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Sierra Leone ripe for investment and tourism – Envoy attracts Nigerians



Sierra Leone ripe for investment and tourism – Envoy attracts Nigerians

……… Says that the business environment is favorable to investors

By Ifeanyi Nwoko

Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to Nigeria Dr Solomon Gembeh said his country is now fully open and fertile for business and tourism.

In an interview with the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, Gembeh said that although there are many successful Nigerian businesses in Sierra Leone, the land was still virgin for further investment.

He said that based on the relationship between the two countries and the big brother role Nigeria has continued to play, Sierra Leone is home to every Nigerian.

He said that driving investors to his country has been his main focus since his appointment in 2018, stressing that a lot of work has been done to strengthen the trade relationship between the two countries.

“Well, I came to this country because of a bad image of my country here in Nigeria. The business community has not been very happy with their relationship in Sierra Leone.

“We needed to reorient, refocus and clean up the image of Sierra Leone in Nigeria and to the extent and as you see what I do here in Nigeria, wherever I go, I give the right image of Sierra Leone to this. country.

“And here’s the argument and I think I managed to do it for the most part. There are many of our Nigerian brethren doing business in Sierra Leone.

“We have about 13 banks in Sierra Leone and nine of them are owned by Nigerians and they have hired the majority, say 97% to 98% of the local population.

“If you go to the central district, it is dominated by Nigerians, despite those few areas that could have created a bitter feeling about Sierra Leone. Your brothers are there to make money.

“So, I postulate, why don’t we demand to go to Sierra Leone to join our brothers there and invest.

“Our beach life in Freetown is wonderful, we still have beautiful beaches. Our grooves are very receptive along the beaches, beach life you will always enjoy (and) the fresh sea catches are amazing, ”he said.

The High Commissioner said a number of businesses would have sprung up in his country had it not been for the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, however, that the country, under the able leadership of President Julius Bio, has created a good environment for things to start bouncing back quickly.

“We were about to build that image, to refocus Sierra Leone so people know Sierra Leone is a destination for tourism and all kinds of investment.

“So if you really have the money, now is the time to grow. Sierra Leone is a very fertile place to collect.

“If you’re in oil and gas, we have oil blocks. I can assure you that quite a few Nigerians already have oil blocks. You can invest in hotels, in the entertainment industry.

“If you want to get into farming, we have a lot of farmland. We have a similar tropical environment. There is sun most of the year, it rains too. So any area you want to invest in.

“You want to get into spare parts, spare parts is a booming industry. Nigerians dominate the parts industry; there is active competition in this industry.

“You want to help with our infrastructure; you can build roads and make tolls. We are looking for people to give us longer bridges, although others are there, we can create other avenues like these ferry services, it is a very lucrative business, ”he said.

He however highlighted some priority areas to include: education and health, noting that Nigerian investors can choose to establish hospitals. (NOPE)

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