and light manufacturing to create jobs and increase prosperity and wealth.”
These were the words of President Julius Maada Bio speaking at a fringe session of the UN General Assembly, where other speakers included Mathew Rycroft – Permanent Secretary at DfID, United Kingdom, Anne Finucane – Vice Chair and CEO of the Bank of America, Akinwumi Adesina – President of the African Development Bank, and Tharman Shanmugaratnam – Senior Minister of Singapore and Chair of the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance.
He was addressing the difficulties facing developing countries in trying to mobilize development finance.
President Bio added that in order to ensure sustainable financing and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “we need to invest more in ensuring a conducive environment in the Least Developed Countries, LDCs.”
The interactive dialogue – “moving the money to fill the climate action and SDGs financing gap” – moderated by Financial Times’ Gillian Tett, featured a small number of institutional investors having an engaging discussion on removing the obstacles to attract private capital with select Heads of States and Governments.
President Bio told the panel that “in order to attract the trillions of dollars we need for our transformation, more needs to be done in the regulatory environment, improve macroeconomic fundamentals such as well-managed exchange rates, inflation and public debt so as to provide the right signals for mobilizing private capital. While we in Sierra Leone are trying to move the money to fill the climate action and SDG imperatives, we are also issuing a clarion call to the global business community on the need for ensuring environmentally friendly and responsible business practices so as to protect our country and the broader planet in which we all live.”
He added that with the right structural reforms and institutions, other investment bottlenecks such as lack of energy, water, ICT and transport infrastructure will become more of an investment opportunity than an impediment to attracting private capital.
He went on to say that while Sierra Leone needs to overcome credit and finance challenges encountered by critical enterprises; most important is the need to overcome the digital and physical infrastructural impediments to our economies.
President Bio, who was one of only two presidents in Africa to take part in the dialogue, went further to state that his government has prioritized Information and Communication Technology (ICT), to drive a range of financial and other services in Sierra Leone.
President Bio was addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last Thursday 26th September, 2019 at the UN headquarters in New York.