In line with Sierra Leone’s focus on promoting investment and economic growth after the civil war, an Investor Outreach Mission from the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), Tourist Board and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has visited South Africa and Mauritius to make contact with potential investors in the Agriculture, Tourism and Energy Sectors.
A significant upfront preparation was done by Fever Tree consulting to ensure that the delegation meet with the decision makers of leading organizations represented in South Africa; and that the content of the meeting was tailored to the potential investors’ requirements.
The Outreach Mission to South Africa was a resounding success, with 20 meetings held with senior executives / decision makers of leading organizations in both South Africa and Mauritius.
Significant interest was expressed by the potential investors across all the sectors with clearly defined next-steps that have been developed to enable the Government of Sierra Leone follow up with each potential opportunity identified.
The delegation also met one-on-one with senior executives from each of the companies. The meeting was attended by more than 20 senior business leaders, mainly representing companies outside the Mission’s main focus sectors of Agriculture, Tourism and Energy.
Senior business leaders from Financial Institutions, Resource Companies and Investment Houses, amongst others, were represented.
An organized dinner also provided an excellent opportunity for the delegation to introduce Sierra Leone’s new Honorary Consul in South Africa, Major-General Keith Mokape, to the business community, several of whom also expressed strong interest in Sierra Leone and requested further detailed information.
Several specific next steps and requests for additional information were agreed during each of the one-to-one meetings with target investors.
It is expected that SLIEPA and the National Tourism Board will follow-up with each of the target investors personally to answer their specific questions and urged them to visit Sierra Leone in the near future to evaluate the investment opportunities in more detail.
The delegation and Fever Tree team also noted the following general next steps to facilitate and accelerate investment in Sierra Leone:
Recommendation on completion of Bilateral Investment Protection and Double Taxation Agreements to begin evaluating expansion opportunities in Sierra Leone in the next 6-12 months and to ideally send technical teams to Sierra Leone at the time of the Partnership Summit in November
The delegation also organized meetings with the sugar industry in Mauritius where three companies are involved in sugar production, production of sugar by-products, energy, property development and tourism.
All three companies were impressed with investment possibilities in Sierra Leone and the companies requested more information on soil analysis. It was highly recommended that an executive of each company be invited to Sierra Leone to witness the potential offered by Sierra Leone.
The delegation also met with the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Fisheries, Finance and the Investment Board of Mauritius and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between them and SLIEPA.
The Ministers expressed wish that ties be reinforced between Mauritius and Sierra Leone and invited Sierra Leone to develop its links with Mauritius.
Regarding fisheries, the Minister stated that Mauritius was in need of fish to satisfy the production capacity of the transformation plants already active on the island, and invited Sierra Leone to provide the fish.
The signature of a MOU with Sierra Leone and its intentions to sign a PTA agreement with Sierra Leone showed their willingness to strengthen ties with Sierra Leone and to act as facilitator for investment in Sierra Leone coming from India and China.
By Saidu Bah