As Guest of Honour at the Rebranding Africa Forum (RAF) held in Brussels on the 21st October, President Julius Maada Bio has called on investors and the different stakeholders that “Africa cannot be ignored”.
He said Africa is the market that will help boost global growth and investment, and is undoubtedly the trade frontier in the world.
President Bio highlighted Africa’s bountiful resource endowment and invited just and equitable partnerships on the continent.
Speaking on the theme of the 9th edition of the RAF conference “Revolution in African financial systems, blending authenticity and modernity: Pathways to financial inclusion”, President Bio called on African leaders to collaborate for financial inclusion as no single country or institution can achieve financial inclusion alone.
He spoke about his government’s strides towards financial inclusion and other Government’s efforts at positioning Sierra Leone to play a leading role in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
President Bio further spoke about his new mandate and the five priority areas of his government which are, agriculture, human capital development, youth empowerment scheme, public service transformation, and technology and infrastructure initiatives.
“These strategic national development initiatives form the bedrock upon which we shall usher in profound change, catalysing economic growth, alleviating hunger and poverty, generating abundant employment prospects, and fostering resilience in adversity.” He echoed.
President Bio spoke about Sierra Leone’s upcoming tenure on the UN Security Council, and promised that the tenure will be used to promote global peace and security including ECOWAS and Sahel sub-regions and will also strongly advocate for the Common Africa Position on the reforms of the Security Council.
The President spoke about the need for international partnerships to rebrand Africa as no county can do it without international support. However, he said the strategic partnerships should be based on mutual respect and trust.
He said that Africa needs partners “that do not dictate which strategies or tools we should adopt and how to implement them. We need partners to support our home-grown strategies and development pathways for our nations’ unique challenges and opportunities”
President of The Rebranding Africa Forum Thierry Hot, said it is important for Africa to come together, especially in times like this when the world is facing a financial crisis.
Statements were also made by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO, ITFC, George Agyekum Donkor, President and Chairman ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and others they emphasizing the need for financial inclusion and rebranding of Africa.
At the end of the session, President Bio held a bilateral engagements with Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol CEO, International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation; George Agyekum Donkor President and Chairman of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID); Abbas Mahamat Tolli (Governor of the West Africa Development Bank; and Kanayo Awani Vice President of the African Afreximbank calling on them that Sierra Leone is open for investment.