INTERN: JOSEPHINE FONIKIMBO
The India high commissioner, His Excellency, Rakesh K. Arora, and Mr. Rashid Conteh, the General Manager of Sierra Bo Gari and Secretary-General of the Sierra Leone Importers’ Association, visited the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency on the 19th January 2021 and were presented investment opportunities.
In Mr. Rashid Conteh’s submission, he noted that upon the High Commissioner taking office he visited the Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture to discuss doing business generally in the country and the trade opportunity both countries could tap into. Mr. Conteh informed that the High Commissioner is at SLIEPA to understand the workings of the Agency and to know the various investment opportunities in Sierra Leone, as result, his office will be in a better position to present same to interested businesses in India.
The India High Commissioner, H.E, Rakesh K. Arora, explained that Sierra Leone and India have enjoyed long-term political relationships. He noted that their quest for economic and commercial interest in the country bears the need for them to be abreast with the country’s investment opportunities, that they will share with companies and industries in India so that they could come to Sierra Leone and invest. In furtherance to H.E Arora’s statement, he averred that they will be specifically interested in sectors like agribusiness, mining, health, manufacturing, infrastructure; as these sectors have propelled India’s economic development, for which India has comparative advantages. He concluded by highlighting the various supports to different sectors including granting scholarships to Sierra Leonean students to pursue different programs in India in support of the country’s human capital development agenda.
In response to H.E Arora’s statement, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SLIEPA, Mr. Sheku Lexmond Koroma, congratulated the High Commissioner and thanked him for his drive to leverage economic diplomacy and strengthening a coordinated business relation between both countries. He told him that, the country as one of the safest in the world, is opened for business and that SLIEPA is ready to work with investors. The SLIEPA CEO encouraged the Indian business community through the High Commissioner to consider establishing factories in the country. Added to his submission, he outlined the enormous investment potentials waiting to be tapped into, therefore, encouraged the Indians to take advantage of the ‘first-mover advantage’, he said.
In a PowerPoint presentation, the Acting Director of Investment Promotion at SLIEPA, Mr. Victor Bangura, expounded on the country’s readiness for business and its huge investment opportunities in Agriculture, Education, Energy, Fisheries and Marine Resources, Tourism, Port, Health, Water, Mining, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, and Transportation.
Inter-alia, he further enlightened the guests about the country’s strategic access to markets around the globe, its social and political stability, duty-free access to global markets (EU, USA, ECOWAS, Mano River Union), investment incentives (both exemption and deduction), the Public-Private Framework and the steps involved in registering foreign companies in Sierra Leone.