Last updated in April 2017
The Federal Republic of Germany officially recognised Sierra Leone immediately after it gained independence in 1961 and opened an embassy in Freetown. Germany is highly regarded not only by government representatives but also the population. The German Embassy in Freetown, which had been closed since 1999, was reopened in 2003 through a chargé d’affaires. Since August 2007, Germany’s diplomatic mission in Sierra Leone has again been headed by an ambassador residing in Freetown.
President Koroma made a state visit to Germany in February 2011. Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Niebel travelled to Freetown in August 2012, as did Parliamentary State Secretary Silberhorn, from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in February 2016.
The main focus of bilateral relations is on development cooperation measures. These are implemented on the ground by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and several German and international NGOs such as Welthungerhilfe (formerly German Agro Action) and church-affiliated organisations.
Priority areas of development cooperation are youth employment, vocational training and agriculture. Given the repercussions of the Ebola epidemic, strengthening and further developing the country’s health care sector has become an additional priority.
In addition, Germany provides consulting services to a regional project on the transparent use of revenue from raw materials. Development cooperation also includes projects supporting HIV/AIDS prevention and strengthening women’s rights.
In December 2015, the Sierra Leonean and German Ministries of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) entered into a trilateral land partnership aimed at supporting Sierra Leone in implementing the UN’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT).
During the Ebola epidemic, Germany supported Sierra Leone with significant financial and technical contributions.
Germany is one of Sierra Leone’s principal bilateral partners, along with the United Kingdom, Ireland, the European Union and the United States. International organisations are strongly engaged in Sierra Leone and generally maintain an office in the country. Particularly worth mentioning are the specialised agencies of the United Nations (such as UNDP, FAO, WHO, UNICEF) as well as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank and other public and private donors and aid organisations.