A delegation of Trade and Investment Experts comprising Government Officials and Members of the Private Sector from the Republic of Sierra Leone on Wednesday 15th June 2022 engaged private investors at the Qatar Chamber of Commerce to showcase Sierra Leone’s Trade and Investment potentials and presented a list of potential projects for investment, aiming to woo (potential) investors and increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Sierra Leone.
The Trade and Investment delegation, which was headed by Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Sierra Leone carried out series of presentations in Doha to highlight the country’s untapped potentials in various sectors of the Sierra Leone economy
The two-day event was an outcome of the fruitful meeting held between Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David Francis and his Qatari counterpart, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani during his working visit to the State of Qatar on 24th —26th February 2022, wherein the two sides agreed that a team of trade and investment experts from Sierra Leone would visit the State of Qatar to make presentations with the view to providing the requisite information on Sierra Leone’s investment opportunities to the Qatari investors.
Welcoming the delegation, the First Vice Chairman of Qatar Chamber of Commerce, His Excellency Mohammad bin Twar said that Africa is the future of trade and investment for Qatari businesses, even though the two countries have not harnessed business opportunities over the years.
He also noted that the private sector representatives were invited to get first-hand information on the availing business opportunities in Sierra Leone and further dilate on trade and investment initiatives.
In his opening statement, the Chief Executive Officer of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), Sheku Lexmond Koroma revealed that Sierra Leone has made significant strides in opening its market for trade and investment in recent years by encouraging the country’s private sector to build partnerships for market linkages and venture into emerging markets for trade and investment.
He pointed out that the country’s comparative and competitive advantages present a unique opportunity for Qatari businesses, assuring that the investment opportunities and projects would forge a new economic partnership with the Qatari businesses.
He extended an invitation to a delegation from the State of Qatar of Government Officials and Private sector Investors through the Qatar Chamber of Commerce to visit Sierra Leone to explore investment opportunities for the benefit of the two countries and peoples.
Delivering the keynote address on Zoom, the Minister of Trade and Industry conveyed heartfelt appreciation to the leadership of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and the Qatar Investment Authority for providing the platform for the Sierra Leone’s experts to showcase the country’s trade and investment potentials.
He expressed that the forum was held at a time the world was facing a myriad of challenges, including food insecurity, climate change and conflicts, noting, however, that the challenges present opportunities, and as business leaders, they were gathered in the World Trade Organisation Headquarters in Geneva to explore potential and possibilities of minimizing those myriad challenges.
“Sierra Leone is open for business, and there is no better way to solidify our partnership than having a win-win situation for both countries. Trade and Investment serve as key drivers of socio-economic development and empowerment. We have watched with keen interest how Qatar has come this far and we would like to deepen relations in this regard.
Sierra Leone is blessed with natural resources, a dynamic youthful population, arable hectares of land for mechanised farming, pristine beaches for tourism, a peaceful and conducive investment atmosphere, the latent oil and gas resources, coupled with significant business and tax reforms to secure investments,” Dr. Sandy disclosed
He concluded by assuring that through Sierra Leone, the Qatari private investors would access the West African market and by extension the African market through the Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The SLIEPA Director of Investment Promotion, Victor Bangura presented an outlook of the country’s investment landscape and a list of project profiles.
These includes the country’s strategic location to international markets, investment potentials in agribusiness focusing on improving productivity and commercialisation, a private sector strategy to the sustainable management of the country’s fishing sector, actions already underway to revitalizing the tourism sector, and strategic natural resource deposits, whilst the Deputy Director of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Finance, Ms. Oredola Martyn, delved on tax incentives granted to investors doing business in Sierra Leone.
After the presentations, the delegation held business-to-business deliberations with the representatives of the respective companies and the Sierra Leonean private sector representatives.
In another development, the delegation met with Qatar Investment Authority officials and discussed a number of business opportunities. They focused primarily on brownfield projects, which entailed investing in existing projects. The two sides also highlighted the construction of seaports, hotels and renewable energy as possible investment ventures.
By Cyril Barnes,
Sierra Leone Embassy, the State of Kuwait