Alongside the Energy Ministers of Kenya, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan, Mr. Kabba highlighted Sierra Leone’s comparative advantages which he noted to include both below ground and above ground factors. According to Mr. Kabba, the promising geology as reflected in previous successive discoveries, constitutes the sub-surface factors, whilst the above ground variables include stable business environment with guaranteed property rights; availability, accessibility and affordability of substantial quantities of 2D, 3D seismic and Well Data covering eight wells; adoption of an open and competitive bidding system, and an inclusive and fair appraisal and approval of investment proposals, and an unambiguous consent system designed to facilitate fast-tracked work programmes; fiscal and non-fiscal incentives; and above all, an unprecedented political commitment aimed at guaranteeing a business environment that can attract and retain foreign direct investment in a sustained manner, and is conducive for the transformation of the private sector into an independent, and robust engine of growth, rather than a government-dependent sector.
Mr. Kabba used the occasion to pre-announce the re-launch of the Fourth Petroleum License Round which was unavoidably paused, pending industry consultations, which has been successfully concluded with feedback informing the chosen course of action.
The event was also used as a national image re-branding opportunity particularly during the Q & A segment wherein he dispelled misconceptions and stirred enthusiastic participants most of who eventually expressed their desire for more information on the investment opportunities at home, to the extent that a range of hitherto unanticipated bilateral meetings were prompted and held at the margins of the main event. These bilateral meetings witnessed the inflow of positive industry feedback indicative of the state of readiness of small independents, as well as big players to partake in the impending re-launched Fourth Licensing Round, which is expected to be formally announced any time soon.