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Op-Ed

Foreign Direct Investment: A Case for Inclusive Economic Development in Sierra Leone!

March 18, 2019

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Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is indispensable for developing a country like Sierra Leone for the purpose of economic growth, which should help lessen the shameful burden of abject poverty in Sierra Leone.  I commend the administration of H.E. President Bio for making FDI an integral part of its strategy to “plan, coordinate and monitor government’s development programs to ensure they have maximum positive impact on the lives of citizens” and for launching the excellent 2019-2023 Medium-Term National Development Plan!  However, a brilliant strategy that is not flawlessly executed to deliver desired results for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans is as worthless as having a great law that is not equitably enforced for the good of all Sierra Leoneans. That said, I kindly call on H.E. President Bio to leverage VALUABLE foreign direct investments and deliver inclusive economic development for all Sierra Leoneans. H.E., a measure of inclusive economic development is the creation of five hundred thousand (500,000) new-sustainable-living-wage-private-sector jobs for the poor, vulnerable and non-politically-connected majority in Sierra Leone by 2023!!

Investors the world over want one thing and one thing only, good return on investment (ROI).  According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the 2017 Global Foreign Direct Investment was US$1.43 trillion with Africa attracting about 3% (US$ 42 billion) of the investment.  To build investor confidence and attract valuable FDI in Sierra Leone, the country needs to be competitive and offer both current and future foreign investors the following (patience, commitment and desired results are needed to build the Sierra Leone we all richly deserve — Rome was not built in a day):

Basic Investor Needs — quality, accessible and affordable food, water supply, electricity, transportation, telecommunication, housing, healthcare and human resources.

Good Governance Foundation — stability, accountability, rule of law and control of corruption.

Healthy Business Environment — ease of setting up business without frustrating bureaucracy, common-sense and comprehensive governance regulations (kudos for the new Corporate Governance Code for Sierra Leone), protection of intellectual property and sound legislative framework (contracts, banking system, fair trade, taxes, tariffs, worker protection, non-political interference, protection of life and property, et cetera.) for a healthy business climate.

I hold the strong view that to bring to fruition win-win partnerships, valuable FDI should mean:

Sierra Leone having majority controlling ownership in the oil & gas, extractive, fishery, agriculture and tourism industries to protect the country’s strategic national resources. There is no free lunch.

Foreign direct investment entities getting good ROI and committing to capacity building in Sierra Leone with regards to modern technology deployment, value-add production and distribution networks, and human capital enhancement in terms of managerial and marketing proficiency.

Foreign direct investment entities abiding by international and domestic laws vis-à-vis corporate responsibility, social inclusion (youths, women, people with disability, et cetera) and environmental protection to support good economic development in Sierra Leone.

Foreign direct investment entities including both the private sector and development partners.

H.E. President Bio — many, many Sierra Leoneans (me included) are rooting for you, but remember that the buck stops at your desk, legacy matters and history will judge you in kind so please deliver sound economic development from FDI for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans, not just for the politicians, intelligentsia, wealthy, powerful or politically connected elites.  H.E., DOYAH ALWAYS PUT SALONE FOSS!!!

God Bless Sierra Leone

Biography – Boima Morray

Mr. Boima Morray has over two decades of business and leadership experience in the private sector.  He is a visionary leader who has held strategic leadership positions including Vice President, Executive Director and General Manager in Corporate America.

Mr. Morray successfully completed his education in the United States and he holds MBA in General Management from the University of Wisconsin School of Business, MS in Electrical Engineering from Marquette University and BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin.

Mr. Morray started and completed his college preparatory education in Sierra Leone.  He earned his A-Level Diploma from The Bo School, O-Level Diploma from Holy Trinity Secondary School in Kenema and Selective Entrance Certificate from St. Charles Lwanga Primary School in Kenema.