International investment delegation commits to continued support for Sierra Leone business sector

An investment delegation of nine major international investment and finance organisations visited Sierra Leone for five days in October. The visit concluded with a networking reception for business and public sector leaders, and a commitment to work with the British High Commission and Invest Salone – a UK Government-funded organisation working on private sector development – to support investment into Sierra Leone.

The delegation is one of the biggest groups of investors to visit Sierra Leone in recent times. The trip was organised by the Africa Resilience investment Accelerator (ARIA) – a collaboration of development finance institutions (DFIs) aiming to unlock investment opportunities in transition states in Africa – and Invest Salone.

Visiting DFIs included British International Investment, the Dutch FMO Entrepreneurial Development Bank, the US International Development Finance Corporation, Sweden’s Swedfund and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation – as well as the impact funds AgDevCo, Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), the Small Foundation and the Currency Exchange Fund (TCX).

Over the course of the visit, delegates visited more than 20 companies in the financial, food, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. They also interacted with around 50 more companies through events such as a pitch night – where entrepreneurs pitched and received feedback on their businesses.

Alex Kucharski, a manager at British International Investment, commented: “We saw a lot of promising businesses, which are growing despite challenges, and we are excited to continue exploring how our capital can support the development of the country. We were also pleased to formalise a partnership with the British High Commission, to support the preparation of investment opportunities and strengthen the business enabling environment.”

Christina Clark-Lowes, Invest Salone’s deputy team leader and investment lead, welcomed the partnership. She noted that it complemented Invest Salone’s existing work to develop a pipeline of investible businesses and boost private sector investment. “Investment delegations of this size are rare,” she added, “and it was encouraging to see how Sierra Leone’s business community made the most of the opportunity.”

About ARIA:

The Africa Resilience Investment Accelerator (ARIA) is an initiative bringing together 16 development finance institutions (DFIs). It was initially funded by the UK DFI, British International Investment, and the Dutch DFI, FMO Entrepreneurial Development Bank, to enable more investment in frontier markets in Africa. ARIA selected Sierra Leone was as one of the first countries for its pilot initiatives, and ARIA DFIs have subsequently investigated more opportunities for investment in the country. Following the first ARIA mission to Sierra Leone in March 2022, ARIA DFIs are now returning to Sierra Leone to look at investment opportunities in the financial sector, agriculture and manufacturing.

About Invest Salone:

Invest Salone is a UK Government-funded programme for private sector development. It boosts investment in agriculture, manufacturing, fisheries and tourism by strengthening the pipeline of investible firms and projects; supports firms in growing their exports; and helps the private and public sectors to find lasting solutions to investment blockages that hamper business growth. The overall aim is to increase incomes and jobs for thousands of Sierra Leonean women and men.

Related news