Sonkita Conteh, Diector of Namati Sierra Leone, discusses how the country’s upcoming land reform could approach large scale and foreign investment into land, originally published at OSIWA.org


 

A series of short videos on the website of Sierra Leone’s investment promotion agency (SLIEPA) tout the country as one of the most attractive oases for investment. “Business friendly reforms…. tough anti-corruption laws…. attractive incentives….abundant natural resources…. and 5.4 million hectares of arable land make Sierra Leone one of the best destinations for investment in Africa”, according to one.

Globally, the competition for foreign direct investment (FDI) is fierce but sub-Saharan Africa seems to be holding its own quite well. According to Ernst and Young’s 2014 Africa attractiveness survey, the continent’s share of FDI projects in 2013 was nearly 6%, the highest level in a decade. Four countries- South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria- were the biggest gainers in a year that saw sub-Saharan Africa’s continental share of FDI projects leaping from 58% to 71%. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that FDI flows to Africa in 2013 reached $ 56 billion.

Sierra Leone aspires to increase its comparatively minuscule share of FDI. Its current poverty reduction strategy- a five-year development blueprint- aims to initiate the country’s transformation to middle income status by 2030. The “motor” for this change would be “responsible natural resource exploitation”, with the private sector playing a leading role.

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