The Sierra Leone Investment Seminar in Accra- A Critical Look

 

March 27, 2019- Accra

GNBCC’s Tjalling Wiarda attended the Sierra Leone Investment Seminar on the 27th of March in Accra. The event took place at the La-Palm Royal Beach Hotel and hosted government officials and private sector representatives and from various West-African countries. This article is written based on Mr. Wiarda’s notes and observations during the seminar.

Challenges
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from Ghana, Charles Owiredu, made several remarks regarding challenges to conduct business with Sierra Leone. He mentioned high transport costs, expensive work and residence permits for Ghanaians in Sierra Leone and referred to the export blockage by the Government of Sierra Leone regarding certain Ghanian goods. In addition, the
deputy Minister of Trade from Ghana, Carlos Ahenkorah, said that only 0,2% of all imports (frozen fish and trucks) into Ghana are from Sierra Leone. Shipping to Sierra Leone must go via Europe, which extends shipping costs and time to more than 21 days.

Sierra Leone to address bottlenecks
The Sierra Leonean Deputy Minister of Trade stated that Sierra Leone will become a private sector-led economy and that these issues will be corrected. One of the already-existing structures in place is the one-stop-shop for getting your business permits (see http://www.cac.gov.sl/). Furthermore, Dr. Alie Kabba (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), guaranteed the audience that the GoSL protects and values Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and it is a core priority. Further measures taken by the government include improved resource management, investments in education and investment in the national workforce.

Diversifying the Sierra Leonean Economy

Mrs. Nabeela Tunis, Sierra Leone Minister of Planning, mentioned that the government wants to decrease reliance on the mining industry and increase the impact of the agricultural sector. Furthermore, it is imperative that the tourism, fisheries, oil and gas sector start contributing more towards the economy. In order to do this, she mentioned that the private sector is a critical partner.
On a final note, Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Jon. Ndanema underlined the importance of crop diversification and reforestation. In order to accomplish this, Sierra Leone needs (foreign) investors, who can benefit from the many opportunities within this area.

By Esther Kamara