Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 March 2020:
President Dr Julius Maada Bio yesterday met partners of the European Union (EU) in Sierra Leone, to discuss the country’s development process as the economy continues to flounder. Efforts to attract foreign investors especially for key sectors of the economy are yet to bear fruits.
Diversification of the economy remains one of the government’s main priority alongside the development of the country’s human resources.
Sierra Leone is largely dependent on the mining industry for its survival. But several mining companies have seen their mining contracts cancelled or suspended by the government, a decision that is now impacting adversely on the country’s export revenue, the value of the Leone and pressure on government expenditure.
The EU is by far one of the largest contributors of foreign aid and assistance to the government of Sierra Leone.
According to the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr Francis Kaikai, yesterday’s meeting is the second the government has had with the EU, since the New Direction SLPP Administration took office in April 2018.
He told the EU representatives that the government has started the New Year on a very good footing and that this is a good opportunity to meet with the EU to review progress.
EU Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Tom Vens, expressed appreciation to the President for hosting the meeting between the Government and key EU partners. He noted that their discussions present an opportunity to exchange views and also provide a way to have constructive engagement in identifying areas of understanding.
Addressing the delegates, president Bio said that it is important to keep current the partnership between Sierra Leone and the EU through continuous engagement.
He said that the business of government is to attract the right businesses into the country by creating an enabling environment that will attract investors and support existing businesses in the country.
“As development partners, we want to see what we can do to improve on the relationship (EU and Sierra Leone), and also make sure that as we move into the new year, we set our goals properly to know where we are going. Development is a collective business that requires so many hands and expertise on board and this is why we are here,” he said.