In an interview with AFP, Sierra Leone’s president expressed hope that a recently planned African mediation effort would stop Russia’s war in Ukraine “for the sake of humanity.”
“We are all suffering as a result of the war in Ukraine… For the sake of humanity, for what is happening, let’s end the war,” said President Julius Maada Bio, who was elected in 2018 and will next month seek a second term.
“I think even those who sympathise with Russia are in favour of stopping this war,” he said in the Wednesday interview.
The leaders of Zambia, Senegal, the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Egypt, and South Africa will travel to Moscow and Kyiv next month to try to broker peace.
African countries, who were already dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak, have been particularly hard struck by the war’s influence on supply chains and prices.
African countries have been divided at the UN over the conflict, although Sierra Leone has voted in support of resolutions condemning Russia’s conduct.
Sierra Leone shaved three zeros from its currency in July, trying to restore faith in the inflation-hit leone unit.
Riots occurred in August in response to increased living costs, killing 27 citizens and six police officers.
“We have a vested interest in seeing to it that that war comes to an end as quickly as possible… especially as a country that has gone through war before but also (because of) the impact on us,” said Bio.
Sierra Leone’s mineral-dependent economy is still recovering from a brutal 1991-2002 civil war and the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola epidemic.
Bio, 59, who was elected in 2018, also set out plans to end his country’s reliance on food imports and foreign aid.