Octber 2, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation established in 2005 by former United States President William Jefferson Clinton (Bill Clinton), this week announced a new commitment to action for Sierra Leone to turn over sustainable economic recovery following the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.
The new commitment titled, ‘Re-Grow West Africa: Post-Ebola Private Sector Recovery’, was selected this week during the CGI annual meeting in New York for its exemplary approach to addressing a critical challenge after the Ebola outbreak crippled the economy of the country, including the private sector.
The new commitment will be implemented by the Sierra Leone Import and Export Promotion Agency, and according to Chelsea Clinton, daughter of the former president and Mrs. Hillary Clinton, the withdrawal of private sector investment in countries affected by Ebola has led to huge loss of employment, income and government tax revenue.
She said the new initiative would support the recovery and development of the private sector by building public-private partnerships to overcome early development hurdles that block viable projects, adding that the fundamental premise behind ‘Re-Grow West Africa’ is that strong public health systems are reliant on strong economies with dynamic private sectors.
Speaking after the ceremony, a Board member of RESOLVE, award-winning actor and businessman, Jeffrey Wright, who is also active in development and philanthropy in Sierra Leone, said the new idea is part of a new wave of innovative economic development, and called for collaboration across sectors.
“Re-Grow West Africa is more than aid, it puts assets in the hands of the nation for economic growth today and strengthened health systems and networks tomorrow,” he said.
He added that the one million dollars trust is for the three countries worst hit by the outbreak – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – and that it would provide direct investment in small medium enterprises and high-impact Greenfield projects.
Sierra Leonean business consultant, Hussine Yilla, said the initiative would profile investment projects and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and help connect them with international investors, donors and other partners.
“Re-Grow West Africa fills a gap by identifying development-oriented investment projects, curating the portfolio, and creating a platform for private sector partnership,” stated Yilla.