July 24, 2020
As part of its support to businesses, investors and the Government of Sierra Leone, Invest Salone has launched a free COVID-19 resources and information portal. According to Team Leader Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie, Invest Salone’s COVID-19 response programme will support the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone to reduce the effects of the global pandemic on the private sector.
When the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic in March this year,governments and businesses across the world initially planned for an intense crisis phase with a singular focus on ending the pandemic, followed by a post-crisis recovery phase. However, perceptions have shifted as the pandemic has progressed. Most scenarios now predict many more months of the pandemic in a virulent form, with economies coming to terms with the need to operate in a new normal alongside COVID-19.
Invest Salone aims to help the private sector and policymakers navigate this difficult environment by providingfree online access to reliable business-related information in the form of news, research, toolkits, training courses and practical guidance for businesses.
“Our COVID-19 information portal isn’t just intended to help businesses survive the challenges of the pandemic,” Team Leader Chikezie explains. “Its purpose is also to see them emerge stronger, more resilient, more innovative, and well-placed to compete and serve their customers in the emerging post-COVID-19 world.”
Chikezie also emphasises the need for society, and in particular policymakers, businesses, investors and employees, to adjust to the sharp economic fallout and the ongoing need to provide safe spaces for staff, customers and suppliers. As he puts it: “This will require a complete reimagining of business models.”
To mirror this ongoing adjustment to a new normal, Invest Salone’s COVID-19 portal is being designed in phases to capture the evolving needs of businesses operating in Sierra Leone. This is to ensure businesses have vital, up-to-date information that will help them to operate throughout and beyond the pandemic. Chikezie observes, “It is clear that businesses must not only stay afloat during the worst economic crisis in living memory, they must also see themselves as operating on the frontline of this global battle for survival. Invest Salone’s COVID-19 portal aims to provide them with the information they need to survive and thrive.”
Invest Salone is a private sector development programme, supported by UK aid, that facilitates investment in the agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and tourism sectors to help raise the incomes of 370,000 people in Sierra Leone. The four-year programme aims to reduce the risk and cost of doing business in Sierra Leone through promoting investment climate reforms and working closely with the public and private sectors to identify, design and implement these reforms. Invest Salone also applies market systems development principles to mobilise private sector capabilities and resources.