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NEWS  

“Come and Invest, Sierra Leone is ready”... VP Sam-Sumana tells Italian Investors in Milan
By Chernor Ojuku Sesay, The Gallaria Town House Hotel,Milan, Italy.
Oct 14, 2010, 17:04
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Vice President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Chief Samuel Sam-Sumana has called on potential Italian Investors to come and invest in Sierra Leone as the country is yearning for genuine investors.


The VP said the West is already saturated but Africa and Sierra Leone in particular, is the right destination for investors.


Vice President Sam-Sumana was delivering  a keynote address at the official opening of the Sierra Leone Country Presentation in Milan, Italy on Wednesday, 0ctober 13.

The High Table


The VP informed the audience that under the Agenda for Change of President Ernest Bai Koroma, positive transformations are underway in every region of the country. “Roads are being constructed in every region; electricity generation is being increased and expanded; we have introduced programmes to move farmers everywhere in our country from the poverty of subsistence agriculture to the immense promise of commercialised farming”, VP disclosed.


Touching on Agriculture, which according to the Vice President is the number one priority of the government, accounts for 45% of the GDP, creates employment for about two-thirds of the workforce and generates a quarter of the country’s export earnings, Sierra Leone is endowed with the climate and natural vegetation for large scale farming. “The government and people of Sierra Leone are ready and prepared to work and partner with those whose interest lie in mechanised large scale farming... let me therefore take this opportunity to encourage Italian Investment in our agricultural sector. The outcome of such involvement will enable the organisers of the ‘Milan 2015 Expo’ to use Sierra Leone as a success story of Italian business intervention in a country that was looked upon as unable to feed itself”, VP emphasised.


A cross section of the Italian Investors

 

Touching on the marine potential, the Vice President said the government has developed a fisheries policy that is Investor friendly. He added that the licensing of vessels, transhipment and obligations for percentage compulsory landing of catch for domestic use have all been designed within the policy to attract genuine Investors in the fishing industry. He assured that there is considerable improvement in the surveillance and monitoring of our coastal waters against poaching in order to accord legitimate investors the conducive environment to carry out their trade and at the same time inhibit illegal fishing.


The Vice President informed the Italian Investors that the one major area the government is looking for partnership is the construction of a new airport and its ancillary facilities and service.


SLIEPA Director, Raymond Gbekie and VP Sam- Sumana in handshake with Investors after their presentations


Dilating on the provision of a sustainable energy supply, the VP expressed hope that the interest of the Italian government will be rekindled for strong support to the Bumbuna Phase Two Project.


The VP furthered that over 300 million tons of proven bauxite reserves have been discovered and 146 million tons inferred in the Port Loko and Kambia districts. The government, according to the VP has engaged the services of Terra Insight Services Incorporated to determine the variety and extent of the country’s mineral deposit.


VP Sam-Sumana in broad smiles after hearing positive interventions from the Investors.


He told the audience about the Petroleum Resources Unit which has delineated exploration blocks of about 2000sq km each, making available 8 new blocks offshore for further exploration rights.

 

VP Sam-Sumana stated that the tourism development in Sierra Leone is still a virgin market and added that there is a need for the development of adequate accommodation and other related facilities to meet the demands of the growth of international visitors in the country. “Our country’s rich tourism asset portfolio comprising unique wild life, pristine white snady beaches, cultural heritage sites, big game fishing and bird watching, attracts the high spending eco-tourism clientele”, VP assured.


Assuring the Italian Investors, the Vice President stated that without security whatever development programmes the government is contemplating will not come into reality if political instability reigns. “Therefore, Investors from Italy are guaranteed security and protection for their investment through the World Bank’s MIGA Investment Insurance and the security apparatus now in place in the country”.


In his presentation, the Director of Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), Raymond Gbekie informed the audience that the Agency facilitates all direct foreign investments and export promotions as it coordinates such activities relating to investment attraction.


Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Germany who is also accredited to Italy, Jongopie Siaka Stevens assured the Investors that the Embassy and its Consulates are ready and determined to promote the potential for business opportunities in Sierra Leone to all genuine and interested business people that are looking for a safe and peaceful country to invest in, to come to Sierra Leone and invest their resources without any encumbrance to discourage their efforts.


Other members of the Vice President’s delegation include the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Hon. Ali Badara Mansaray and the Managing Director of the National Tourist Board, Cecil Williams. Sierra Leone’s Honorary Consul General in Milan, Italy, Alessandro Rosso moderated the presentations.


Representatives from over 50 prominent Italian companies ranging from Agriculture, Tourism, Infrastructure, Mining, Marine, Education, Trade etc. attended the Presentation.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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