Still rebuilding after a devastating civil war, Sierra Leone is also working to reconstruct its business environment to make it more attractive to foreign partners who could assist with developing the country’s transport and telecoms infrastructure and stimulating economic activity.
“We are really spending a lot of time and resources to improve our ability for business. We have done pretty well in terms of legislation and regulation. We have improved our company law. We are looking at our tariff barriers as well. We are making enough progress to be able to move up the ranking. We still have to improve our domestic skills because skills are very important if we want to attract foreign direct investments,” says Dr Samura Kamara, minister of finance and development.
Currently the government is implementing a development plan that is focused on the priority areas of agriculture, infrastructure, growth and human development – albeit slowly. “It’s a bit slow because it requires a huge amount of resources. And the national budget doesn’t have the capacity to take on [the plan’s focus areas].” That is why the government is seeking outside help, both in the form of private investment and aid money; in November a donor’s conference will take place in London.
For a country at such a delicate stage of development (redevelopment, rather), a global crisis is the last thing it needs. But Dr Kamara is keen to stress that equally it represents a chance for Africa to shine. “We look at every crisis and hope we will grow from it. Africa represents the highest return on investments of any region of the world, the economies are growing and there are a lot of efforts being made towards improving governance,” he says.