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Finance Minister On Diplomatic Charm Offensive

Opinions

Finance Minister On Diplomatic Charm Offensive

The Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa  has met with senior officials of the Indian Government, Indian EXIM Bank and many other CEOs of Indian companies at the prestigious Sheraton Hotel in Abuja.

The meeting dubbed CII-EXIM Bank Regional Conclave on India and West Africa brought together West Africa Ministers, senior officials of governments of India and West Africa countries, CEOs, diplomats and potential investors.

The purpose was to discuss challenges and opportunities for strengthening cooperation between India and West Africa and   specifically to increase on FDI flows to West Africa from India and expand both imports and exports from all sides. Discussions covered investments in energy, manufacturing, education, agriculture, ICT and the environment.

Very important were the bilateral discussions the Minister had with senior officials of India, notably C R Chaudhary,  Minister of State Commerce and Industry, Debasish Mallick, Deputy Managing  Director,  EXIM Bank of India, Harish Kumar,Chief Manager, EXIM Bank, Pushpesh Tyagi, Resident Representative of India Exim based in Cote D’ivoire and Indrayani Mulay, Deputy Director,  International Division,  Confederation of Indian Industry and Keshav Chandra, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce and Industry.

Mr. Saffa successfully negotiated the reactivation of two pipeline projects in agriculture and water sectors which were about to be cancelled due to the failure of the last regime to prepare proposals to access funding for these projects. One is US$30 million project for Torma Bum and a US$15 million four town water supply project. Mr. Saffa is expected to link with respective sector ministries to flesh out proposals to access funding for these projects. Already, a US$78 million Transmission and Substations Energy project has recently been approved but await detailed project design. The Minister further discussed preferential trade facilities with the Indian Government.

Finally, Minister Saffa presented priorities of the Bio administration, education and training, agriculture, tourism and marine. As usual, he elaborated on the opportunities in these sectors and called on Indian Investors to come to Sierra Leone.

The Minister left Abuja for Bali, Indonesia for the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings. He is leading a delegation of three officials from Finance, two from BSL, two from NRA and three from NCP.

He will meet the World Bank Vice President, officials of Global Financing Facility, hold discussions on human capital, sign a Solar agreement with IFC of the World Bank Group and serve as a Panelist for a few development discussion fora organised during the Annual Meetings.

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