His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has on Wednesday 26th April 2023 launched the groundbreaking ceremony for the development of the Special Koya Industrial Zone, SIZ-Koya, a joint venture between the Republic of Sierra Leone and ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms, IIP.
During the ground breaking ceremony President Bio said he is delighted to be at this event, particularly as it is an actualisation of the vision he presented in his manifesto in 2018. It is also a welcomed outcome of visits to Special Economic Zones in Gabon, Rwanda, and other countries, and business relationships negotiated in the best interests of Sierra Leone over the last five years.
President Bio maintained that a stronger manufacturing sector in the country that had access to regional and international markets and, therefore, would support foreign currency inflows, adding that the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme had given custom-free access to the ECOWAS market.
President and Chief Executive Officer of African Finance Cooperation, Samalia Zubairu, said Sierra Leone and the African continent were faced with a lot of challenges around food security, inflation and the exchange rate, among others. This he noted was as a result of the fact that the economies had not transformed from lots of primary focus, exports of basic raw materials, and significant imports of goods that could be produced in the country.
He promised that they will spend as much time here in Sierra Leone as was spent in Benin.
During his statement, the President of AFREXIMBANK, Professor Benedict Oramah, acknowledged His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, noting that he is honoured to celebrate with the government and the people of Sierra Leone the groundbreaking ceremony for the launch of the Special Economic Zone.
He also congratulated the people and government of Sierra Leone on the auspicious occasion. “We thank His Excellency President Bio and the management and partners of ARISE IIP for their partnership with the AFRIXIMBANK on this historic investment venture” he added.
The SIZ-Koya investment programme will be constructed on 1,600 hectares of land with a dedicated area for exports, is a $300 million investment and is expected to employ 10,000 Sierra Leoneans.
This facility is expected to be powered by 100 megawatts of solar panels.