April 24, 2019
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone limited, Idrissa Kamara, has disclosed that the bank has committed at least US$20 billion from 2017-2020 to the Belt and Road projects, and that they were involved in more than 50 Belt and Road deals, worth more than $10 billion across a range of projects and services.
The CEO made the above disclosure on Monday, 22 April at the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel during the bank’s Belt and road relay event-the first ever global running event spanning the belt and road initiative, led by staff athletes from the bank, selected from its diverse footprint in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
He said in Sierra Leone, the Wellington-Masiaka Tool road, Grafton, Juba Bridge Expansion, Spur Road, Lungi-PortLoko Road, and the Lungi-Targrin prjects, among others, were part of the scheme supported by the initiative.
He stated that due to the scale and complexity of the Belt and Road initiative, collaboration and partnership with regulators, financial institutions and development banks were critical in ensuring that everyone can benefit from the initiative.
The CEO, who was cladded in sport wears after the marathon along Lumley-Aberdeen beach road, said the relay provided them with a platform to promote future makers, and their new global initiative to tackle inequality and greater economic inclusion.
“The eight athletes taking part in the relay will be raising funds for global community programs aimed at empowering the next generation to learn, earn and grow. In addition, they will be participating in community events in Malaysia, Uganda and China,” he said
He boasted that they were the leading international banking group with a presence in more than 60 of the world’s most dynamic markets, thus stating that that was to drive commerce and prosperity through their unique diversity and their heritage and values are expressed in their brand promise “Here for good.”
He stated that their colleague athletes’ heroes have made history by running the first ever attempted relay in the Belt & Road route, across 44 markets.
Earlier, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Hu Zhangliang,said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an important initiative for international cooperation proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, with the view to enhancing both China’s development and international cooperation.
The Ambassador said since the inception of the BRI, it has received strong endorsement and wide support of the international community and that 126 countries and 26 international organisations have signed the BRI cooperation documents with China, Sierra Leone inclusive.
He said it has been proven by countless facts that BRI is not a ‘debt trap’ as alleged by some certain countries or people but an ‘economic pie’ that benefits the local communities, thus stating that “ it is no geopolitical tool as some people claim, but a great opportunity for shared development.”
“The latest studies by the World Bank and other international institutions snuggest that the BRI cooperation will cut the costs of global trade by 1.1 to 2.2% and those of trade along the China –Centre Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor by 10.2%. What is more, it will contribute at least 0.1% of global growth in 2019,” he said.
H.E Hu Zhangliang, said the second Belt and Road Forum would be held in Beljing later next month with over 5000 foreign delegates from more than 150 countries and more than 90 international organizations are expected to attend the forum.
He said Standard Chartered has a significant presence in a wide range of countries and regions in the world and that they were pleased to see the bank aligning its business with the BRI and continue providing quality financial services to investors who conduct businesses in countries along the Belt and Road.
Meanwhile, stamentments were made by the Minister of Youths, Mohamed Orman Bangura, Mayor of Freetown City Council, Yvonnie Aki Sawyerr, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt and the nDeputy Bank Governor respectively.