FREETOWN, April 27 (Xinhua) -- President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone said Thursday he will be leaving office next year and "graciously hand over" to his succesor.
In his last state-of-the-nation address, delivered on the country's 56th independence anniversary, Koroma said he was leaving a "legacy of peace and unity" that all Sierra Leoneans should be committed to defend.
A presidential election has been scheduled for March 2018.
Koroma commended the country for its resilience, noting that over the years, he has observed that his countrymen have learnt to overcome the challenges of war, disease and division.
He said that during his last 10 years of service, he is proud of what the country has achieved, adding that Sierra Leone has experienced an uninterrupted peace and stability of governance rated as one of the most "peaceful in the continent."
During his tenure, he said, the country has also attracted an "unmatched record of foreign investments" resulting in the employment of many of the country's young people especially in the extractive sector.
Koroma called on his people to stick to the country's motto of "unity, freedom and justice."