Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 June 2019:
Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister – Professor David Francis led a high powered government delegation to Russia last week, where they attended a three-day Afreximbank Annual conference, taking place in Moscow.
The theme of the conference was ‘Harnessing Emerging Partnership in an Era of Rising Protectionism’.
The conference, which was hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation under the auspices of president Vladimir Putin, was attended by African leaders, including Ministers of Finance, Trade and Investments, Senior Government Officials from Africa and beyond, corporate leaders, Bankers, academics and other experts.
Led by Chief Minister Professor David John Francis, Sierra Leone’s delegation included the Minister of Finance – Jacob Jusu Saffa, Minister of Mines – Foday Rado Yokie, and Mr. Mohamed Bailley.
The event attracted global businesses, regional experts and policymakers discussing trade and investment opportunities and developing business links.
In particular, delegates discussed the strategic initiatives that Afreximbank is implementing to support Africa’s strategy for economic development and structural transformation, as embodied in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister Francis, spoke about the need for strengthening economic cooperation with emerging Partners. He also presented a range of investment opportunities that Sierra Leone has to offer Russian investors.
Last week, the president of Sierra Leone – Julius Maada Bio officially launched the tendering process for the construction of a $1.8 Billion bridge, linking the capital Freetown with the country’s international airport.
Sierra Leone is looking to attract private investors to take up this offer on a public-private partnership, based on a ‘build, operate and transfer’ model over a period of 25 years.
In another related development, Sierra Leone’s deputy minister of finance – Patricia Laverley, is making a strong case for increased Chinese investments in Sierra Leone at the ongoing Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Conference in Beijing (Photo above).
. This is professor Francis making a pitch for Russian investment in Sierra Leone:
It is the responsibility of every Sierra Leonean to contribute to national development activities and we hope to see more things done by the government just as it has started in the recent developments.
I believe in the leadership of our President HE Julius Maada Bio and His cabinet Ministers. They can do more to develop the country and attract foreign investors and their investment forum.
Congratulation the Chief Minister for your astute leadership in bringing investors and marketing Sierra Leone to the International Community.
Sooner or Later Sierra Leone will be at the helm of affairs in the African continent by regaining the ‘Athens of West Africa’
There is no doubt in my mind that, our hardworking and sound negotiator, the Deputy Finance Minister Patricia Laverley will do all she can to negotiate the best deals for our country. She is a very tough negotiator and deal maker. That I can tell anyone. Does everyone remember the very difficult financial negotiations she succeeded in passing through our partisan PARLIAMENT? OH BOY. Only an IRON LADY of exceptional negotiation skills can achieve what she succeeded in doing. Look at just how PRESIDENTIALshe looks among her male counterparts in that picture. Just AMAZING.
Well done IRON LADY and see you soon. Be safe and GOD BLESS YOU.
Africans have been trapped in endless mazes and cycles of illusions for a very long time. We are still hallucinating, looking and hoping to grasp that which looks beautiful in our imaginations, but sadly, such things just aren’t real.
No one will hand you prosperity and happiness, wrapped up in a gift package – you will have to strive, pursue and seek it out yourself. Blood, sweat and tears need to be sacrificed! Our ship has set sail for Russia once again, in a quest for something quite insignificant we could easily have given ourselves, if only we were practical, diligent and responsible enough. Truly heartbreaking!
Now hear me out, if we were really sincere, the first thing to do will be for us to put ourselves in the shoes of potential investors. First things first – ask yourself, if you had just a single piece of meat for your family to manage and survive on for a certain period of time; will you hand it over to a pack of hungry wolves to be preserved for safekeeping? The answer is no,because they will chew it all so quickly, that in less than a minute, there will be nothing left but crumbs.
So why would someone trust you with more money after you have gourmandised all they had previously left in your care? The atmosphere in our country is worst than those of hungry wolves chasing down a deer, anxious for their first meal in days. Honest,and legit investors? Just forget it! Your only hope? Only crooked and shady investors in Vladimir Putin’s autocratic Russia would be interested in a country where institutions are puppets in the hands of government to be misused, abused and manipulated at will.
Yep, that is what is real! Why won’t some criminal Russian investor not gamble his crooked monies in Sierra Leone, where he can easily wash and launder it at will – a country that resembles Russia in so many strange, intricate and perplexing ways?
Imagine just for second – a cruel and brutal autocracy and a fragile Sierra Leone Democracy, strangely wedded together; what a sorry sight for the ages that would become. Ever seen a drunken husband and a totally inebriated wife quarrelling, hurling insults and throwing things? It would be worse than that. Hilarious indeed!
Currently there are many sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union against countless, corrupt government officials, organisations and businesses in Russia, for a wide range of criminal activities. Indeed misery and her twin partner poverty will forever be guilty of acquainting men in desperate need, with the strangest bedfellows. And frankly, where we are running to again for help is a dormant Russian volcano, waiting to erupt?
Why can’t our people just sit down for a minute and use their ingenuity to move this nation forward, instead of entangling it in one complex travesty after the other? What help can a criminal empire give to us, that is tangible and sustainable? And which scholarships haven’t they given you before that you didn’t squander and use to disadvantage yourselves, before returning home empty-handed with long haired wives in your arms, outdated suits and neckties and large, bushy empty heads.
What have you done with what you studied, after being airlifted like refugees in war zones, over and over again, in one Aeroflot aircraft after the other, for decades,and decades? Absolutely nothing! A damn shame it is begging and asking for more help and assistance once again! If everyone was a beggar,then who would give to others?
Why can’t we find ways to work hard and be able to become a blessing unto others just for once? I know your childish answer already – ” But Saidu it is better to beg, borrow than to steal, we have an insatiable desire for things we cannot afford. What else should we do? ” I’ve heard those words and arguments,in different ways and forms a million times over coming from our people – a lazy people, a silly and unimaginative people, greedy, mean-spirited and cruel. Rising Sun Will Rise Again
Thanks so much Sahr Matturi. I’ve always enjoyed reading your contributions. One hopes those in authority in Sa Lone consider your recommendations offered on Russia relations and PPP.
Any true loving Sierra Leonean must be very happy to hear their leaders doing their best to find investors to invest in our beloved Sierra Leone. Personally, I am very pleased and excited to hear that a government delegation headed by our Chief Minister is in Russia to look for investors. The only way to help our youth employment is by bringing in investors. The government alone can’t provide jobs for everyone. So, let’s pray that the government gets the right investors.
One thing I would like the Chief Minister to discuss with the Russian Government is to propose the awarding of a minimum of 3000 scholarships for both vocational and university education to deserving students for a period of ten years. Students can learn bridge construction and maintenance, virology, marine engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, etc.
I say this because, our country needs its industrial manpower needs by 2030 if we are to compete in the next generation technology. I believe that, Made in Sierra Leone is possible by 2031 if the manpower is available. This is not a dream. It’s real. Also, we need our own professionals for our own national development right now.
The delegation is also finding partnership for the construction of the Lungi Bridge. NICE!. They hinted the idea of Public Private Partnership. The SLPP government must be very careful in negotiating any PPP as it is called. Our country does not have its own experts in constructing these types of bridges.
The government will be at a disadvantage when it comes to the technical side of the negotiations. So, the private companies will do all they can to dupe the government in the name of risk management. There are a lot of other loop holes to look for when engaging in PPP deals.
My advice to President Bio is to send a delegation to the Chilean Government in Santiago to get information on how PPP deals are negotiated and executed. Chile is a country that has made success with the use of PPPs. They have loads of projects that are financed with PPPs. Think about that Mr. President.
My God bless our Chief Minister and his delegation. AMEN AND AMEN.