Sierra Leone Signs Financing Agreement on the First Phase of the West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program
Washington D.C. Feb 14th 2011 – His Excellency Bockari Stevens, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United States of America (in photo), today signed on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone, a Financing Agreement on the First Phase of the West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program – Sierra Leone Project, in the amount of SDR 19,800,000 equivalent to approximately USD $31,000,000
Signing on behalf of the World Bank was Mr. Sergiy Kulyck, Country Programme Coordinator for Sierra Leone, Africa Region. Mr. Kulyck commented on the benefits of the project for Sierra Leone pointing out that it would increase business opportunities while at the same time joining Sierra Leone to the global communications mainstream.
Responding, Ambassador Bockari Stevens extended the appreciation of the Government and People of Sierra Leone noting that the project is in sync with President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma strategies for the modernization of Sierra Leone especially in creating the enabling environment for investment. He also noted that the signing stood testimony to the confidence the World Bank has in the governance of the President of Sierra Leone.
By its completion in July 2012, Sierra Leone should be able to connect to the global network of broadband optical fiber infrastructure.
Accompanying Ambassador Bockari Stevens at the Signing Ceremony were First Secretary Mr. Alan C.E. Logan and the Information Attaché, Elizabeth Foray. Also present at the ceremony was Mr. Philipp Dongier, who explained that the project was a response to an initiative proposed in a request from President Ernest Koroma.
In another development, H.E. Ambassador Bockari Stevens, in furtherance of his incessant drive to attract U.S foreign investors to Sierra Leone, paid a visit to the Vice President of Government Affairs of Seaboard Corporation Mr. Ralf Moss on Thursday 3rd February 2011. He informed Mr. Moss that the purpose of his visit was to rekindle the relationship between Seaboard and Sierra Leone and to get them to resume full operations. The Ambassador described Sierra Leone as one of the top reformers in Africa and has made laudable progress in infrastructural development, including the supply of reliable electricity in Freetown.
Formally welcoming Ambassador Stevens, Mr. Moss explained that Seaboard started operations in 1966 and is currently engaged in eleven African countries including Sierra Leone. Dilating on the company’s operation in Sierra Leone, Mr. Moss observed that due to challenges encountered during the war and coupled with futile efforts to get the support of the previous government to provide the enabling environment to resume full scale operations, the company is not operating to the full extent possible in Sierra Leone.
He however noted that he was highly encouraged by the good news about reforms in Sierra Leone, particularly those that have led to the creation of an enabling and business-friendly environment. He assured Ambassador Stevens of their readiness to return to Sierra Leone and disclosed that he would lead a team on a business trip to the country in June 2011.
Elizabeth M. S. Foray, Information Attaché, Embassy of Sierra Leone to the United States, Washington DC
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