Sierra Leone trade and investment conference kicks off in London

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 June 2019:

Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio will open the UK-Sierra Leone Trade and Investment Conference taking place in London tomorrow, Thursday 6th June 2019.

The conference will provide a platform for the Government of Sierra Leone to showcase the Trade and Investment Opportunities in Sierra Leone, especially in the areas of tourism, energy, mining, infrastructure and agriculture.

The government is seeking over $700 million of private sector investment, to boost economic growth and create much needed employment opportunities for the millions of unemployed youths in the country.

This is the conference programme:

0800-0900: Registration and Refreshments

0900-0920: Opening Remarks

James Palmer, Senior Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
Atam Sandhu, Chief Executive, DMA
HE Tamba John Sylvernus Lamina, Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the UK
HMA Guy Warrington, British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone

0920-0930: Welcome

Rachel Turner, Economic Development Director, UK Department for International Development

0930-0950: Keynote Address

HE Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

0940-1100: Session 1: Economic Overview & Financial Sector Development

Chair: Emmanuel Kwapong, Economist; Africa, Standard Chartered Bank
Hon. Jacob Jusu Saffa, Minister of Finance
Dr Ibrahim Stevens, Deputy Governor, Bank of Sierra Leone
Hon. Priscilla Schwarz, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice
Christopher John Forster, President, Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (SLCCIA)

1100-1130: Refreshments Break

1130-1140: Hon. Harriett Baldwin MP, Minister of State, UK Department for International Development

1140-1245: Session 2: Trade & Investment and Economic Diversification

Chair: Hannah Ambrose, Herbert Smith Freehills
Launch of the fourth edition of “Sierra Leone: An Investor’s Guide”
Rebecca Perlman, Herbert Smith Freehills
Gavin Davis, Herbert Smith Freehills

Panel Discussion

Joe Demby, Presidential Adviser on Economic and Financial Policy
Sheku Lexmond Koroma, Chief Executive, Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA)
Michala Mackay, Chief Executive, Corporate Affairs Commission

1245-1315: Spotlight on Tourism

Hon. Memuna Pratt, Minister of Tourism
Peter Fowler, CEO, Westminster Group

1315-1415: Networking Lunch

1415-1530: Session 3: Investing in Energy & Mining

Chair: Memuna Forna, Editor and Founder, FT Insight

Cyril Grant, Project Manager, Ministry of Energy
Julius Mattai, Director General, National Minerals AgencJulius Mattai, Director General, National Minerals Agency
Timothy M Kabba Director General, Petroleum Directorate. Office of the President
Craig Dean, Chairman and CEO, Gerald Group/SL Mining
Robert Hattingh, CEO, Sierra Rutile

1530-1600: Spotlight on Agriculture

Chair: Baroness Northover, Member of the House of Lords
Hon. Joseph Ndanema, Minister of Agriculture
Patrick Blake, Managing Director, Tropical Farms/Dole

1600-1630: Spotlight on Infrastructure

Dr John Tambi, Chairman, Presidential Infrastructure Initiative
Dr Hayat Sindi, Advisor to the President, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)

1630-1650: Closing Remarks

HMA Guy Warrington, British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone
Hon. Nabeela Tunis, Minister of Foreign Affairs

1650-1800: Gala Drinks Reception

During the conference, delegates will have the opportunity to network with Ministers, Public Sector Officials, Representatives of the Private Sector and Businesses from Sierra Leone.

While in the United Kingdom, president Julius Maada Bio will also deliver a lecture at the Brasenose College, University of Oxford.

The theme of the Lecture will be: “Beyond Mere Inspiration: Tackling the Challenges of Leadership in Sierra Leone”. The lecture has been scheduled for Friday 7th June 2019.

John Bowers, Rector at Brasenose College and Professor Wale Adebanwi, Director of the African Studies Centre will welcome president Julius Maada Bio to the University of Oxford.

President Julius Maada Bio will also engage in several meetings with British politicians.

On Saturday, 8th June 2019, Sierra Leoneans from across the UK have been invited to meet and engage with president Bio in a Townhall event, taking place at the University College London. Details are as follows:


  1. we are all eagerly waiting sir for jobs at least. You cannot afford to feed us everyday, but by travelling and interacting with different countries to create alliance and bring investors to our beloved nation, can create a lot of impact on the people of Sierra Leone.

  2. Based on the way things are progressing at the moment between Sierra Leone and Great Britain, it seems that they are trying to build their pre-independence or post-independence under the leadership of The SLPP (late prime minister Sir. Milton Margai once again).

