Ahead of the March 2018 General Elections, Sierra Leone continues to attract investors in different sectors. This further underscores the level of confidence the investment and donor community has in the country’s investment opportunities and existing business climate. The Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) has set a transformation target for the country’s benchmark for investment, private sector development and the country’s economic growth.
In October 2017, President Koroma appointed a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at SLIEPA, Dylan Sogie-Thomas who is working closely with the Board of Directors to transform the institution through the current restructuring programme. Dylan who served as Private Sector Adviser in the Strategic and Policy Unit at the Office of the President, set a transformation target. His initiative is yielding dividends with the attraction of more investments, exports and the attention of development partners to work with SLIEPA.
“I want to make SLIEPA great” he told newsmen, pointing out that his 100 days’ target to repositioning the agency is in line with the Government Agenda for Prosperity.
Last week, the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone Guy Warrington made a courtesy call at SLIEPA. The diplomat assured the agency of more support and international trade links.
During a short meeting, the British High Commissioner said the United Kingdom Government, DFID and EU will continue to support SLIEPA if they implement the restructuring of new documents and fulfill promises made to reviewing old documents. He went on to say that they will create more trade linkages with more British companies if the next government creates a level playing field for all including trade laws that will encourage investors and private sector. “I will give you contacts of British Companies,” he assured.
President Koroma on the 24th January 2018 launched the Queen Elizabeth 11 Ports expansion project in Freetown. The expansion project upon completion is projected to create several jobs, investments and attract more business across the world.
The twin projects are being constructed by NECTAR Port Terminal expansion and the proposed construction of the transshipment Terminal by the National Ports Development Company.
The expansion will rebrand the Queen Elizabeth Ports into a modern trans-shipment hub in the West Africa sub region. According to the Sierra Leonean Government, the total investment in the project amounts to about US$1billion. “A billion-dollar investment cannot come into any country that lacks trust in its government and structures in place,” said President Koroma.
The launching ceremony attracted several members of the business communities, Development Partners and members of the Diplomatic community including the Chinese Ambassador and the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone. The Chinese and British diplomats committed to support the Government of Sierra Leone in their bid to attract investors that will create necessary jobs and opportunities for Sierra Leoneans.
The port expansion will be extended eastwards creating a new berth for the provision of modern cargo handling equipment for break and bulk operations. The National Commission for Privatization (NCP) supervises the general operations of the Ports and also doubles as the Prudential Stakeholder representing the Government and people of Sierra Leone.
In another development, the Chief Executive Officer, Dylan Sogie-Thomas and Farrel Elliott, Director of Investment Promotion SLIEPA are currently in China on the invitation of the United Nations Commutech Group (UNCG) to have series of meetings with potential investors showcasing the investment opportunities across all the sectors in the country. UNCG is the first Chinese group residing at the United Nations committed to making the world more peaceful through cultural exchange and more prosperous through economic investments. The SLIEPA team is very positive of the outcome of the meetings held so far with potential investors in China and are positive that some of them will visit Sierra Leone before the upcoming elections in March this year.