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Let Us Remember Comrades Who Fell In 2012

Let Us Remember Comrades Who Fell In 2012

The most famous of the All Peoples Congress (APC) stalwarts that passed away in 2012 was President Ernest Bai Koroma’s mother, Madam Alice Rosaline Koroma whose death was deeply mourned by the entire nation as mark of respect for her patriotic-minded son who has brought Sierra Leone renewed hope and confidence.

Other notable comrades that gave up the ghost that same year include former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Chuwkuma Johnson, former Tourism and Culture and later Labour Minister, Hindolo Sumanguru Trye and former Deputy Gender and Children’s Affairs Minister, Jenneh Kandeh among others.

On the opposition side, former Minority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Momoh Pujeh, former flag-bearer aspirant for SLPP, Dr. Anthony Kapkindi Soyie, Dr. Salia Fawundu Sheriff, Head of Chancery in Saudi Arabia, former Development and Economic Planning, Dr. Mohamed Bashiru Daramy departed this earth for the great beyond.

The Force for Good also lost some of its devoted-to-duty comrades including former AIG Tamba Pujeh Gbeki and for Superintendent, Nepor Senessi.

These and many more notable and ordinary fellow Sierra Leoneans who were integrally connected with the Agenda For Change won’t be with us this year saying, a happy New Year.

However, they could rest content in heaven knowing that the APC won both Presidential and Parliamentary Elections and has in the last five years made Sierra Leone known across the world as not only a haven of peace and tranquility but a place where a democratic culture now thrives and where there are growing business opportunities for particularly the youths as the government sets to roll out the Agenda For Prosperity.

President Ernest Bai Koroma and the government restored dignity and hope to a battered and shattered country that barely five years ago was languishing in the depths of economic turpitude and social frustration; with the highest maternal and child mortality rate in the world.

With an abundance of mineral and natural resources, Sierra Leone is on the up and up as a developing country. Hope and confidence about Sierra Leone moving into a new era of economic prosperity comes from foreign investors like Gold and Gem Stone Mining Inc (OTCQB: GGSM), a gold and diamond exploration and development mining company focused on Sierra Leone and West Africa.

The company has commented favorably on the growing economic opportunity within the mining industry of the country. It will soon be following operators like African Minerals and London Mining into production.

Mining, agriculture, tourism, communication and industry from a rock-solid foundation for increased economic productivity during the Agenda For Prosperity phase of President Koroma’s rule.

Sierra Leone has emerged as one of the most stable countries in African continent with a growing economy and a climate for investment that is being transformed. With its verdant land, stunning beaches, fertile seas, vast mineral resources and innovative people… Sierra Leone is truly a land of opportunity.

In an annual survey conducted by the World Bank across a total of 183 countries in the level of Investor protection, Sierra Leone ranked 29th, higher than a number of developed Western European countries including Germany and Switzerland.

Sierra Leone also ranked alongside Denmark and Sweden, and on average 40% higher than the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sierra Leone also ranked a respectable 79th out of 183 in the ease of starting a new business.

A booming economy will see further boom when oil becomes a game-changer for Sierra Leone.

A recent report issued by the Standard Chartered Bank forecasts shows Sierra Leone is set for rapid growth; with forecasts at 30% growth in real GDP in 2012.

Government forecasts from the Ministry of Finance and IMF go beyond this and estimated a potential one time surge in real GDP growth of 51% yearly in 2012 owing to new iron-ore production from the Tonkolili mines, which puts Sierra Leone among the fastest-growing African countries.

Strong Global demand for minerals, underpinned by rapid growth in emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India, has fueled an investment boom in the mining sector. The Strategy and Policy unit of the Ministry of Mineral Resources in Sierra Leone predicts that annual production growth after 2012 will be 4% for diamond production and a 10% for gold. Additionally, they forecast that Mineral exports could rise to $ 1.2bn by 2020 from a base of $230 in 2007. Mineral exports per Capital are set to increase to $170 in 2020 from $34 in 2007, an increase of 400%.

The country continues to rebuild its reputation following the eleven-year civil war. A concerted effort has been made through capacity building and institutional reform to enhance the country’s governance culture and attractiveness to investors and increased Foreign Direct Investment.

President and Parliamentary Elections that took place on November  17, 2012 were widely acclaimed by over 10,000 Local and International Observers as free, fair and transparent;  although the SLPP thinks different and have taken the matter to the Supreme Court alleging NEC and the APC conspired to deny them of victory by practicing vote rigging and ballot stuffing.

Of particular interest to Sierra Leone is the dominance of junior exploration companies in this revival, since they will be most likely to underpin the exploration, and the increasing needed to establish Sierra Leone’s mineral potential, and the increasing appetite of major mining companies to make large investments in high-risk, emerging economies.

Data issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in combination with Sierra Leone Import and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) support the growing investment, stating that the potential pipeline across all sectors was over US $10 billon. Sierra Leone has now become a melting pot of oil, iron ore, diamonds and other mineral resources.

The government has taken positive action to help restore confidence and promote growth across the mineral with a new investment code introduced in 2005, focusing on the promotion of value added activities and joint ventures with foreign investors, the government is working to rejuvenate the domestic mining sector and to also allow  it to once again underpin the formal economy and support government developmental objectives that included the successful implementation of an IMF – supported economic reform programme that has established a sound macroeconomic environment. Inflation has been kept under control, the exchange rate has stabilized, and access to foreign exchange has improved.

It is this that a call is made to all fellow citizens to embrace the Agenda for Prosperity, and for each everyone to make his/her contribution by obeying the laws of the land, and acting as catalysts for progress chance, wherever we are, whatever we do.

A bright and prosperous New Year to us all.

By Moisa S. Keikura

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