The Sierra Leone Investment and Export promotion Agency (SLIEPA) in collaboration with Development Market Associates (DMA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has on the 29th October, 2019 ended a two-day Trade and investment mission hosted at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Freetown Sierra Leone.
Welcoming the visiting delegation, Mr. Bernard Sisay, the Moderator of the event, stated that the Sierra Leone Trade and investment mission was a follow up from the President, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio’s visit to the United Kingdom (UK) where he led Government Delegation to present Sierra Leone investment opportunities to a wider network of businesses in the Sierra Leone Trade and Investment Summit organized by the Sierra Leone High Commission to UK and the Development Market Associate (DMA) in June this year. Thereafter, the interested investors decided to visit Sierra Leone to discuss sectoral opportunities with the view of registering their presence in the Country, he said.
The Deputy Sierra Leone High Commissioner to UK, Mrs. Agness Dugba Macauley, said the composition of government officials and other cooperate organizations was to build up on the Sierra Leone Uk trade summit, saying that development and business walk on the same path, therefore President Bio has put education and developing human capital at the top of Government’s scale of reference, thus, bringing in the right investors will definitely produce the desired result for present and future generation.
Mr. Simon Tonge, from DMA, said their role is to help government to organize international summits for government officials and other cooperate businesses to present investment opportunities to international audience. He said the Sierra Leone Trade Mission was dynamic, positive and credible, considering the caliber of people in attendance; he therefore encouraged the investors from mostly UK, Vietnam and Germany to take the opportunities available to them.
According to the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Hon Memunatu Pratt, tourism the world over is one of the fastest growing investment areas; it increases Country’s GDP especially in the area of foreign exchange. She said Sierra Leone is still struggling to create jobs for young people and to ensure that social economic infrastructural development is enhanced, hence there are many opportunities in tourism that are able to address some of these pressing concerns. She therefore drew the attention of the investors to the many investment opportunities including the Country’s need to transform some of its 22 beaches and 16 Islands into any important entertainment development areas in the world. She further mentioned investment opportunities in water transportation systems, airline and hotel infrastructure.
Presenting highlights of investment opportunities in Sierra Leone, the Acting Director of Investment Promotion Department in SLIEPA, Mr. Victor Bangura, presented market opportunities mentioning the Mano River Union (MRU), ECOWAS, and the proximity of Sierra Leone to the European and American markets, especially with the advantage of AGOA scheme that allows the entering of products from low income countries into the US Market on duty-free.
He said the Country has launched the Medium Term National Development Plan, which identified the national goals. He presented sectoral opportunities such as Agribusiness, Energy, Infrastructure, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Mineral Resources, Marine Fisheries, Tourism, Education and Health; looking at agriculture as one of the priority areas of the government with loaded opportunities such as poultry, small ruminants production, tree crops, cash crop, cereal and rice farming.
He noted that the Anti- Corruption Commission is robust in fighting corruption. The government awards fiscal and non-fiscal incentive to potential investors establishing business in the Country; ending that many policy reforms are in progress to ensure a conducive business environment.
In his statement commencing the second day of the program, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), thanked the visiting delegates for choosing Sierra Leone. He clearly explained the mandate of SLIEPA and committed the Agency to working with the potential investors from pre-establishment to post-establishment. He encouraged them not to hesitate to do business in the Country as their businesses will be protected; being that the President Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio is intense in making Sierra Leone the business destination in West Africa.
Other MDAs that made presentations included, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, Nectar Group, Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Corporate Affairs Commission, National Investment Board, Ministry of Finance, Bank of Sierra Leone, SLCB, Ministry of Energy, Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone (REASL), Petroleum Directorate – Office of the President, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Unit – Office of the President, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Works and Public Assets, Presidential Infrastructure Initiative, National Minerals Agency and the National Commission for Privatization.