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Sierra Leone News : Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Reassures Sierra Leone on Post Ebola Investment
By Augustine Samba
Jul 8, 2015, 17:04
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The Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Lilianne Ploumen has pronounced in Freetown that her Government and business community will contribute immensely to improve on the economic recovery of Sierra Leone post Ebola to sustain economic growth. The dynamic Minister made this substantive assurance on Tuesday 7th July 2015 at Round table Economic Growth and Private Sector Development Conference at Radisson Blu at Aberdeen in Freetown.

 

The conference attracted several business investors and other expert’s delegation from the Netherlands, the private sector in Sierra Leone, Minister of Government, Honorable Members of Parliament, member of the business and diplomatic communities. The Round Table event was organized by the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), under the purview of the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

 

Cross Section of the Netherlands Delegation at the Round Table confab

 

Delivery her speech, the Netherlands Foreign Minister said they will soon bring 15 Dutch Companies and several Non Governmental Organizations(NGOs) to start operation in various sector including agriculture, transportation/maritime logistics and life sciences and health.

 

“Our visit will signal to the rest of the world that Sierra Leone is still a business destination amidst the Ebola outbreak” Ms. Lilianne Ploumen answered newsmen at a short press confab.


She went on, to inform that she came along with 30 Dutch Companies and several Non Governmental Organizations.  According to her more Dutch companies and businesses will also melt into Sierra Leone to gain from the business opportunities.

President Koroma majestically walking with the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation

 

The Dutch Foreign Trade Minister noted that Netherlands bilateral Relationship with Sierra Leone is very strong and the deployment of the Dutch Ship HNLMS Karel Doorman for 3 months last year, to sustain the Ebola outbreak signified their love for the country. She said, besides the logistic and medical support, her country also contributed financially to fight the Ebola disease.

 

“We stand to be friends in difficult time and also in good time” the Minister posited adding that “one should isolate the Ebola disease but not the people and the country”.

 

Further, Ms. Lilianne Plouman extended tribute to Sierra Leoneans who suffered or died during the Ebola outbreak. She said despite the deadly outbreak, the country’s potential is still laudable. According to her, they will not only invest in businesses but also in human capacity.

 

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Madam Mabinty Daramy cordially speaking with Madam Lilianne Poumen during a short press conference just after the opening ceremony

 

She informed that the trade conference was about connecting people and informing that Sierra Leone is open for businesses again.

 

Earlier in her welcome address, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Madam Mabinty Daramy said Sierra Leone, despite the Ebola outbreak, still has the potential for growth and development. She informed that her country provides easy and conducive market for people.

 

According to her Sierra Leone is politically and economically stable. She reminded the Dutch Trade Mission Delegation of the country’s natural beauty and tourist attraction.

 

“Investors might fall in love with the country natural beauty and keep on coming again” she emphatically noted.

Cross Section of local participants at the Round Table Conference

 

She said her government intention has always been to increase bilateral relationship and increase growth rate.


In his Keynote address, President Koroma said “it is with great joy that I welcome this delegation”.

 

President Koroma recalled that in 2014, the Dutch Foreign Trade Minister assured that she was coming with the business delegation. He informed that, Ms. Lilianne Ploumen was in Sierra Leone during the worst time of the Ebola outbreak.

 

“She had been here when we had our difficult time with Ebola and her Government contributed immensely to fight the disease” he pronounced.

 

According the President, as soon as his government assumed power, they had the conviction that it is only the private sector that will move the country’s economic growth. He said they created good business environment gear toward economic growth and investor friendly.

 

“Before Ebola outbreak we were earmarked as a country with one of the fastest growing economy” he noted Sierra Leone was giving accolade for business, as well as good governance by the World Bank, Mo Ibrahim Foundation and other agencies.

 

He further that, Sierra Leone’s natural harbor is strategically located for EU and American Markets.

 

For economic investment in agriculture President Koroma said the country has 5.4 Million arable hectares and about 75% has not been utilized.

 

“We have a fishing spot that can provide one hundred million dollars annually” he informed.

 

President Koroma also informed the delegation about the country’s gold, diamond, iron ore, bauxite, rutile and other mineral deposits with heavy economic viability. He said the round table will deepen the bilateral and business relationship between the two countries. He also informed that his government will give the private sector the space to drive the economy.

“We are committed to promoting private sector and this is why we established SLIEPA and the Public Private Partnership Unit (PPPU) to operate” he assured.

 

Finally President Koroma said that Ebola did not take the country’s business capacities and they are now at the verge of eradicating it.

 

The event was climaxed by signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Masada and Waste Transformers, VEKA Shipbuilding and IML, Sierra Leone Central Union-The Netherlands and Office of the Diaspora Affairs, Danke Koroma Foundation and the Waka Waka Foundation.


Extensive presentations were also made by MDA’s.     


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