Foreword by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, James Wharton MP, and UK Minister for the Middle East and Africa in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Tobias Elwood MP
Africa’s story in the twenty-first century is one of entrepreneurialism, advancing technology and rising opportunity. Sierra Leone was very much a part of this story and in 2013 was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Investments in infrastructure and energy were accelerating, efforts to strengthen government institutions and capacity were underway, and the Sierra Leone Government had committed to reforms to improve governance and private sector growth. As a result, there were a number of potential international investment opportunities in energy, including in hydropower and solar generation; infrastructure; natural resources such as bauxite, diamonds, gold, rutile, coltan, iron ore and potentially offshore oil. There were largely untapped opportunities in agriculture and fisheries, with fish stocks estimated at more than $100 million per annum.
Now, more than a year since the World Health Organisation declared all of West Africa ‘Ebola free’ Sierra Leone is nearing the end of a successful recovery programme and Sierra Leoneans are looking to the future – a future with a growing economy and increasing prosperity. A flourishing private sector, underpinned by government-led reforms, will be key to creating more and better quality jobs and driving forward sustainable economic growth that benefits all.
There remains huge potential in sectors such as energy, mining, petroleum, agriculture and infrastructure. The UK stands ready to work with the Government of Sierra Leone to diversify its economy, improve transparency, broaden its tax base, develop and improve its infrastructure or create jobs for the people of Sierra Leone. The UK also stands ready to work with the private sector because their involvement and investment will be central to unlocking this potential – by identifying and driving the business opportunities that Sierra Leoneans stand ready to grasp. We hope that this guide will support the widening and strengthening of partnerships that are so critical for our shared prosperity.
Joint Letter from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Standard Chartered Bank and Prudential plc
We are delighted to have worked together to produce this guide to investing in Sierra Leone, highlighting the opportunities the country offers, providing context for potential investors and outlining resources that potential investors can draw on.
As global businesses with a long-standing commitment to Africa in general – and Sierra Leone in particular – we are passionate about supporting Sierra Leone in its goal of reaching middle-income status by 2035. While challenges remain, the country offers a range of underlying growth and investment opportunities.
There is no doubt that the financial and professional services sector has an important role to play in supporting the building of stronger banking, insurance and legal frameworks in Sierra Leone. We are absolutely committed to working with the Government of Sierra Leone and international partners and investors to help the country reach its full potential, for the benefit of all.
We hope that this Investor Guide will serve as a useful resource for all those with an interest in helping Sierra Leone on its path towards economic growth.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Standard Chartered Bank and Prudential plc are very grateful for the assistance provided in the compilation of this Guide by the Government of Sierra Leone including Addax Bioenergy, the Africa Governance Initiative, Agiterra Group, BMT Law Chambers, Copperbelt Energy Corporation, Eversheds LLP, Francis Taylor Building, Friends Provident, Lion Mountains and Phoenix Africa Development Company, Manocap, Planting Promise and Lion Growth, the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency, Solon Capital Partners, TCQ Power, the UK Department for International Development, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK Sierra Leone Pro Bono Network.