    Great Britain made Sierra Leone the “Athens of West Africa” by the establishment of the Fourah Bay College in Freetown which was the bastion of education in sub Saharan Africa. The Central Bank for all British West African countries was also in Freetown; and I believe we had the first railway and print Newspaper in our region.

    Sierra Leoneans used to travel to countries like Nigeria to help them in many areas of development that’s why the creme de la creme of Nigeria living in Lagos and Victoria Island (Saros) can still trace their roots to Freetown and even the Akus of The Gambia can do the same. The Leone was stronger than the Dollar in the 60’s. And we used to export our staple food (rice) to other nations.

    I hope and pray that after Brexit is finalized, Great Britain will once again make us their best partner in our region since the main problem of CORRUPTION which is the foundation of the APC ideology (Usai U Tie Cow, Na day E day Eat) has been curtailed by the New Direction.

  3. This is step in the right direction for our country Sierra Leone. Mr President may God bless you and your advisers and your cabinet Ministers for going all out in reaching international investors to come and invest in our beloved country. It will be advisable for the government to tell the men, women and children of Sierra Leone populace about such venture.

    This could bring a change of hearts mainly to those youths who have been used by some wealthy (aryanpies) and unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans to cause havoc in the country. Development matters – not political fighting. God bless Mama Sierra Leone.

    • People ruined Sierra Leone with war and flee out to go and seek a better life. But now the international community will be watching and monitoring every move you take. So let people just be careful as there are people trying to rebuild Serra Leone for its citizens. May God bless Tony Blair who has stood by Sierra Leone all this time.

  4. Mr Saidu Conteh I share the same prognosis as you. Its not about being in opposition to the government but by stating the facts.

    I have been working for many large UK investors for many years and I know that they value the political, legal and regulatory environment in making investment decisions. Political instability and the judicial independence are very important in assessing the sovereign risks to investors.

    The government must act on improving the political atmosphere as well as the widespread mistrust of the legal system which the investors would want to put their trust in for redress.

    One big progress in the Bio Administration is the focus on reducing corruption in the public sector. And this should also be reinforced by transparency and accountability in public and private sector.

    I am not sure the conference panel discussion format is effective. I think Sierra Leone government might want to consider doing a targeted roadshows to potential investors in specific areas such as tourism and mining.

    This discussion should not be about the letters – APC or SLPP, but about the steps the government is taking to encourage the right types of investment needed to create jobs and grow the economy.

  5. Andrew – first and foremost, let me be clear. It never crosses my mind to wish anyone misfortune, harm, bad luck or failure in their lives, undertakings and issues relating to the well being of others. That’s just not my style! All my criticisms of the President are well thought-out, measured and weighed on the mental scales of pragmatism, common sense and sincerity.

    I would like to see them show maturity and a good sense of judgment in the ways they govern, by correctly exercising restraint and caution, as and when it is needed in the affairs of the State. Think for a minute, in this modern, ever changing day and age the SLPP is still trying to figure out why the Cart that carries the load must be put only behind the horse that pulls it.

    And to make matters worse, they kept on speculating and guessing why at nightfall birds can be seen returning to the reposeful safety of their nests. Imagine that! This nation belongs to all of us, and we are not going to stand idle and unmoved like mannequins and watch them jeopardize the livelihood of future generations to come.

    Its madness to keep on making the same childish, immature mistakes over and again, hoping they will go unnoticed, instead of correcting and putting them in order. Running a race without a baton in hand and a goal in mind to be reached is just outright and plain silly.

    First things first, the SLPP is now holding the reins of power so they must find ways to create an amicable, peaceful atmosphere in the country, instead of promoting strife. You cannot rearrange the furniture of our house to make it look good, if it is burning and on fire.

    First put out he fire and there will be time enough to do many other things. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it? Well, that’s because its the plain and simple truth…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  6. Well put Messrs Konteh and Matturi. Bio’s determination to loosen the grip of corruption in Sierra Leone is admirable. And understandably, the corrupt will certainly fight back, using the poor and uneducated to preserve their loot.

    But regardless of what one’s political leaning, we can agree that Sierra Leoneans need jobs—the country needs massive expansion of private sector employment to absorb the teaming number of educated but unemployed folks. All efforts to realize that goal ought to be celebrated.

  7. I hope the conference goes well tomorrow for Mama Salone. God knows we need all the investments we can bring to the country to create the jobs that will put income into our people’s pockets. But please let us have genuine investors, not ones that will come and rip off our people and go.

