Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 January 2020:
The UK – Africa Investment Summit is over, the leaders have returned home; and the focus now is on world leaders meeting in Davos at the World Economic Forum. But the dust is yet to settle in London, as African countries begin to count the benefits brought back home from the UK – Africa Investment Summit which took place in London this week.
Several African countries welcomed their leaders home with cheer, after they succeeded in signing very important and hefty foreign direct investment deals which will create jobs, improve the prosperity of their people and grow their economies.
But in Sierra Leone, the post mortem into what has been described as the president’s and his ministers’ poor performance at the London Summit, has just begun – and it is brutal.
Many are accusing president Bio of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on airfares, hotels and luxurious few days of leisure abroad, without winning any investment or trade deal, except for the $100, 000 charity handout received from the Chelsea footballer – Rudiger, in support of the government’s children education programme.
According to the UK Foreign Office, leaders of many African countries worked hard in London to win 27 lucrative investments deals worth over £6.5 billion, including:
Four British companies signed deals with Nigeria valued more than £400 million investments; Five British companies signed deals with Ghana – worth £326,000 million in investments; and three British companies signed investment deals with Ivory Coast worth £302 million. (Photo: A happy Ghanaian president Ado with British Prime Minister Johnson).
Also there are other big British investments happening across Africa, including:
Aggreko signed an £80m contact extension for energy provision in Cote D’Ivoire; Airbus sold £80m of aircraft in Egypt; Anglo-Tunisian Oil and Gas invest £26m in Tunisian gas assets; Aqua Africa win £26m export contract to supply solar powered water filtration systems in Ghana; Baker Hughes £306m export and investment of deep-sea equipment and scholarships in Mozambique; BHM £80.3m work on the Tema-Aflao Road Project in Ghana; Bombardier’s £3,180m construction and operation of 2 monorail lines in Cairo; Contracta Construction UK win £120.5m export contract to upgrade Kumasi teaching hospital in Ghana; Contracta Construction UK win £40m export contract to develop Kumasi airport in Ghana.*
Diageo invest £167m to improved sustainability of breweries in Kenya & East Africa; Globeleq invest £50m to help build of Malindi photovoltaic solar park in Kenya; GSK invest £5m in Egypt to upgrade two production lines; Kefi Minerals invest £224m in a new gold mine and to develop local infrastructure in Kenya; Lagan Group win a £185 export contract for the construction of Kampala Industrial Business Park in Uganda; Lloyds Register invest £0.76m to set up operations in Mozambique.
Low Energy Designs win an export contract to install street lighting for Oyo state in Nigeria; Matalan invest £25m to open 13 new outlets in Egypt; Moy Park to export £12m of frozen chicken to Angola; Nexus Green export £80m of solar powered water pumping systems for irrigation in Uganda; NMS Infrastructure invest £222m in the construction of 6 hospitals in Côte D’Ivoire; Rolls Royce purchase £50m of aircraft engines in Egypt; Savannah invest £315m in the acquisition and investment of ingas assets in Nigeria. (Photo: President Bio still seating on his Lungi Bridge Proposal waiting for Investors).
Tex ATC install 5 Airport control room towers worth £2m in Nigeria; Trilliant install £5m of Smart Metering to Abuja DisCo In Nigeria; Tullow invest £1,200m in continued oil production in Kenya; Tyllium and Ellipse win an export contract worth £60m to provide 250 new beds for a general hospital in Koforidua in Ghana; Unatrac win a £1.5m export contract to supply machinery for Ugandan roads.
Whilst many of these deals are commercial exports to Africa, and may have been signed before the London Summit, the question many in Sierra Leone are asking is what has the government been doing – two years after taking over from the Koroma government.
Sierra Leone’s economy has hit rock bottom and still falling fast, with the collapse of the mining industry, and the government’s inability to address chronic structural problems facing the economy.
Yet the government has not been able to showcase any ‘live investment project’ actually taking place in the country today – not MOUs or promises, since they came to power two years ago, but real live projects being delivered.
President Bio and his ministers have been accused of running up their overseas travelling budgets to exotic places, where they are least likely to win lucrative and honest investment deals for the people of Sierra Leone. And those accusations will now, more than ever keep coming, as the dust settles and the post mortem begins, following the UK – Africa Investment Summit.
No government must be kept in office for a second term, if they do not deserve a second term, And they must be seen to be working hard with results to deserve a second term in office.
The clock is ticking, and president Bio and his ministers must step up to the plate; put their shoulders to the wheel, and start working. Otherwise, the competence of the president and his ministers will be seriously questioned, especially after making two snap waves of cabinet reshuffles in two years.
Reshuffling your way out of poor performance can only work where there is a huge supply of capable hands in the government. President Bio does not have that luxury, and must now start looking outside of his party for suitably experienced and qualified people to help run his government.