The Government of Sierra Leone is pursuing an ambitious reform programme for the next 50 years by building a new bridge to link Freetown with Lungi, a new city and modernization of the airport to meet international standards. Since the end of war some eight years ago and the country’s attainment of the Golden Jubilee, a vision was made clear yesterday by President Koroma while declaring open a two-day conference of tripartite investment programme in Sierra Leone which attracted potential investors, private sector officials and government functionaries.
President Koroma said “Lungi needs to be developed to make big un- locking on the potential of the country by modernizing the airport which signals the face of the country,” adding, “our airport should not deter visitors and investors”.
“We are tired of making apologies to visitors for crossing by ferry or using helicopters to reach the City of Freetown.”
As a country ‘we have to put in place several options to define the nation’s destiny’ the President pointed out.
“I have three big developmental projects for the next fifty years that is why I have called our friends and other partners to deliberate on the way forward for the country during the conference,” he reiterated.
“We are attracting investment in oil, agriculture and other minerals due to the reforms for business climate but it is being held back due to lack of boldness on infrastructure.” He stated.
The President went on, “we are pursuing those opportunities for the future generations as we have made progress on road projects and power plants across the country to attract huge investment”.
He noted that the Tripartite Investment Programme is a mental bridge to a new way of thinking for the next 50yrs, it is revolutionary and achievable.
He implored the participants to discuss with investors on the framework and clarify roles and responsibilities with the view of thinking out of the box the logistical and partnerships aspect for the transformation which demands public private partnership and guarantee networks.
“We must not waste time in doing this and we must start the mobilization now for optimal returns for investors and the country”, President Koroma said.
He commended the African Development Bank for their support to the forum and other partners as government remains committed in moving forward with the country.
The facilitator of the forum, UNIDO Director General, Kandeh Yumkella, said as a country we need to review the past to look at the successes and failures to reinvigorate the way forward. ‘I want to facilitate development in Sierra Leone,’ he asserted.
He noted that Sierra Leone is on a sputnik moment as the President wants to mobilize resources for the next 50 yrs but the slogan that says ‘we tem nor reach yet’ are dreams that will not work.
Kandeh Yumkella further stated that the US$300m spent on the Bumbuna hydro project commissioned in 2009, could have costs US$ 50m 30 yrs ago.
I believe ‘we can do something for Sierra Leone’ and implored on participants for things to be done the right way because people will be held accountable.
Educationist, Professor C. Magballey Fyle, said the exercise when put to the context of the 50 years celebration, investment is hardcore to economic change and progress by mobilizing resources for succeeding generations.
The opening ceremony was climaxed by an in-door meeting for President Koroma and some of the investors present for the conference. The conference is expected to end today at the Country Lodge Hotel Hill Station in Freetown.
By Saidu Bah