Sierra Leone Attends Gulf–Africa Investment Conference
Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, His Excellency, Ambassador Wusu B. Munu and the Information Attaché, Alhaji M.B. Jalloh last Sunday, 5th December, 2010, represented Sierra Leone at the Gulf-Africa Investment Conference held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The conference which was organized by the Council for Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industries (CSCCI) and the Gulf Research Center was held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
It was attended by four African Heads of State, Ministers, Ambassadors, Economic Experts, Academicians and prominent Businessmen.
The delegates addressed key issues related to Communications and Infrastructure, Energy, Agriculture, Trade, Mining and Natural Resources. The conference stressed the importance of promoting financial instruments through the participation of private sectors between Africa and the Gulf States.
In a speech read out on behalf of the King, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Abdullah Bin Ahmed Zainal, the King called on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) businessmen to establish economic partnership with their African counterparts.
The King said that Africa was attractive due to its geographical proximity and its agricultural components, adding that, there was no doubt that the cooperation in this field will lead to meeting the needs of the GCC markets by providing them with African agricultural products.
In his keynote address, the President of Senegal, Maitre Abdoulaye Wade, proposed the establishment of a joint body to promote the economic development of GCC and African countries.
President Wade said that Africa would work to activate the partnership between Gulf and African countries in the best interest of the people of both sides. He noted that there were many untapped opportunities the two blocs could work on together.
The Senegalese leader observed that the cooperation between the Gulf and African countries was indispensable as both regions share common challenges and that both sides must work jointly to accomplish their dreams and interests. He further noted that there was need to work together to find innovative solutions and creative ideas for Africa and the Gulf States, if the dream for the two will be realizable.
The Senegalese Chief Executive also informed the conference of his country’s preparedness to host the next African-Gulf investment conference.
Other African heads of state and officials at the event included, President of Mozambique, Armando Emilio Guebuza, President of Benin, Dr. Thomas Boni Yayi, President of Kenya, Emilio Mwai Kibaki and the Vice President of Ghana, John Daramani Mahama who deputized President Professor Atta Mills.
At the end of the conference, the delegates adopted a series of recommendations destined to foster economic relations between GCC and sub-Saharan African countries.
They proposed among other things, the establishment of a Gulf-African fund to create investment companies to achieve food security in the sector of agricultural development in the Gulf and African countries.
They also urged Gulf commercial banks to open branches in Africa, as well as exhibitions and meetings between businessmen on both sides of the divide.
A new foundation, in co-operation with the African Development Bank, was proposed to support investment in the region through the establishment of a regional office. Its main aim will be to allow the easy flow of goods, services and capital between the two parties and the allocation of investment funds to support the joint investment projects in Africa.