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“West Africa cannot only feed itself, but feed the world…” -Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister

HomeNews“West Africa cannot only feed itself, but feed the world…” -Sierra Leone’s...

“West Africa cannot only feed itself, but feed the world…” -Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister

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The Chief Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Moinina David Sengeh has asserted that West African fish feed Asian markets, adding that with some investment and intention, West Africa can not only feed itself but also feed the world.

The Chief Minister made this disclosure during the ECOWAS Investment Forum (EIF) in Togo. The Forum is a strategic platform that brings together development actors to promote investment opportunities in key sectors of ECOWAS Member States.

Organised by the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), the EIF 2024 will

“We have the land, we have the labor, and we have the vision. Center of the world for agriculture: cocoa from Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone, in addition to cassava, rice, and other staple foods in the world already come from the region. Togo is exporting organic soybeans to Europe,” the Chief Minister said

According to the Chief Minister, the region needs ECOWAS leaders in the public and private sector to finally see the region for what it is: the center of the world for investment, trade, human capital development, multilateralism and social inclusion.

He regarded ECOWAS as the Center of the world for logistics: one can reach pretty much every region of the world within a 6-10 hour direct flight from one of the 15 West African countries.

“Cape Verde to North Africa; Sierra Leone to South America; Niger to Europe; Nigeria to Asia; and Nigeria to Southern Africa. And since almost all West African countries have a coastline (11), they can play a crucial role in ports and shipping logistics. Asky Airlines from Togo has done the initial interconnection, and we need to now take it global to reach our potential. It takes investment,” he said.

The Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister regarded ECOWAS as the Center of the world for critical minerals, noting that the world’s largest deposits and supplies of quality minerals, including gold, oil, iron ore, and rutile (critical for infrastructural development), come from West Africa.

He said individual counties are negotiating great deals to promote development, and now is when we must come together to build centers of excellence for mining, engineering, processing, and using those final products to shape industrial development.

“We must go from being the center of raw materials to the center of innovation and value addition. It takes investment. Center of the world for inclusion and multilateral: West African countries have similar people with the same languages across borders. We also speak major global languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. We have large populations of Muslims, Christians, and traditionalists all living together,” he said.

He said ECOMOG, EBID, and all the major ECOWAS institutions are good examples of regional integration and leadership, adding that it is easy to speak of West Africa in terms of instability, but it’s a major center for global peace and unity.

He also regarded the region as the center of the world for culture: Afrobeats, music, fashion, sports, film, and creative energy from West Africa continues to impact and influence the world in profound and mind-bending ways.

“To be able to take advantage of all this creative, athletic, and other energy, we must invest in human capital and our youth. Our median age is 19 years. I am convinced now, more than ever, that West Africa can finally take advantage of its geographic and genetic advantage as the center of the world,” he concluded, highlighting West Africa’s investment potential, with a focus on the socio-economic recovery of ECOWAS Communities.

ECOWAS Member States are facing economic challenges resulting from global shocks. The EIF 2024 aims to address these challenges by presenting investment opportunities in crucial sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, energy and health.

The forum is providing an important platform for stakeholders to discuss critical issues such as food security, infrastructure development and climate change and job creation.

 

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