  8. First things first – put your house in order before allowing strangers to enter, because they may see things that trouble,frighten and scare them away. Those are ancient words of wisdom right there! Let’s be realistic – no sensible, pragmatic investor will gamble their hard earned monies in an atmosphere that resembles those of hungry hyenas hunting in the midst of blazing forests fires.

    Investments in all areas of development and in all its forms is just like gambling – nothing is ever guaranteed; you never know if you are going to win or lose, even when you have done your best, tied all the loose strings together, checked and double checked every single nook and crack, you may still fail. The risks of failure is always present, very high and investing in a troubling, volatile atmosphere like ours, will only increase it to mind-blowing, sky-high levels.

    To be honest, it is an admirable effort, but it is being done at the wrong time. You cannot build a house with a steady foundation under a heavy downpour of rain; the concrete mixture will be washed away. You just can’t! First things first, wait for the rain to cease, then continue to build. Our credibility as a nation governed by law is now at stake in the eyes of the world, after the Police mercilessly brutalized men, women and children at the offices of the opposition APC.

    So many questions, will be thrown at them, that they would not be able to answer satisfactorily, of that I am quite sure. So why is the SLPP exposing our fragile nation to ridicule and mockery, knowing very well they will not be taken seriously? An Englishman’s sense of discernment is remarkably flawless – they see the big picture in little things and the end of a game before it even begins.

    An ailing, suckling infant should be covered and not exposed bare-headed in the cold, until he gets well.- we all know fully that things are not well at home. This clearly shows that,the sense of good judgment, timing and pragmatism of the SLPP totally sucks. Do they not think it would have given them more credibility and leverage if a few members of the opposition were there to show their sense of support? It is obvious they do not!

    Well, let us see if their shortsighted ‘I can do it Alone” attitude will yield sustainable, tangible rewards. In conclusion, I would like to congratulate our Muslim brothers and sisters for successfully completing a month of reverence to Allah, our creator through their selfless attitude of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan! Bravo! Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • Mr Conteh, as I read your comments, I must deduct that you do not want the government to succeed. Brother, unlike former president Koroma, president Bio is not waiting for you or other naysayers of the opposition to make life better and manageable for all Sierra Leoneans. Sir, please do not be too critical of the president seeking investment for the country.

      Investment, bi-lateral trade with a robust increase in export of raw and finished goods will amount to improved living standards of all. So brother Conteh, regardless of our party affiliation, we should each play a positive role to make Sierra Leone a better place for future generations.

  9. I feel very proud for hearing that, our President is on the GO to make sure INVESTORS invest in our beloved country. I hope everyone will rally behind him. Whether you like President Bio or not, SLPP or APC, or whether you are always UPSET like me because he remains silent on key issues affecting the country, his determination to see and make sure the country develops is extraordinary.

    I think we would have to lie with his silence on issues till he leaves office. No problems. However, we would continue reminding him each time he is silent on issues we would like him to address. I believe he will eventually reach his goals despite all the problems caused at the moment in the country.

    My advice to all those who would like to invest in Sierra Leone is this, don’t be bothered/afraid by what you are seeing on television which I believe will discourage you in making any investment in the country. Sierra Leoneans are very peaceful people. Although the political process seems to be a bit difficult, it is not as bad for investors to invest.

    What is happening now is a political misunderstanding that could be handled very easily by our politicians. Our President as you (INVESTORS) all know, is determined to STAMP OUT CORRUPTION, and is doing everything he can to make sure that you (INVESTORS) get the SECURITY and the favorable POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE you need to operate peacefully.

    Finally, thank you very much President Bio for making this trip and with GOD’S GRACE you will WIN the HEARTS and MINDS of would be INVESTORS. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR DELEGATION. WELCOME TO LONDON.

    • Well said Mr Matturi – you are truly a patriot. Leh God bless you. Indeed this conference is not about president Bio – love him or hate him. It is about the economy of Sierra Leone which the reckless Koroma led APC government left in shambles after looting hundreds of millions of public funds meant for healthcare, access to water and electricity, good education and welfare of our people.

      We need the jobs that only the private sector investments can provide, not foreign aid and loans. So yes, I wish the government well and hope they can lever the investments they seek at the conference tomorrow.

      Let the sore losers in the APC sit and lick their wounds. Sierra Leone will go forward, no matter their attempts at making the country ungovernable.

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