Welcoming the delegates, the Director General and Ambassador at-Large, Ambassador Paul A.S. Minah thanked the delegates for choosing Sierra Leone as one of their investment destinations in Africa.
He said their visit to the country has left an indelible mark to the people and Government of Sierra Leone and also an assurance that Sierra Leone is now partnering with the United Arab Emirate.
Sierra Leone he said, is a very small country that believed in friendship. He assured the investors of government’s commitment to work with them.
In his statement, the Head of Delegation, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Development Affairs, His Excellency Sultan Mohamed Al Shamsi expressed on behalf of his team thanks and appreciation for the warm welcome being accorded them in the country.
Giving the purpose of their visit, he said they are in the country to seek out areas of interest for investment and also to strengthen the bilateral friendship between UAE and Sierra Leone.
His Excellency Al Shamsi assured the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Nimatulai Bah-Chang of his government’s commitment to establish an Embassy in Sierra Leone.
He also assured the Minister of his ministry’s support in establishing the Foreign Service Academy.
The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Nimatulai Bah-Chang in her statement told the delegates that the Minister, Dr. Alie Kabba would have loved to receive the delegation but was unavoidably absent due to some official engagement outside the country.
Hon. Bah-Chang described her ministry as the face of Sierra Leone that is charged with the responsibility of handling the foreign policy of the country.
She said as a government, they are delighted to maintain and strengthen the bilateral ties between Sierra Leone and the United Arab Emirate.
The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone called on the various teams who were out visiting different sectors to take the challenges they are seeing in those sectors as something they should focus on and find ways of intervening in terms of the cooperation between the two countries.
She assured the Head of the delegation of Sierra Leone’s support to UAE at the UN level and also sought the support of UAE to Africa’s position at the UN Security Council.
She concluded that, the visit of His Excellency to UAE in March this year was the high point of the ‘New Direction’s’ focus in strengthening the country’s bilateral tie with development partners.
The Deputy Director General of Operations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Alhassan Kondeh in his brief remarks, spoke on the setting up of an MOU to look into the areas the visitors have found interested to invest and also to establish a joint commission to achieve the goals of the visit.
He also reiterated the Minister’s plan of establishing a school of Diplomacy and called on their UAE counterpart to cooperate with the ministry in the area of capacity building training and exchange programmes of staff to enable them execute their functions diligently and to give a facelift to the ministry.
The Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the United Arab Emirate, Ambassador Rashid Sesay in his closing courtesy, informed the gathering that during the Minister’s visit to UAE, he requested for an Embassy to the be opened in the country. The request according to Ambassador Rashid Sesay was granted by the crowned Prince immediately.
He confirmed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Government of UAE is willing to sign the JCC with Sierra Leone including conditions of the prevention of double taxation and protection of investment.
These MOUs he sated have been stalled for over four (4) years adding that, they have come to a conclusion of moving ahead by bringing together the technical teams of both countries.
Ambassador Sesay went on to explain that, he is presently negotiating with the Finance Ministry of the UAE to provide support for Sierra Leone’s Technical team from the Ministry of Finance and NRA to go to UAE and discuss with UAE Technical team to agree on the conditions attached.
He assured them that once those documents are signed, it will open the way for real economic engagement with UAE.
Speaking on the area of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), Ambassador Rashid Sesay notified the meeting that the UAE SME team had left after a discussion with His Excellency Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio where they briefed him on various options of investment interest.
The meeting was attended by Directors, Deputy Directors and Senior staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.