President Bio urges South Africa to lead Africa’s trade and investments drive

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 February 2020:

On Wednesday, 5 February 2020, President Dr Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, urged South Africa’s leading mining investors, the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on minerals and energy, investment bankers, finance and stock exchange experts to lead the intra-African trade and investments strategic drive.

“You are still not looking beyond South Africa. You are way ahead in terms of a lot of things, irrespective of the challenges. You only have to go beyond the boundaries to know that you have a whole lot to offer the rest of the continent. I see many things that are manufactured here, but we go out of the content to China and Europe to buy. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is looming and we must preposition ourselves as a continent,” the president said.

“So, when we talk about a paradigm shift, it means we must not place restrictions on ourselves. Again technology should help us catch up with the rest of the world. After our meeting the other day, I realised that there is so much wealth, in terms of money and knowledge here but we are not talking,” he told the South Africans.

President Bio said that South Africa should take leadership and help others to realise that the continent belongs to Africans who should be in control of the continent’s resources, rather than workers.

He added that South Africa is way ahead of countries like Sierra Leone, which is now looking forward to learning from South Africa.

The African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, accepted President Bio’s challenge, and him that South Africa is open to exchange of ideas, especially the indigenisation of the mining sector while taking further steps to combat financial leakages that erode the country’s taxation base, profit shifting and illicit money flows.

He also offered to assist the government of Sierra Leone, as the Bio-led government is now preparing to review the country’s Mines and Minerals Act of 2009.

He said South Africa is willing and ready to share experiences on how the law could support ownership models, close tax evasion loopholes such as transfer pricing, transparency and sharing of information.

President of the National Union of Mine Workers, Joseph Montisetse, told President Bio that although his Union might clash with the government sometimes, they have always supported many mining community-specific development projects that have complemented the government’s national vision.

“We have helped the government to establish rules for trading in mineral wealth. We have built colleges, mining companies and trained our membership because we believe that trade unions must plough back into the country. With minerals in Sierra Leone, we are hopeful that you will take your people out of the setbacks of the past. We want to meet our counterparts there and share ideas through exchange programmes,” he said.

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