By Lansana Fofanah.
President Bio’s recent visit to the People’s Republic of China on the Forum for China and Africa Conference (FOCAC), has opened lucrative doors of Sierra Leone to foreign investors who have expressed great interest in investing in the many sectors in the country.
During yesterday’s update on the President’s visit, Ministers that formed part of the President’s delegation were present to give detailed analysis of the different development and projects they undertook during the visit.
the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Jacob Jusu Saffa informed journalists that China has pledge to donate approximately forty million United State dollars as budgetary support to Sierra Leone which he says will help greatly in the implementation of priority projects of the government such as the Free and Quality Education.
Mr Saffa says the utmost initiative of the New Direction government is to create friendly business environments that will encourage private capital investment and China is willing to support such initiative in the country. “We are not haters of China. It has never been a crime to negotiate with China. But what is bad is to enter into agreement that does not reflect the real terms and conditions. The Chinese are willing to invest in Sierra Leone because they are following the economic reforms of this government. If it is the Chinese that are willing to invest in the country, so be it but other nations are as well welcome,” he states.
On the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with communication giants Startimes of China and Huawai Technology, the Minister of Information and Communication Mohamed Rado Swaray said that it’s high time the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation is transformed to a digital system to make it more competitive and to boost the fiber optic sector that will take internets to private homes.
Mr. Swaray says the visit of President Bio to China, offered a great opportunity which showcased the potentials of the country to investors who were thrilled by the good comments from the President of China Xi Jinping about Sierra Leone. Mr. Swaray says Sierra Leone will make use of every opportunity to benefit largely from the sixty Billion dollar package set aside by China for the development of Africa.
The Minister of Agriculture Joseph Ndanema says investors have expressed great interest to engage in the production of rice in Sierra Leone as currently, China feeds 1.4 billion of its people and the plan of this government is to be able to feed the 7.3 million Sierra Leoneans for self-sufficient. “One of the companies will be farming rice on a 35,000 hectares of land in Sierra Leone and also another has expressed interest in planting rubber in an area of 10,000 hectares;” he says.
The Minister says that seed preparation will start next month as currently, the seeds in the country produce from 0.15 to 1.5 tons per hectares but with such investors, that will increase to 7.5 tons per hectares and production will be done twice a year.
The Press Secretary in the Office of the President Yussuf Keketoma Sandi says the President’s invitation to FOCAC came about in Nouakchott in Mauritania where the Africa Representative for China met with President and had fruitful discussions which was later extended as an invitation.
Mr. Sandi says President Bio was able to deepen the existing bilateral relationship with China and traveled big cities and met with potential investors.