Sierra Leone government failed to woo investors at UK – Africa investment summit

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.

11 Comments

  1. Above all, the government (the president and his ministers) need to work hard inorder to attract investors next time.

  2. Your present tribal lord has not got a clue on how to propel his ‘new direction’ vessel. For almost two years now he is still trying to figure out his ultimate destination – whether to continue down south, wastwards … or eastwards. Not surprisingly, he has lost the coordinates of Sierra Leone, as the chart has been blurred amidst various tribal and sadistic plots by his inner core of elitist henchmen.

    Chaos everywhere! All economic variables are indicating negative. The seemingly reclusive President, who in most times is in mute mode, has travelled out of the country for over 70 times, supposedly in search of investments; and for over 70 times, he has yet to discover a cent in his begging bowl. Something appears to be wrong here. Is the world taking this President seriously, or do they see him as a deceitful amateur conman – after researching his paopa human rights abuses back home – during his visits? How long are the poor masses going to wait for Maada Bio’s ‘new direction’ vessel to deliver the goods?

    Perhaps, the ‘new direction’ vessel would have to take a complete ‘U’ turn in order to create the right conditions for a smooth ride to the appropriate end game. One of the most prolific physicists and philosophers in the 20th century, Albert Einstein, once said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome”. Most certainly, with the right adjustments in line with national unity, inclusivity and cooperation, Maada Bio’s vessel would have been successful by continuing at least in the margins of EBK’s ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ – as governance is a way continuity in most aspects of the development framework.

    Yet. You will never stop at anything to make sure the former President, Ernest Bai Koroma (EBK) is somehow incriminated so that he can be discredited for setting the standard as the best President in democratic Sierra Leone – in terms of economic development, social cohesion, respect of individual rights, natural justice, security and peace – that the country has ever had since gaining independence in 1961.

    You accept his weak points or misfortunes (of course he is a human being) and then always want to turn his positives into negatives. You despise either side of him – apart from his downfall! Just because you want him to feature badly among your old and new ‘heroes’, whose overriding sentimental motivation is/was to divide, and waste the great resources of this tiny, rich and beautiful nation. But within your conscience, you are quite aware that your demigods are not of his class. How do you call this: divide and rule, tribalism, or bluff?

    What a terrible, envious and deceitful way of thinking it is. No wonder they call you the Sierra Leone Peoples Problem (SLPP). Without your tribalistic arrogance and indifference to matters pertaining to the development of this country, as a whole, Sierra Leone could have been the Dubai of Africa today. Or the Malaysia of Africa? But all you are interested in is centrifuging people into your primitive way of thinking.

  3. I am really surprised that those who govern Sierra Leone do not seem to see the obvious. Both foreign governments and private investors care about where they invest or place their efforts to ‘help’ and/or profit. Even rich and credible aid organizations do not want to waste their money.

    If the governors of Sierra Leone want to attract investors and charitable organzations, they must improve their governance in practical ways that are visible to private businesses and aid organizations. Talking is not good enough. Practical evidence is what matters more and more.

    Interests of governments, organizations, and private businesses will begin to show serious practical interest in Sierra Leone when they see and believe that there is a coherent and practical economic framework in place, sound and coherent economic policies being designed and implemented, as well as credible organization within the ruling regime to ensure continuous implementation of coherent policies outlined by the government. In other words, the world wants to see a ‘system’ that is being run efficiently and economically.

    I wish those who rule the country good luck in seeing the obvious and being able to act appropriately. Simply big talk does not get national governors far, in the modern world.

  4. Good Day brothers and Sisters. As someone once said “SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT GOOD FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR COUNTRY” What do you guys expect from the Africa investment summit in UK? Investors? IF you say YES, I will say YOU ARE VERY VERY STUPID. I will also say you are one of those that the Speaker once said “SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT GOOD FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR COUNTRY”. I want to say Sorry for to those who genuinely want Investment in Sierra Leone. NOW TAKE MY POINT:

    Let’s say I have a Business Enterprise and I am looking for someone to join me develop the business; you put out a press release that if anyone wants help to develop his/her business, let them come to your compound. After putting all my best words to go and convince you there, which I did well, I met my my family and friends standing at your door shouting, Edward is a criminal, he is a rapist, he is a 419er, don’t do business with him, don’t go close to him, he is not trust worthy etc.

    WHAT WILL YOU DO?
    Will you help me? Will you give me a loan? Will you send your son or daughter to come and spend some time with me? IF YES then you are right to expect something from the Investment Summit.

    Those PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT GOOD FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR COUNTRY were standing at the entrance of the Summit holding Photos of MAKE-UP WOUNDS as if they were acting MOVIES. They were shouting here and there until one small white boy got angry and stoned one of them for causing NOISE.

    My Borthers and Sisters IF SALONE BETTEH NA FOR ALL MAN, IF SALONE PWELL NA ALL MAN DAE SUFFER. Those in power before and now will never suffer, but you and I who argue for them. Once more IF SALONE BETTEH NA FOR ALL MAN, IF SALONE PWELL NA ALL MAN DAE SUFFER. LONTA!! THANK YOU.

