Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 October 2019:
President Julius Maada Bio yesterday left Freetown for Russia and the United Arab Emirates, where he will meet investors and discuss the potential Sierra Leone offers for investment in key sectors of the country’s economy, such as farming, energy, tourism, mining and agro-processing.
The president will commence his week-long itinerary In Russia, where he will attend the Russia –Africa Summit and Economic Forum, which starts tomorrow – 23rd October in Sochi.
According to State House in Freetown, President Bio will participate in a plenary session of the Russia-Africa Economic Forum, where delegates will discuss potential economic opportunities that can be gained by building a closer Russia – Africa cooperation.
The theme for the Economic Forum is: “Russia and Africa: Uncovering the Potential for Cooperation”.
On 24th October, the Russia-Africa Summit will be co-chaired by the President of the Russian Federation – Vladimir Putin and the President of Egypt – Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is also the current Chairman of the African Union.
The Summit is expected to look at the current state and prospects of Russia’s relations with African countries; and the expansion of political, economic, technical and cultural cooperation.
President Bio will deliver a statement at the Summit, where he will highlight Russia’s support for Sierra Leone, the opportunities for future trade and investment; and will seek to commit Sierra Leone to a lasting economic partnership with Russia.
While in Russia, President Bio will also engage in several meetings on the margins of the Economic Forum and Summit to attract investments for Sierra Leone.
After the Russia – African Summit on the 24th October, President Bio and his wife – Mrs Fatima Bio, will travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he will discuss investment opportunities with Elite Agro – a leading producer and distributor of agricultural commodities.
Elite Agro and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are currently in discussion, and hoping to sign a Cooperative Agreement for a farming project on 14,000 hectares of arable land at the Rhombe Swamp in Port Loko District, Sierra Leone. The President will tour Elite Agro Farms.
President Julius Maada Bio will also meet the executives of the Mohammad Omar Bin Haider Holding Group (MOBH), a leading diversified business conglomerate with interests in real estate, healthcare, education, hotel and tourism, manufacturing, and infrastructure, to discuss the President’s Infrastructure vision and proposed projects.
Sierra Leone needs over $500 million investment in key economic sectors to create jobs, tackle poverty and accelerate economic growth. More than 60% of the country’s economically active population are longterm unemployed.
The government is also seeking private investors to help achieve its $2 Billion infrastructure programme in the next three years, such as the government’s proposed bridge across the Rokel river from Lungi to Freetown.