Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited the Sierra Leone Port on Thursday morning to see the progress it’s making in its development.

tony-blair-visits-the-sierra-leone-port

While rain poured heavily, Blair spoke to reporters while standing under a tent on the Port’s tarmac. For years, Blair’s charity the Tony Blair African Governance Initiative has assisted the Sierra Leonean government with healthcare, roads, electricity and more, according to its website. It also assisted the country during the Ebola outbreak.

“Our contribution is really working with the government delivering its priorities, whether it’s in roads or power generation or health care,” Blair told reporters.

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“For many years we’ve been discussing the importance of the port and the importance of getting a really first-class port for the country, because that makes the economy move. So what it very exciting is to see today that things are really happening here and the investment that’s being made.”

Blair also touched on his relationship to Sierra Leone, before and during the time he served as Prime Minister.

“I’ve had a connection to Sierra Leone obviously for many, many years. It goes back to my childhood but also the time I was Prime Minister. I believe in the country, I know it’s been through really difficult times with the Ebola, but we’re recovering, we’re getting back on our feet again, and I’m very optimistic.”

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Abu Bakr Bangura, General Manager of the Sierra Leone Port Authority, said Blair had come to see first-hand how the port was developing, so that his charity could provide necessary assistance.

He long ago determined that the port is a strategic engine to scale up the economy of Sierra Leone,” Bangura said.