By Amadu Lamrana Bah reporting from Benin
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms, Gagan Gupta, has assured Sierra Leoneans that the company’s massive Industrial Zone investments portfolio in Benin and other parts of Africa will be replicated in Sierra Leone within 24 months.
Speaking to journalists at the Glo-Djibe Industrial Zone in Benin, Gupta thanked the battery of media professionals from Sierra Leone who were invited by ARISE IIP to have a better understanding of the ownership and operations of the company.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for leaving your busy schedules back home to come here to see what we are doing,” he said with a broad smile.
Gupta is a seasoned entrepreneur boasting of over 20 years of professional experience of which he has spent over 12 years as a top executive. He is the Founder and Chief Executive Office of ARISE IIP, ARISE IS and ARISE P&L, three companies that are specialized in designing, financing, building, and managing state-of-the-art infrastructure across Africa. Starting from the ground to up, he has succeeded in creating three specialized verticals making it one of the largest infrastructure investment platforms in Africa in less than 10 years.
“You will see something similar in Sierra Leone in 24 months’ time, not only to come and visit here but you will see the same things in your own country,” Gupta assured the journalists.
Chief Communication Officer, ARISE IIP, Sarah Adnane, said the statement from the CEO is a testament of how serious they have prioritized Sierra Leone as a new investment hub not only in the ports and rail business but to also provide the much-needed infrastructure to diversify the country’s economy with more emphasis in the agriculture sector.
“This visit by these credible journalists from Sierra Leone for them to better understand that ARISE IIP is a credible company with a record of supporting development in Africa, creating jobs and increasing revenue for government. We believe they will tell the right story based on what they have seen here and the commitment to replicate same back home,” she admonished.
Giving an overview of ARISE IIP operations in Benin, the company’s Country Director, Letondji Beheton, said the Glo-Djibe Industrial Zone is a joint venture between the Republic of Benin and ARISE IIP with 65% shares owned by the company and 35% by the government.
“This Industrial Zone that started in 2020 is on a 400-hectares of land with 36 investors with a model of investment of over US$1.2 billion on factories that do textile, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products like cashew, cotton, soya and other products as a leading agricultural processor in Africa that will create about 12,000 jobs,” he said.
The journalists from Sierra Leone also visited a cotton farm and a factory which serves as a collection center where the cotton products from the farm are processed before they are taken to the Industrial Zone as part of the agriculture value chain.
ARISE IIP has a direct relationship with over 1000 farmers whom they provide seeds, fertilizers, equipment and training to be able to export their goods out of the country through the Industrial Zone.
In Sierra Leone, ARISE IIP is estimating a total investment of 476 million dollars covering the refurbishment of the Pepel Tonkolili Railway work, Pepel Port, Railway connectivity to Marampa mines, the introduction of passenger rail services and the rail connection to Guinea.
The team of journalists from Sierra Leone have departed Cotonou, Benin, and are already in Gabon where they will also continue their fact-finding trip on the investment of ARISE IIP in the Rail and Ports and the Gabon Special Economic Zone.