Sierra Leone’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr Francis Kaikai, has told the Annual Investment Meeting organised by the United Arab Emirates, UAE; that Sierra Leone was an enabling environment and a reliable destination for investment.

With the theme “Africa Unlocked: Innovation and Sustainability as Drivers of Economic Growth”, the two-day virtual conference seeks to explore the developmental potential of the African continent and highlight its huge opportunities that can serve as key sources of economic progress, not only for this region, but for the world.

In his opening statement, His Excellency Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan, Cabinet Member and Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE, said he was honoured to speak at the event to discuss economic progress between the UAE and Africa and to explore ways of further advancing economic relations with their African partners. He expressed hope that the partnership would strengthen cooperation between public and private sectors and generate new avenues of collaboration.

He mentioned their aim was to achieve progress and cooperation with their African brothers and sisters with a vision of fostering prosperity and creating opportunities for future generations. He added renewable energy and food security were key pillars in which the UAE was committed to partnering with African nations to achieve sustainable development and promote the welfare of their people.

Minister Kaikai said that Sierra Leone under the leadership of His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio was enthusiastic about investment opportunities around the world and very desirous to ensure Sierra Leone benefitted from the global market of foreign direct investment.

He noted the country was a member of regional and sub-regional organisations which offered opportunity as an emerging market for modern and digital technology adding that that was an advantage for potential investors.

He said that Sierra Leone had developed friendly investment policy actions that included the setting up of an Investment Board in the Office of the President to fast-track and unblock bottlenecks and more importantly to give investors the highest political leadership support, the reviewing of its Anti-Corruption laws to make them responsive to investment and the reforming of the justice sector with specialized divisions-fast-track commercial courts to address commercial disputes more efficiently.

“Government of Sierra Leone is grateful to the UAE for our participation in this Annual Investment Meeting. I will therefore on behalf of His Excellency the President use this opportunity to welcome potential investment partners to consider Sierra Leone as your immediate destination. The Government assures you all of an enabling environment, reasonable returns for your shareholders but over and above all protection of your investment,” he ended.

Sheku Lexmond Koroma, Chief Executive Officer of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency, also made a presentation on the huge potentials in Sierra Leone noting that the country was peaceful, stable and ready for business.

The event attracted participants from 81 countries including government ministers, and other top public officials. It captured six key pillars: Foreign Direct Investment, Small & Medium Enterprises, Future Cities, Start-ups, Foreign Portfolio Investment and One Belt, One Road to offer different dynamic activities that will provide numerous benefits to various sectors.