Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 September 2018:
President Julius Maada Bio wooed investors at the opening ceremony of the 4th Investing in Africa Forum held in Changsha, Hunan Province, where he told business leaders that Sierra Leone is now open for Business.
Addressing hundreds of participants across Africa, China, Europe, United States and Asia last Thursday, 6th September 2018, president Bio said: “This Forum is a unique platform for policy dialogue and knowledge exchange, mobilizing investment and facilitating trade.”
President Bio told the business leaders that as a new government nothing could be more exciting than addressing investors about the continent and Sierra Leone.
Highlighting the huge potentials for investment in Africa, President Bio said: “African continent which accounts for about 13% of the world’s population is endowed with vast arable land, conducive for agriculture, huge deposits of extractives including minerals, gas and oil, holistic and attractive destinations for tourism, large coastline with substantial fish stock, young and capable labour force and growing middle income class.”
Despite these potentials, President Bio stated that according to the World Investment Report, Africa attracts less than 3% of global Foreign Direct Investment compared to 49.8% share for developed economies, 33.3% for developing Asia and 10.6% for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Worse still, Foreign Direct Investment inflows to Africa dropped by 21.5% from US$53 billion in 2016 to US$42 billion in 2017,” president Bio said.
Even though the Forum was about investing in Africa, President Bio also used the opportunity to market Sierra Leone to the investors.
A very persuasive and confident President Bio told the audience: “My country Sierra Leone with total population estimate of 7.1 million has huge potential for investment. It is peaceful and democratic; has vast arable land for farming; enormous deposits of minerals including diamonds, gold, rutile, bauxite, iron ore etc; great potential for oil and gas; large coast with huge potentials for fisheries; rich tourist attractions such as beaches; conducive weather; youthful and capable labour force; robust policy, regulatory and legal framework and above all, a determined political leadership to promote private sector investment.”
Determined to attract investors to Sierra Leone, president Bio concluded his address with an invitation to investors: “I will therefore like to inform you that Sierra Leone is now open for business and assure you of my Government’s determination to creating the enabling environment for private investment.
“I particularly look forward to investments in infrastructure, agriculture, marine resources and tourism in order to diversify the economy.”
President Julius Maada Bio and president Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo were the only two Heads of State invited to address the investing in Africa Conference in Changsha, Hunan Province, China.
The invitation of president Bio demonstrated that in less than six months in office, he has not only demonstrated leadership on the Africa Continent but also shown economic discipline in governance that is enviable.
Other speakers at the Investing in Africa Forum included the Vice Minister of Finance, China, Vice Chairman of China Development Bank, Vice President of World Bank – Africa Region.
The 4th Investing in Africa Forum was organized by China’s Ministry of Finance, China Development Bank, The World Bank Group and the Hunan Province of China.
President Julius Maada Bio was accompanied to the opening ceremony by his wife Mrs Fatima Bio, Chief Minister – Professor David J Francis, Minister of Finance – Jacob Jusu Saffa, and other senior government ministers.
Before investors will decide to invest in any country there must be Peace, no Human Rights violations, such as Political intimidation and unrest activities. In order to achieve that, the government, opposition parties, sympathisers and members of Political Parties must maintain peace in the country, with out that, no investor will go to Sierra Leone.
The recent Mile 91 incident in the name of marijuana farmers and there is no evidence of marijuana the Police displayed for us to see. What we saw was a corpse. Doors were up-rooted and some household belongings dashed outside some compounds.
Some of you guys are giving us headache, because not all the diasporas are members of a Political Party or sympathisers. Most of us are neutral. We want to see the country move forward for all and sundry, so as to motivate us to us travel and implement something that will benefit people and the country as a whole.
I don”t care if Party A or Party B is ruling the country, all what I care about is Peace and development to prevail in every fabric of the country. IF IT ISN’T TRUE, DON’T SAY IT, IF ISN’T RIGHT DO NOT DO IT. Leh we put Salone Fos.
Papanii Kamara, I am NGC and I believe President Bio is a lucky person. Individual countries in Europe and around the world are beginning to fall over each other to woo Africa. The head of the E.U just today declared the need for Africa to be treated with respect so as to facilitate a good investment environment. President Bio does not have to rely on the Chinese entirely, other options are opening up rapidly.
Sierra Leone was open for business a very long time till you drove the business investors out.
Now you want them back. Very tough. The process has to start all over again, as investors do not trust you or want to go into an intimidating and violent environment.
Most would not even touch Sierra Leone till the Junta regime is gone. Do not waste your time as this is a losing battle you are fighting.
There is no harm in trying to sell the country’s investment potential such as President Bio is trying to do, as long it stops short of selling the country itself – physically. More later.
Wow that’s Nice. May his wishes be granted, over How He Wants To Transform Sierra Leone. Long live the President