March 17, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
L-R, SLeCDA’s Execcutive Secretatary, Director of ODA and Private Sector manager, ODA
The Executive Secretary of the Sierra Leone Chamber of Agribusiness Development (SLeCAD), Ahmed Nanoh, has urged the private sector to invest in agriculture ,which, he said remains to be the country’s biggest investment sector.
The SLeCAD chief was speaking at a presser held on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at their Bathurst Street office in Freetown on the upcoming round table business conference scheduled for today (March 17) at the Cube Restaurant.
The confab, according to the SLeCAD boss, would be organised by the Sierra Leone Netherlands Business and Culture Council (SNBCC) in collaboration with his organisation and the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), to discuss with business partners in the Diaspora, with a view to encouraging them to invest in the private sector.
He said business would only flourish in a country when the private sector is up and running but that the sector was dormant, which, he said posed a critical challenge to the growth of the economy of Sierra Leone.
“We need to create the necessary jobs that would make our brothers and sisters that are yet to graduate from university. This would build their confidence that they would get jobs on completion of courses. We need to create the enabling atmosphere for the private sector to be able to move the economy. The government would capacitate and build the necessary infrastructures needed to make life better for everyone. What would make any country to move forward or to get to the level of development is when the private sector is up and running. And honestly speaking, that is a critical challenge we have in the country. The private sector is still dormant,” he said.
He noted that just like Sierra Leone, agricultural sector was the biggest sector in the Netherlands and that the Dutch were helping other country’s economic growth.
“The agribusiness sector is one of the biggest investment sectors in our country. It anchors 75% of the population and contributes 53% of the GDP.It also has the potential to create 65% jobs in the country and has the potential to make our balance of payment positive. It has the potential to make sure that we are self- food sufficient and our country become a middle income nation in the next decade if we can all make our effort to get the best from that sector,” Nanoh said.
Earlier, Private sector Manager of ODA, Joseph Lansana, said his office was charged with three mandates including building the capacity of ministries departments and agencies, tracking remittance, and promoting private sector in the country.
He said their interest in the entire engagement was to link local investors with their counterpart in the Diaspora as they believed local entrepreneurs have the idea and resilient, but the resources were not available.
“For this time, we have come together to bring a forum that will include Diasporas to see the better ways that we can develop our country through investment and how the Diaspora growth can attract other foreign nationals to come and invest,” he said.
SNBCC coordinator, Binta Jalloh, said her office was to link business from Netherlands to Sierra Leone, with a view to promoting the private sector.
“This invent will serve as an opportunity for a sustainable collaboration for companies and organisations that are based in sierra Leone to share common ideas, skill, values and possible resources for the establishment of an effective and efficient business relationship that would ensure economic growth in the country. The Netherlands is very good in business especially in agriculture. The SNBCC will serve as a platform to promote a very healthy business environment for the existing and upcoming entrepreneurs from both countries,” Ms. Jalloh said
She noted that at the end of the Friday’s conference, they would come up with six business cases that they would be presented to the Dutch investors on April 6 at the Heineken House, Amsterdam, Netherlands for onward presentation to Dutch companies that Sierra Leone was ready for business.
“I believe the Netherlands would play a great role in the private sector development in the country. Already the Dutch are here and the Netherlands government is very supportive of this initiative,” she said.