President Dr Julius Maada Bio yesterday, assured investors at the UK-Africa Summit in London that his government is determined to diversify Sierra Leone’s economy, and guarantee a business-friendly ecosystem with a win-win outcome for potential investors.
Sierra Leone is highly dependent on mineral exports, with iron ore, diamond, gold, and rutile contributing to over 60% of the country’s GDP.
But such reliance has become unsustainable. The government must diversify and broaden its taxation base, if it is to promote higher growth, job creation and prosperity.
Speaking at the clean energy transformation session at the London Summit yesterday, the President spoke about key reforms his government has put in place to enhance and promote investments in the resource-rich West African nation, also with a promising tourism industry.
He referenced the country’s Investment Board, which he said has been set up to not only be a one-stop-shop for businesses, but also to provide aftercare support that would protect investments in the country.
He further cited the strides that have been made, through support from the British Government investing in Sierra Leone’s off-grid clean energy to communities around the country. This, he said, has opened up many opportunities for potential investors wishing to invest in renewable energy in Sierra Leone.
On the margins of the summit, President Bio also met the World Bank Group’s President, David Malpass, who commended his leadership model of efficient public financial management. He said the Bank would continue to support the government of Sierra Leone, including its Free Quality Education programme.
In another meeting, the United Kingdom Minister for Africa – Andrew Stephenson MP, informed President Bio that he will be visiting Sierra Leone to look at the projects that the British government has supported. He added that his government will continue to support the government of Sierra Leone and assured of DfID’s continued support for the country’s flagship free quality education programme.
Speaking to potential investors, President Bio said that Sierra Leone is open for business. He spoke about the effects of the civil war, Ebola and corruption. The country, under his leadership he said, is fighting corruption; ensuring that doing business in Sierra Leone is simple, and guarantees profit repatriation.
The UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 is an initiative of the British Government, which brings together investors from around the UK to meet and explore the key investment potentials in Africa.
The British Prime Minister, addressing the summit, affirmed that the UK was looking forward to partnering with Africa to achieve prosperity as Britain looked forward to leaving the European Union.