Ernest Bai Koroma
Fourth President of Sierra Leone
Ernest Bai Koroma is the fourth President of Sierra Leone. He was sworn in on September 17th 2007 after receiving 54.6% of the vote over the incumbent Vice President Solomon Berewa.
Born in Makeni, Sierra Leone on October 2, 1953, Koroma is the eldest of seven children. His father, Pa Sylvanus Koroma, was a bible school teacher at the Wessleyan Church in Makeni. Pa Sylvanus was also a prominent supporter of president Siaka Stevens’ government. Koroma’s mother, Maddam Alice Evelyn Koroma, spent almost her entire career as a primary school teacher in Makeni. Koroma is considered an ethnic Temne due to his father’s ethnic group.
Koroma attended the Sierra Leone Church Primary School in Makeni, and then proceeded to the Magburaka Government Secondary School for Boys in Magburaka. After graduating from secondary school, Koroma moved to the capital Freetown, about 110 miles from his hometown, to attend the Fourah Bay College. He graduated in 1976 with a degree in Business Management.
After spending some time as a secondary school teacher, Koroma joined the Sierra Leone National Insurance Company in 1978. In 1985, he joined the Reliance Insurance Trust Corporation (Ritcorp), and in 1988, he became Managing Director of Ritcorp, remaining in that position for 14 years.
Koroma is married to Sia Nyama Koroma, the daughter of former Sierra Leone’s Attorney General and Minister of natural resources Abu Aiah Koroma. Sia Nyama Koroma is a biochemist and an ethnic Kono from Kono District. The couple were married on October 18, 1986. They have two daughters, Alice and Danke
In January, 2002, Bai Koroma was virtually unknown in Sierra Leone, but announced his candidacy for the leadership of the All People’s Congress (APC) ahead of the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections. He was elected leader of the APC in March that year.
Just five years later he was formally inaugurated as President in Freetown. He promised to fight corruption and emphasised the importance of changing people’s attitudes towards it. Koroma also vowed to fight against the mismanagement of the country’s resources and that he “would run Sierra Leone like a business concern”, emphasizing agriculture and tourism.
He further promised his government would increase the GDP per capita; reduce poverty and increase jobs; pledged the provision of electricity not only in the urban areas, but to all parts of Sierra Leone.