By Amin Kef-Ranger
The Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Scott Nathan, on the 27th July, 2022 travelled to Freetown, Sierra Leone in order to highlight private sector-led development. He met with Government officials and discussed development as well as investment opportunities with the business community.
CEO Nathan also joined the U.S. Ambassador, David Reimer, in meeting with President Julius Maada Bio to discuss the country’s economic growth and development.
Scott Nathan expressed delight at the warm welcome they received at State House, adding that he had been in his new office for just five months and was visiting Sierra Leone and Africa for the first time.
He further stated that he was in the country to support the President’s idea of making Sierra Leone a middle-income country by 2035. He assured the meeting that they were already involved with investment partnerships in the country but were looking forward to identifying more opportunities.
“We have been involved in power and digital investment. We are now looking for future partners in the areas of healthcare, agriculture, and small to medium scale investments,” he said.
He referred to the long-standing working relationship between Americans, the United States Government, and the people and Government of Sierra Leone, which he said was founded on democracy, openness, and the rule of law.
“I am certain about an enabling environment for investment,” he said.
In his response, President Julius Maada Bio welcomed the CEO and team, saying that since he assumed office, he had been urging private sector investments to explore partnership and growth opportunities, adding that private sector investment should be used to stimulate economic growth.
He said his Government’s main initiative, the Human Capital Development, was proof of the huge investments he had made in education, a strong pillar under that initiative.
“My Government believes in education. So, we have made a huge investment in that sector by paying fees for all school-going children in Government schools, providing teaching and learning materials; providing meals for them in some parts of the country with the help of Catholic Relief Services. My Government also pays tuition fees for girls offering courses in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in Government universities,” he explained.
President Bio also emphasized that his Government has been encouraging private sector involvement in agriculture by providing tractors and machines so that the pressure on the Government could be minimized. He said more support is needed to boost the energy sector, a sustainable stimulant of economic activities.
The Chief Executive Officer also met with the Minister of Finance Denis Vandy, the Minister of Energy Alhaji Kanja Sesay, and the Chairman of the Office of Presidential Infrastructure Initiative, Dr. John Edward Tambi, and discussed the U.S. commitment to private sector investment in health, energy, financial services, alongside food security and agriculture and critical infrastructure.
CEO Nathan toured DFC’s investment with Africell, a telecommunications facility which is expanding the availability and quality of affordable mobile connectivity and internet in West Africa. DFC’s work with Africell, part of a total $9.6 billion across Africa, highlights the corporation’s commitment to bolstering secure and reliable telecommunications infrastructure and services on the continent.