Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 March 2016
Sierra Leonean business magnate, investor and philanthropist Mr Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika, has been appointed as the first Goodwill and Business Ambassador for the Commonwealth Africa Initiative.
This surprised appointment was announced at the Commonwealth Africa Summit held in London last Wednesday, 16th March 2016. Many Sierra Leoneans are expecting Fadika to contest the 2018 presidential election in Sierra Leone.
The summit brought together world leaders and personalities from across the 53 Commonwealth countries.
Presidents, former presidents, ministers, high commissioners, members of parliament, policy-makers, representatives of the private sector, civil society, diaspora organisations, youth groups, Commonwealth agencies, academia, celebrities and the media, also attended the summit.
Fadika’s appointment was announced by the former president of Nigeria – Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the new Co-chair of the Commonwealth Africa Initiative – part of the New Commonwealth Programme, alongside Dr. Caroline Harper OBE and Baroness Flather.
According to statement released by the Moseray Fadika Trust, this appointment underscores Fadika’s iconic status and outstanding leadership virtues and commitment to Africa’s development.
The statement says that Fadika will be a critical voice for the Commonwealth Africa Initiative, in advancing Africa’s agenda in the Commonwealth and globally. He was also presented with an international award for outstanding leadership and service to the people of Africa.
President Obasanjo stressed that Ambassador Fadika will be a champion for the Commonwealth Africa Initiative, in promoting peace and development in the region.
In his role as Goodwill and Business Ambassador for Trade, Investment, Business and Charitable Work of the Commonwealth Africa Initiative, Fadika’s engagement will contribute significantly to attracting investment and mobilising resources towards the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The statement from the Fadika Trust says that Ambassador Fadika’s knowledge, leadership skills and dedication to Africa’s development will play a pivotal role in opening markets, increasing trade and encouraging investment; and will contribute to government-to-government engagement with international partners and the private sector.
He will also engage in the work of eradicating extreme poverty for people in the Commonwealth by creating jobs, investing in education, health, housing and other sectors, the statement reads.
’’It is indeed a historic moment for me. I consider it a blessing to have this golden opportunity to champion the cause of Africa at regional and international level, promoting business as well as engaging and empowering poor people including women and youth, working alongside other eminent Commonwealth leaders. We must eradicate poverty. We are born poor, but we must not die poor”, said Ambassador Fadika.
Before the award ceremony, Ambassador Fadika delivered a keynote address on the theme “Shared Prosperity: Mutual Security” at the Commonwealth Africa Summit held at the prestigious Tag Hotel in Buckingham Gate in London, United Kingdom, from the 14th to 16th March 2016.
Ambassador Fadika said: “My country, Sierra Leone experienced a major crisis due to the impact of the Ebola epidemic, and the associated damage to communities and livelihoods. The economy was hit the hardest, with business closures and rising unemployment further devastating a country that had not too long emerged from a decade of civil conflict.
“Our business was seriously affected. As co-founder and Executive Chairman, I was greatly involved in the work of African Minerals Limited, a minerals exploration, development and mining company with significant interests in Sierra Leone, which was forced into administration due to the Ebola crisis.
“We worked very hard to rescue the mining sector and brought in new investments. We survived! Now we have Shandong Steel SL Ltd, Pan African Minerals Ltd and we are working across 16 countries in Africa. We appreciate the support provided and are grateful to the Commonwealth, the international community and my fellow Sierra Leoneans in tackling the Ebola virus. Together, we defeated Ebola’’.
Ambassador Fadika emphasised his commitment to uniting and empowering people across Africa and to being a champion to advance business, trade and investment in Africa and across the Commonwealth. He underlined the importance of eradicating extreme poverty and helping poor people work their way out of poverty.
The summit began with a wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial Gate where Ambassador Fadika, for the first time in history laid a wreath on behalf of Sierra Leone, in honour of those killed in the 2nd World war.
Ambassador Fadika also attended the Commonwealth Day Service at the Westminster Abbey on the 14th of March 2016, in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and The Duke of York.
Also present at the ceremony were; Dr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations; Dr. Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta and the new Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth; H.E. Kamalesh Sharma, outgoing Secretary-General of the Commonwealth; H.E. Baroness Scotland, incoming Secretary-General of the Commonwealth; H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria; Hon. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and several world leaders.
The Queen’s annual Commonwealth Day message was central to the ceremony held at Westminster Abbey; and in it, she said: “Today, and in the year ahead, the theme ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ is an inspiration for us all. Let us give it practical effect by supporting those in need and those who feel excluded in all walks of life. By doing so, we will continue to build a truly representative Commonwealth community.”
Ambassador Fadika also joined the Commonwealth Secretary General, H.E. Kamalesh Sharma at the Commonwealth Young Leaders Award Ceremony, held at Marlborough House, the Secretariat of the Commonwealth. Ambassador Fadika expressed his interest in supporting and investing in young people in the Commonwealth, through the Commonwealth Youth programme.
According to the statement from the Moseray Fadika Trust; Ambassador Fadika came from a humble background. He was born in poverty and struggled to pay his school fees. Despite these difficulties and challenges, Ambassador Fadika never lost hope and continued in his efforts to seek a better life. He graduated from university and went on to become a magnate in the business sector. Ambassador Fadika is today one of the leading entrepreneurs in Africa and he is regarded as Africa’s success story.
Ambassador Fadika is the Vice Chairman of Shandong Steel SL Ltd and Executive Director of Pan Africa Minerals Ltd, with a cumulative investment portfolio of over 3.1 billion United States dollars in Africa.
With promising investments in iron ore, oil and gas and related resources in nine West African countries, among them Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Niger, Ambassador Fadika is said to have helped provide jobs for over 10,000 youths in the region.
Ambassador Fadika has established the Moseray Fadika Trust, which he says is providing jobs for thousands of young people, offering educational scholarships, building schools, and providing housing support.
The statement by the Moseray Fadika Trust Ambassador Fadika also says that Fadika is committed to promoting better governance in Africa, and strengthening the capacities of people and communities to achieve a fairer and a more peaceful world.
Will Moseray Fadika be contesting the presidency of Sierra Leone at the 2018 elections?