  5. When President Koroma came to Power in 2007, he inherited Investors like African Minerals and London Mining Company (both UK registered entities,) already in the country. There was already the Titanium and Bauxite company. These and others poured in thier money by paying in advance mining fees. By 2017 many especially the two UK entities had left and were replaced by a single Chinese company under dubious agreement.

    Today, without going into the history as to why business entities from the UK would be hesitant to go to a place where the return on investment is not guaranteed, the author -an NGC registered supporter is insinuating that the problem is created by the current government.

    Uganda which has two suppressive wars going on with a president for life, who arrests and beats and locks up opposition leaders for daring to hold a concert. Nigeria and Egypt where opposition leaders die in government custody, can get investment from UK and yet to the author cannot figure out how and why.

  6. It’s a no brainer to acknowledge that, if you want to be respected and taken serious by your neighbors or friends alike, you must make sure your household is in order and you maintain a foothold in the security apparatus of your subordinates. Scanning along the above list of countries that are reported to have walked away smiling after the summit, a thorough inspection will reveal some aspect of political stability and the observation of the rule of law.

    While most of these African countries are no saints when it comes to corruption, they have however maintained some semblance of political stability and the rule of law. Consider Nigeria for example – by all indications, it’s one of the most corrupt African nations; however, there are hardly any reports of targeted political corruption persecutions. When the current president Buhari came into office, like president Bio, he declared war on corruption; however, his fight against corruption was not specific or limited to opposition figures. He went after foe and friends alike, hence maintaining peace, stability, confidence and sincerity in his fight against corruption. This is definitely not the case in president Bio’s approach.

    By all indications, the current regime’s thirst for revenge, coupled with their overzealousness and tenacity to be seen as having full and absolute control of all aspects of our political landscape, led to many of the political tensions we are experiencing at the moment. Besides setting up the commission of Inquiry, which targeted mainly previous regime officials, the administration wasted no time in making sure they maintain total control of all aspect of our government — forcing the sitting chief justice to resign and appoint a loyal one, influencing NEC officials in every bye-elections, and using the judiciary to steal majority control in parliament from the opposition.

    Just as they wish, they have managed to obtain absolute control. They have the parliament, the judiciary, and the presidency. It appears having a grip on power by all means (PAOPA) was more important to them than national cohesion and economic development. Like everything in life, there is always unintended consequences. In this case, the regime has managed to create negative image of instability in our nation, thereby making potential investors very nervous.

  7. May the good Lord continue to bless you and your family for pointing out the real truth why we returned home empty handed, like’ boiled eggs. ‘No speck of remnants in the pot (no krawo). The intimidation, harassments, lies, corruption, etc continue unabated. The good people are watching all the activities going on in our Country. No meaningful investor will ever come to our Country. There is a God watching us.

  8. Honestly, All those things written by the auditors is what the UK has been investing in Africa before SLPP took power. How many investment conferences benefited us under the past Administration. So lets wait and see. We should consider Sierra Leone first. Not party. If that is the case what lucrative deal the APC ever got from the UK that is sustainable without a SCAM.

    Koroma Government will be remembered in the history of this country as the most corrupt Government, So look at your past history before you judge. God will help the president succeed. The past ministers, ministers of today, civil service that involved in corruption will pay the price and their entire Generation will pay also. You have been destroying this country.

  9. I’m not surprised. Our $20 million project only needed the nod of approval from Maada Bio and his senior execs to enable us to succeed – but was ignored. Maybe because the idea of SL establishing itself as a regional maritime innovator is too much to take on board.

    • Plesse Sir, can you educate us more about the said Project above? Thanks very much in advance.

  10. Telling me! The present UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is very kind, progressive and compassionate. He is someone who likes to get/see things done. In fact, he made it a point of duty to visit some African countries when he was Foreign Secretary. That alone tells you how serious he is about helping Africa. It was not for visiting sake he made those journeys. Does anyone knows why he did not visit Sierra Leone? Only God knows.

    Just imagine what he did for London and Londoners when he was Mayor of London. The Massive infrastructure projects that he undertook to make London and Londoners happy. As I said sometime ago, his administration wants to help Africa but there are conditions that countries have to fulfill. If any country went home with nothing this time, means, those countries have to get their political, economical, social and environmental issues sorted. That is why I am advocating to “get SALONE sorted”. If we don’t sort our country out, then, we are not going to be friends of the Johnson Administration.

    I hope the President will do his best to sort the MESS the country is now in. To be honest, the APC definitely is going to fulfill the conditions the Johnson administration is looking for if they win in 2023, which I have no doubt about.
    So, Mr President, please change course and rule the country as a government and not as a party. That is how you start to “get SALONE sorted”.

    However, the President is coming back home with $ 100.000. Applause from me for the President. God bless President Bio. God bless all those African countries that were able to woo investors because of taking care of their people. God bless Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his administration and the people of the UK.

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