State House, Freetown, Friday 17 November 2023 – Press Secretary to His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has briefed the media on the outcomes of two major international engagements – Africa Investment Forum in Marrakech, Morocco and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Saudi-Africa Summits in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Mr Solomon Jamiru also recounted the many fruitful bilateral meetings with the Saudi Minister of Education, His Excellency Dr Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Benyan, the engagement with Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, Governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PIF, the sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He recalled that the meeting between the President, his Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Timothy Musa Kabbah, and Amin Hassan Naser, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Saudi-ARAMCO, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Group and the second largest in the world by revenue in 2022.
The Press Secretary emphasised the role of the media in understanding important issues that touched and concerned Sierra Leoneans, citing trade and investment in the context of President Julius Maada Bio’s five key development priorities in his second mandate. He drew the attention of journalists to the FEED SALONE, a priority agenda of the government that sought to achieve food self-sufficiency and sovereignty.
“So that’s why we want to be in a position to reduce imports of rice and increase exports of food crops, create jobs and stimulate economic growth and human development, the flagship of the president in his first mandate. Within the broader configuration of things discussed, trade and investment are at the heart of the engagements on economic diplomacy.
“And the good thing for this investment boardroom and under the auspices of the African Development Bank was that they took tremendous interest in those presentations that were made and especially getting into the more technical details that were done by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security. So, there was already a positive indication from development partners,” he said.
Mr Jamiru noted that Siera Leone was lucky to have witnessed the announcement by the Arab Coordinating Group of $50 billion in additional finance for Africa, adding that that was indicative of Saudi Arabia’s immense interest in Africa, expressing hope after the many bilateral engagements with top-notch industry leaders and top-notch political leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Press Secretary also introduced Alhaji Alpha Tanue Jalloh, a businessman, who was part of the government delegation to Saudi Arabia as a private sector representative, who told the media about the importance of public-private partnership. He thanked the government of Sierra Leone for the opportunity and encouraged them to continue to involve private businesses to work with their counterparts abroad.
He said bringing the private sector on board would continue to add value to the country’s economic diplomacy and job creation. He cited the flower mill as an example of how a local company met a Turkish company that was now in the country because the government took along to a recent trade and investment conference in Istanbul.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Timothy Musa Kabba, told the media about his engagements emphasising that their meeting the CEO of Saudi-ARAMCO was good for the oil and gas prospects of Sierra Leone, noting that they had also indicated interest in constructing tanks and supplying petrochemicals to ensure energy efficiency.
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