“Come to Sierra Leone, invest and employ our Sierra Leonean compatriots, and we will ensure that we create an avenue for you to make profits from your investments. We have a new government that is serious about investment, and we will do everything to protect it,” he stated.
President Bio continued, “our brothers and sisters from China are invited to come to Sierra Leone. If you have once been there and got hurt, come again. This new administration will heal your wounds.”
Speaking on the bilateral relationship between Sierra Leone and China, the President said it has now existed for 47 years, adding that it has been tried, tested and proven reliable.
“During the Ebola and mudslide incidents in Sierra Leone, the Chinese government supported us. The things that China did for us have not gone unnoticed. Currently, everything I see between us is of mutual benefit. We will have to restructure the relationship going forward to ensure its sustainability,” he said.
President Bio called on the government and people of China to transfer skills and knowledge to Sierra Leoneans, noting that, “the Chinese government can feed 1.4 billion people within the country and if it transfers skills to us, we will be able to feed the little over seven million people in Sierra Leone. We don’t want to only feed the minds of Sierra Leoneans with free, quality education but we also want to produce food that will feed the whole country.”
First Lady, Mrs. Fatima Bio, told the business community to come and invest in Sierra Leone because the country now has a disciplined leadership that is determined to positively transform it at all costs. “We know that there was a relationship before, but this one will be better. We will do everything possible to ensure that investors are protected in the country,” she said.
Head of Chancery (HOC)of the Republic of Sierra Leone embassy in China, Unisa Sahid Kamara, said Sierra Leone had seen great reform since President Bio took over as leader of the country, adding that he has put in place committed ministers who support his ideas.
“We will always support the ‘new direction’ through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,” he said.
He said Sierra Leone’s 47 years of bilateral ties with China have seen significant development in the areas of infrastructure, health, electricity and education.
HOC Kamara noted that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) had ushered in a new era of partnership between Sierra Leone and China.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Alie Kabba, thanked President Bio for appointing an ambassador to the embassy in China after more than a year without one.
A representative of the Sierra Leonean community in China, Brima S.C Zoker, called on the “new direction” administration to establish a website, which will provide regular updates on the country’s tourism, bilateral ties, imports and exports, among other areas. They noted that if this information is available, they will be better able to explain the business opportunities in Sierra Leone to investors.
“The thing that pains me seriously is that most times, people say come back home and contribute to national development, and when we go back home, there is not even a defined office where we can seek job opportunities,” he said.
He called on the ‘new direction’ administration to create job opportunities for them so that they could go back and impart what they have learned over the years.