and there is no way this country can prosper without the active participation of our youths.
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, this is my proclamation for my second and last term: the benefits of the transformation shall be for everyone in the country; it shall be for every region, every district, and every chiefdom. We will train youths in every region; we will continue with infrastructural development in every district, and we will do more for agriculture in every chiefdom. We will continue to attract investments in every sector, from mining, to petroleum, to agriculture, tourism and fisheries.
Development everywhere is the surest road to national inclusion; reaching out to the poor, the unemployed and the vulnerable is the surest path to national stability; and integrating women and youths into the mainstream of economic and political life is the surest channel for sustaining our unity, freedom and justice.
I am calling on all Sierra Leoneans, from the APC, SLPP and other political parties, to support these efforts to create a better life for our people. The time for bickering is over; the time for moving forward is come upon us. My government is a standing invitation to all those who desire development for this country; our doors are open to all those who seek to fulfill the aspirations of our people for peace, democracy, and development. From the far-flung corners of the Diaspora to the smallest villages, from the wonderful Loma Mountains to the great shores of Sulima, let the children of this beautiful country come forth and visibly assert their love for Sierra Leone.
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, all over the world, this season of goodwill brings out the best in people. This is especially true in our country, where people of every religion wish each other happiness and prosperity.
But I want us to go a little further and wish our country happiness and prosperity. I want the youths to go a little further and be more innovative, more ready to acquire skills, more disciplined, and more productive. I want us to go a little further and claim the promise of prosperity that is now beckoning in our country. But let us also be mindful that we can only claim this promise of prosperity when we work hard, when we are disciplined, when we are law abiding and when we acquire the appropriate skills. Without discipline, law and order, we will not be able to secure our achievement; without productive work, our achievements cannot be sustained; without the appropriate skills, we will not be able to reap the benefits of the transformation.
These are new challenges that the country now faces.
The challenges of getting appropriate skills, the challenges of low productivity, and the challenges of indiscipline in many sectors. Let it therefore be part of our New Year resolution to meet these challenges headlong. Let every Sierra Leonean make a vow to be a force for skills acquisition, discipline, law and order.
Let every Sierra Leonean make a resolution to be force for development, democracy and peace. This country is what we make it to be; no body but the people of this country can take this country to another level.I strongly believe that we can do it; I have strong faith in the ability of Sierra Leoneans to achieve great things. Already we are being acclaimed the world over for our tolerance, our democracy, our economic growth, and our record of safety. We can add unto these achievements; we must do more to sustain the transformation. Fellow Sierra Leoneans, there is nothing a determined people cannot achieve; there is nothing a country with the history of achievements like Sierra Leone cannot attain. Now is the time to overcome the challenges, and by Godís grace we will succeed.
I wish you a happy New Year
God Bless Sierra Leone
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.