Port Loko, Kambia Endorse… Samura Kamara

In his bid to be the party’s standard bearer for the 2023 national elections, over the past weekend, the 2018 presidential flagbearer of the main opposition All People’s Congress, Dr Samura Kamara visited the two northern province headquarter districts of Port Loko and Kambia. Reports are that in both places, he received rousing welcome from throng of APC members and supporters.

An appreciative Dr. Samura Kamara posted on his Facebook page the following message:

“My profound thanks to our party MPs in Port Loko and Kambia for unanimously endorsing my bid to lead our great APC in 2023… Grateful to my friend and brother, Comrade Frank Kargbo for organizing that great event…

Nothing could be more important for our beloved nation than for the APC to come together as one united and strong family to defeat this poor performing SLPP government in 2023, to lead our nation and to restore it to enviable position economic and growth path it enjoyed before 2018.”

The would-be 2023 APC flagbearer aspirant, Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara, was the APC Party’s nominee for President of Sierra Leone in the 2018 election. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation from 2012 to 2017, Minister of Finance and Economic Development from 2009 to 2012, Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone from 2007 to 2009, Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance during President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s administration.

Early life

Dr. Samura Kamara was born in 1951 in Kamalo, Karene District, North-Western Province of Sierra Leone, then a colony of United Kingdom. His father Pa Gibril Kamara was an ethnic Temne from Maworrko village near Rothuk and Magbanktha villages, Gberray Junction, Maforki chiefdom, Port Loko District. Dr. Samura Kamara’s mother, Ya Bomporro Kamara (née Kanu) is an indigene of Kamalo, Sanda Loko Chiefdom, Karene District.

Education

Dr. Samura Kamara received his early education at the UCC in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone. He is married to Mrs. Elizabeth Massah Kamara (nee Rogers). Mrs. Kamara is an indigene of Pujehun District in the Southern Province. Her mother hailed from Masam Kpaka and her father from Blama-Massaquoi.

Dr. Samura Kamara continued his education at the Saint Edward’s Secondary School in Freetown, stayed at Montague Street and Guard Street, Eastern Freetown, and was very active in football circles as a goalkeeper.

He proceeded to Fourah Bay College where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics in 1972. He holds a PhD in Development Economics (1986) from Bangor University in Wales, United Kingdom.

Career

In a bid to enhance protection of its funds in the military ruled war-time Sierra Leone, and enhance effective use of international resources for the average Sierra Leonean, Dr. Samura Kamara was in 1994 appointed Programme Manager by the World Bank for its Structural Support Programme to the country.

He also served as Financial Secretary during this time as part of efforts to build trust in the management of the mainly international donor flows which constituted over three quarters of the government’s non-military financial receipts. He stayed on as Secretary of State, Finance in early 1996 to ensure that such vital services to the people of the country were not cut off during the transition to civilian rule.

He subsequently served as Financial Secretary, and as Bank Governor, Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the APC Administration of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. Kamara crafted and implemented the Agenda for Change (2008–12).

His stewardship of the economy as Finance Minister saw real average GDP growth of 5.2% per annum (excluding iron ore). Before moving to the Foreign Ministry in 2012, Dr. Samura Kamara, with leadership provided by the President, designed the Agenda for Prosperity.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he signed and implemented Joint Cooperation Agreements and Bilateral Memoranda of Understanding with China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Korea and the United States of America.

He also strengthened bilateral relations through establishment of Embassies and Consulates in strategic geographical locations to promote Sierra Leone’s interest, including in South Korea; United Arab Emirates; and relocation of the Mission in Tripoli, Libya to Cairo, Egypt. He had plans for the establishment of resident diplomatic mission in Kenya.

Kamara facilitated and coordinated international support for the implementation of Government priority programmes in the Agenda For Prosperity, and mobilized and coordinated international support during the Ebola scourge and the recent mudslide and flood disaster in Freetown.

He coordinated design and Government’s endorsement of agreements with USAID for the implementation of projects in Agriculture, Governance and Women’s empowerment; and also with the Japanese Government for the improvement of the Energy infrastructure.

Kamara chaired the African Caucus constituency meetings two years in a row. As Foreign Minister, he serves as Chair of the Ministerial Meetings of the African Union C-10 committee on the Reform of the United Nations, and was also Chair of the AU Candidatures Committee to promote African leadership in high profile global positions. He on several occasions chaired the Peace and Security Council of the AU, which is the continental body’s most prominent council that is charged with ensuring peace and security in Africa.

As financial secretary, Kamara championed the merger of the Income Tax Department with Custom and Excise Department resulting in the creation of the National Revenue Authority. He was also a pioneer in the establishment of the National Public Procurement Authority.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he prepared and launched a comprehensive strategic document known as the Sierra Leone Foreign Service Transformation Strategy, 2014 – 2018.

As in the Ministry of Finance, he enhanced increased staff capacity of the Ministry and Missions, ensured salary increases in the Ministry, created new directorates, and facilitated training of staff within and outside the country.

He upgraded the ICT Infrastructure of the Ministry, ensured the production of Sierra Leone’s first diplomatic magazine and Official Directory of Sierra Leone’s Overseas Missions and Consulates, which were launched by the President in July 2017.

He was the lead technocrat in the negotiation team that won S/L debt cancellation in 2007. As Chair of African Caucus constituency he guided negotiations resulting in Africa getting a 3rd chair on the World Bank Executive Board. Kamara led Africa’s ministerial negotiating team on the reform of the United Nations.

Kamara strengthened Sierra Leone’s multilateral relations by facilitating the ratification and/or domestication of The 1954 Convention on the status of Stateless Persons; The 1961 Convention on the reduction of Statelessness; The 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations; and The Constitutive Act of the Pan African Parliament; and the world’s premier multilateral environmental protection agreements such as, the Minamata convention on Mercury; the Nagoya Protocol; the Basel Convention on the control of trans- boundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal; the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

As Finance Minister, his was concerned for the poor ensured his design and implementation of programmes that resulted in poverty incidence falling from 66% in 2004 to 53% in 2011.

Outside his work as a government official, he out of personal resources brought electricity to Kamalo, supported education in Kamalo by offering scholarships to hundreds.

Kamara was chosen on October 15 as the Flag Bearer for the then ruling APC for the 2018 Presidential Elections. He received 42.7% in the first round election.

Personal life

Dr. Samura Kamara is Catholic. His parents and most of his family are Muslims, many of whom he sponsored to go on pilgrimage to Mecca. In Freetown he grew up in the house of his uncle, Alhaji Sorsoh Kamara who was Chairman of the Jamiul Jalil Mosque, in the Oldfield district of Freetown. He has supported the construction of mosques in Kamalo and also installed solar lights at the Jamiul Jalil Mosque. He is a member of a number of traditional organizations and social clubs in Freetown. He plays tennis.