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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tourism Ministry Ends Business Investment Forum

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Tourism Ministry Ends Business Investment Forum

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The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the National Tourist Board and the Monuments and Relics Commission, organised a day’s orientation ceremony that included Heritage/Civic Education and Business Investment Forum for 51 African-Americans who have traced their history to Sierra Leone.

The ceremony was held at the Shangri La, Lumley Beach Road in Freetown.

In her keynote address, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Mumunatu Pratt said she is delighted and overwhelmed to receive the Africa-Americans to the Sierra Leone family reunion which she observed can be delayed but not denied and on behalf of the President and government congratulated them for coming home to form one big family.

She informed that the program started in 2018, that the Ministry wants to expand the tourism sector, that the diaspora community is very important and is one of the fastest growing under the Monuments and Relics Commission, disclosed that Sierra Leone is one of the key countries that has roots in America, African-Americans and Caribbean affirming that we all have a common heritage-the slave trade and colonialism when Africans were taken to the new world citing SegbehPieh, hero of the Amistad revolt and the first African to stand trial in America for defending his people.

The Minister furthered that over the past four years, African-Americans who have traced their roots to Sierra Leone have been returning home and investing in agriculture, education, businesses, transfer of skills, youth development and humanitarian work to develop the country and encouraged them to interface and enjoy the country’s culture and hospitality reminding them that they are all Ambassadors of Sierra Leone in the country’s efforts to rebuild root tourism.

Dr. Pratt recalled the recent visit of the Chairman of the US Foreign Relations Committee and seven others to Sierra Leone during which they went to Bunce Island, revealed that the visit was very emotional and exciting, that the American government is involved in the whole process, that the American Ambassador in Sierra Leone is very supportive and funding the first phase of the restoration of Bunce Island and the old Fourah Bay College building, assured them that government would facilitate and protect their investments as the country has a lot to offer and that it would be an interesting experience as they made a huge sacrifice to come home.

PowerPoint presentations were made by representatives of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency, the National Tourist Board, RokelCommercial Bank, the National Revenue Authority, the Corporate Affairs Commission and the National Council for Civic Education and Development.   

Earlier in his welcome address, Francis Musa of the Monuments and Relics Commission enlightened about Sierra Leone’s history, its historical significance as it relates to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, resistance movement, significant historical figures, locations, organizations and laws, independence and modern day Sierra Leone.

Some of the questions raised by the African-Americans included the safety of their investments when governments change, waste management and digital technology.

Highlights of the event were the singing of the National Anthem and Pledge, living in Sierra Leone panel discussion, evaluation of the event, the question and answer and interaction sessions respectively and the cultural performances.

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