President Bio appeals for trustworthy and patient investors to come to Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 February 2020:

President Dr Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has today said that while the country is now open to specific partnerships that would support the integration of mining-related training and harness mining-specific technology to create innovation hubs that would guarantee the country’s strategic education outcomes, he is looking forward to working with the right partners.

Speaking at the Mining Indaba – the world’s largest mining investment taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, the president said: “……what we want as a nation are trustworthy, credible, and patient investors – investors who value fair and ethical business principles and practices; investors who are interested in a sustainable, long-term relationship with our country.

“You see, business is not a zero-sum game and it should not be. Business is transactional in essence. Renegotiation’ and compromise are not dirty words in business. All we seek, as a country is a cordial engagement in which all parties get to a meeting of minds on how best to re-shape and develop that investor-host country relationship, so that we both have a win-win outcome,” he said.

President Bio, who has taken a strong and deliberate position on fighting corruption, informed the gathering of investors that his government has been down hard on corruption since his election in 2018, adding that the country’s mining-sector policies are well thought-out and informed by the principles of transparency and accountability at all levels.

“If a deal does not look right and smell right, we would rather leave it outside the homestead. As a Government, we want patient and credible investor partners. We are not interested in players who speculate against what they argue are unproven reserves or unclear geological and technical data in order to wring out unfair deals.

“We have completed a nationwide airborne geophysical survey. We now have very high-resolution datasets from that survey. The preliminary indications are that we have extensive proven reserves of metals and ores,” he said.

President Bio also said that patient and credible investors would study the datasets and then engage with the country’s mining sector professionals and the government in frank and open dialogue, on how they could do business over the long term.

Sierra Leone’s Director-General of National Minerals Agency (NMA), Julius Daniel Mattai, told a country-specific case study event, which featured presentations and discussions of the first-ever such sophisticated nationwide airborne geophysical survey since 1930, that resource depletion is a reality in a country with over 60% unemployment rate and massive poverty and illiteracy.

“Therefore, we must learn from the mistakes of the past. Acquiring geophysical information is good, especially with the type of datasets and various derivatives fantastically showing these mineral resources. But data must be properly managed to surmount the massive challenges and make sure that we have the platform that allows investors to access them online and define areas they are interested in and express interest,” he said.

Mr Mattai also announced that by end of March, they would have had the online platform where potential investors could access and buy the datasets, clearly stating the procedures and processes to access and use the information.

“With the Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation, we will make sure that intellectual property rights and privacy are managed by using the requisite algorithm. We have a President that is determined to make Sierra Leone the new destination for investment and we at NMA will make it work from a win-win perspective,” he assured.

READ PRESIDENT BIO’s FULL STATEMENT HERE:

Keynote Statement Delivered by His Excellency, President Dr Julius Maada Bio, at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa – 3 February 2020

4 Comments

  1. If I am an Investor I will not want to hear those kind of words used by the President, which makes for uncomfortable listening. I am not sure who writes speeches for the President, but this seems to be out of touch with corporate language.

    The President could have spent his speech on the good things Sierra Leone has to offer investors in the mining sector for eg concessions, waivers, quality of minerals etc. The government should be reminded that investors want a favorable return on capital employed with other countries competing for these investments.

  2. This President,and his government are a train wreck waiting to happen, an economic disaster looms on the horizons for the good people of Sierra Leone. What’s wrong with this confused President and his army of Professors? In a noteworthy, outstanding event like the Mining Idaba that is usually packed, overcrowded with prospective Investors, you don’t use words like “Trustworthy” and “Patient” when addressing double minded capitalists. It creates feelings of uneasiness, scepticism and fear?

    Again, lets be realistic, Investors have time frames for achieving financial targets,obligations to uphold,and loans to maintain. Where exactly does this Inadequate President seriously think an attitude of Patience aptly fits in? This is just plainly naïve and childish!

    When addressing investors, your focus should be on highlighting the special concessions you are willing to provide and compromises you are prepared to make in order to ensure relationships with investors blast off from a solid footing, based on mutual understanding and respect. Instead of saying we are looking for “Patient” investors I would advise that they use the word, “Highly committed”; and instead of “Trustworthy” why not use “Dependable” or “Highly motivated?”

    One word can be the game changer, and the much needed master key that opens tightly locked doors. Again, the world is now aware that our country is a frightening place, where Power and authority of government can be easily used as brutally effective weapons to threaten, bully, intimidate and shortchange harmless investors, or what rightfully belongs to them. The minster of mines, Mr Rado and his boss are mean-spirited, cruel and lawless people, that have already tarnished the image of our country globally by refusing to comply with an arbitrary international court order ruling against them. These inept, shady people should have no involvement in managing the affairs of a poor, struggling nation like our own.

    Their protruding potbellies, cannot understand what excruciating hunger really means to the starving, desperate poor people of our beloved Sierra Leone…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • The great Sayedna – as you have always articulated, this PAOPA faction of leadership are completely out of touch with reality. What do you expect from a bunch of classroom professors who goes around touting their educational credentials claiming to be the highly educated and know everything in the universe? The words, diplomacy, meticulous, patience, and humble, are all foreign to them.

      What we have is a clownish regime filled with the most egotistical crop of Sierra Leoneans whose actions will bring nothing but hardship to the poor masses. I just don’t understand why they think investors will bend backwards to appease a wretched nation as ours. If anything, we should be the one begging investors and putting the right incentives so they could come to our country, not the other way round.

  3. I saw this response below from Andrew Keili to president Bio’s speech at the mining event in South Africa. Why does the president see the need to use fake and superfluous language to people who simply want the truth and reality about Sierra Leone’s investment potential. The person writing the president’s speech really needs their head seen to by Dr Nahim.

    Read Keili’s comment:

    This is a very laboured speech and I am wondering who convinced him to talk about “big data analytics, AI, robotics, drone technology and 4IR technologies. He does mention revision of laws,legal issues and regulatory systems, macroeconomic foundations etc. which are germane but he merely mentions these without going a bit further.

    Amongst the top ten criteria transnational companies consider important for investments into the mining sector are geologic potential for target minerals, security of tenure, consistency and constancy of policies, realistic foreign exchange regulations, stability of exploration/mining terms, stability of fiscal regime. Those of us who are opportuned to work with risk analysts for investors and hear their views know there is great concern for a lot of these issues.

    The President’s speech is way off the mark in my view and is not convincing ebough to assuage their fears. One other worrying sign even with current players in the sector is the very short term nature of their planning and sub contracting certain aspects of their normal operation with probably a view to reduce losses should things go awry.

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