President Koroma and Tony Blair Announce Investment Conference to Showcase Sierra Leonean Progress


President Koroma and Tony Blair Announce Investment Conference to Showcase Sierra Leonean Progress

Posted on: 22nd September 2009

The first day of the Conference will feature a Trade and Investment Forum aimed at private investors. The second day will bring together existing and potential donor partners for the latest Sierra Leone Consultative Group meeting, chaired by President Koroma, the UK Minister for International Development and the World Bank Vice President for Africa. The Conference is being hosted by the Governments of Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom and supported by donor and corporate partners from around the world.

Commenting on the Conference, President Koroma said: "I am very pleased to announce this Investment Conference that I will be attending with my good friend, Tony Blair. Last year, the country was named the 'easiest place to open a new business' in West Africa by the World Bank. From minerals to fishing, from agriculture to energy, the opportunities for investors are enormous and tangible.

"For example, tourism is increasing - the first guidebook to the country has already sold out, and we are one of Lonely Planet's top 10 destinations this year. We have beautiful beaches, world class fishing and diving, and a rich cultural and historical heritage to explore.

"My mission is clear: more than half of my people live on less than a dollar a day, yet we are determined to end our dependence on donor funding. Economic growth is the only way out of poverty."

Commenting on the Conference, Founder of the Africa Governance Initiative, Tony Blair said: "President Koroma is a remarkable leader. I share his belief that Governance and Growth are the most pressing challenges for his country and indeed the continent. I am backing Sierra Leone, and I think the Sierra Leone Conference in London this November will mark a big opportunity for investors and donors alike. As an experienced businessman himself, President Koroma understands the importance of a flourishing private sector. He knows that economic growth is key to eradicating poverty.

"And these aren't just words. I've seen for myself the change that is being brought about on the ground by his pro-business reforming agenda - from the development of essential policies around investment incentives and public-private partnerships; and real investment opportunities and projects such as a multi-million pound investment in palm oil, the opportunity to privatize the port, and new hotel developments on Sierra Leone's world class beaches.

"The Africa Governance Initiative, which I set up just over a year ago, has reinforced my enthusiasm for the future of Africa, as well as my conviction that governance and growth are the key ingredients to effectively reduce poverty across Africa."

The Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative helps some of Africa's most dynamic leaders deliver the change their people need to relieve poverty and drive economic development. The innovative, 'hands on' approach embeds small teams, working side-by-side with staff in Presidential Offices, Investment Agencies and key Ministries to support government to deliver poverty reduction as a national priority.

This unique model of development is not just about handing out aid, but building the capacity to create sustainable long-term change. By providing high level political and business advice, AGI has already started to deliver real change in Rwanda and Sierra Leone.


The work described here was carried out by the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, it is now being continued by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.


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