At the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), on 25th February 2019 presented Sierra Leone Investment opportunities to investors from the Catalonian Government and private sector.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon Peter B. Konteh, blissfully welcome the delegation to Sierra Leone and assured them of the suitability of investing in the country as it is peaceful, stable and has welcoming people. He said the Government is encouraging investors to invest not only in food products, but also in processing, packaging and supply chain.
Briefing the guests further, the Minister mentioned Plans to established at least one industry in each district for social and economic reasons and decentralizing the distribution of fuel by constructing tank farms in the regions.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SLIEPA, Mr. Sheku Lexmond Koroma, thanked the Hon Ministers for making the meeting possible and the Catalonia delegation for choosing Sierra Leone. He told the guests that SLIEPA facilitates and promotes investment and export in the Country. He reechoed the Minister’s statement that the country is secured in terms of risk. He said the New Direction Government led by the President, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio is committed to doing business with credible investors on a win-win situation.
Mr. Koroma encouraged the Catalonians to invest in Sierra Leone and guaranteed them that SLIEPA will provide Aftercare Services to their business upon establishment; that they will be treated with respect, their investment will be protected, but they will be equally expected to adhere to the laws of the country.
Making the presentation, the SLIEPA Acting Director of Investment Promotion, Mr. Victor Bangura, highlighted some of the country’s achievements in terms of democratization, peace and stability and the progress in fighting corruption. “There is tremendous progress in the reformation of our business climate to ensure that we improve our ranking, to be business friendly, to attract investors that contribute to the private sector development growth for a positive impact on the economy,” he said
According to Mr. Bangura, the Country’s natural harbor is a network for global trade route and its proximity by flight to major markets such as Lagos (3 hours), Europe (6 hours) and America (8 hours) makes it a significant investment option.
He elaborated on sectoral opportunities such as Agri-Business, Energy, Infrastructure, Tourism, Extractive Industries, Fisheries, Human Capital Development, Water Sector and Health Sector. He said the government is bent on improving these priorities areas with a focus of diverting the economy from being more dependent on the extractive industry.
The leader of the delegation from Catalonia, Mr. Roman Sentmarti Castane, underscored that their mission in Sierra Leon is to explore business opportunities and make them reality for Sierra Leone and Catalonia. He said Sierra Leone has high potential for market demands and economic progress, saying that Catalonia has strong sectors in agro-fruit industry and they have the expertise to help companies in food technology. He said they produce maize, rice, olive oil and they are also in animal breeding and genetics, therefor, he said, doing business with Sierra Leone will benefit both countries.
He further registered their commitment to strengthening the relationship between Sierra Leone and Catalonia in terms of investment. Mr. Roman said they will engage their trade minister on the beautiful investment opportunities in the country. He concluded that they have a plan to organize a business forum in 2019 to create opportunity for Catalonian companies to meet Sierra Leonean companies as a way of creating market linkage.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon Abraham Sesay Jones, said the significance of the visit by the Catalonian friends is an opportunity to concrete agree on what areas they are interested in, when and how to go about it, so as to commence preparation on the Sierra Leone side. He expressed a feeling that the relationship between Sierra Leone and Catalonia has reach a stage that urges the need for them to have a space in Freetown that will facilitate trade between the two Countries, because there is so much going on between them.
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