Modi to share successmantra with Sierra Leone

PATNA: In the last five years, Bihar’s still unfolding turnaround story under the Nitish Kumar-led government has generated much interest both nationally and globally. The state, which scholars loved to dismiss as “benighted godforsaken land”, has emerged as an inspiration to rise from the kind of ruins that normally mark economically underdeveloped and politically war-torn Third World societies.

Now, the government of Sierra Leone in Africa has found a parallel in the experience of seemingly unredeemable two-decade-old violence and social strife witnessed in Bihar since the 1980s. It has evinced interest in picking up a few themes from Bihar’s recent story to rebuild its own country.

As it is, the African nation on Saturday sent a formal invite to Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi on Saturday to attend a conference. Herbert M’cleod, director of three-day ‘Sierra Leone Conference on Development and Transformation’ and adviser to his country’s president Ernest Bai Koroma, minced no words in this regard when he said: “(Sierra Leone) is beset with problems similar to those prevalent in Bihar just over 10 years ago. Bihar, however, seems to have achieved a rapid turnaround and is now experiencing rapid growth while maintaining a stable and peaceful society.”

The three-day conference begins in its capital Free Town on January 30 for a “rethink” on the part of its government with regard to its “development strategy and to chart a way forward towards peace and prosperity after 50 years of Independence.”

M’cleod’s invite to Modi added, “While we recognize the cultural and other differences that may render the full replication of the Bihar experience in Sierra Leone difficult, we believe that there are many lessons that could be gleaned from your transformation story that could be useful to Sierra Leone. In particular, a description of how you were able to overcome difficult odds will contribute to galvanize our population into action.”

While the conference would bring together 400 participants from “various walks of life”, including members of the Sierra Leone diaspora, Modi would present the Bihar story for 30 minutes and then face the question-answer session for 45 minutes, apart from interacting with the media, including a televised debate, as M’cleod has mentioned, “on the challenges you encountered in effecting the dramatic transformation” in Bihar. Modi is leaving for Sierra Leone, located along the southern rim of western Horn of Africa along Atlantic Ocean, from Delhi on Saturday.

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