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FTInsight April/May 2016

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Editor’s Insight

Editor’s Insight Welcome to the April/May edition of Freetown Insight – our third. This edition is tremendously significant to us for three reasons. Firstly, it is the first time we have been honoured to be able to publish a piece by His Excellency, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, the President of Sierra Leone. The President’s piece focuses on private sector investment into the country and ties in with our forthcoming London-based investment forum – Invest Sierra Leone 2016. In it he reinforces the importance of the private sector to our recovering economy, and writes: “Great opportunities and challenges beckon as we embark upon the journey towards forging a win-win partnership for our country’s enormous investment and trade potential. In a global economy, all our futures are intertwined and I look forward to building productive relationships with the private sectors of nations across the world.” This issue of the magazine also coincides with Sierra Leone’s Independence Day. After more than 150 years of British colonial rule, Sierra Leone was finally able to celebrate its independence on the 27th April 1961. Real economic independence has been slow to follow, but there is a growing impetus that solutions for African problems must be developed within Africa and tailored to our particular circumstances. This is not a call for insularity; it is a suggestion that we appreciate and learn about independence from the achievements of our private sector and their approach to sustainability. We count amongst our business leaders, individuals who have steered their companies to success through great political, economic and social upheaval. In our four months of existence, Freetown Insight magazine has spoken to a number of Sierra Leone’s most successful business men and women. They repeatedly reference the significance of hard work, persistence, resilience, team work, and continuous professional and personal development. They make sacrifices that are often personal as well as professional; and without exception they have had to struggle to secure the finance they need to set up their business ventures. They have taken responsibility for their own destiny and show that success necessitates self-belief, self-denial, self-development and self-reliance. Our entrepreneurs are a wonderful microcosm of the independence that Sierra Leone could and should achieve. FT Insight 3 Invest Sierra Leone 2016, a collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills, the leading international law firm, is scheduled for the 5th May and is the only annual forum dedicated to investment in Sierra Leone. The event puts our country’s investment potential and investment pioneers centre stage. In the pages that follow, it becomes clear from the experience of existing investors, that Sierra Leone offers substantial opportunities for the farsighted in a range of areas that haven’t traditionally caught the eye of the international investment community - agriculture, fisheries, tourism, hotels and hospitality, energy and infrastructure to name a few. Neglected areas with great potential but as Paddy Docherty of Phoenix Africa says in his piece for Freetown Insight: “To an entrepreneur, neglect naturally means opportunity.” Freetown Insight +44 771 722 1023 info@ftinsight.net Editor: Memuna Forna Art Director: Erika Perez-Leon Contributors: HE Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Chinyere Almona, Africa Corporate Governance Programme Ishmael Beah, Sierra WiFi Paddy Docherty, Phoenix Africa Advertising Enquiries: info@ftinsight.net +44 771 722 1023 / +232 7879 9999 TABLE OF CONTENTS Land of great potential & untapped opportunities. By H.E. Dr Ernest Bai Koroma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 High taxes or high investment? FT Insight poll results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 To an entrepreneur, neglect naturally means opportunity By Paddy Docherty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Seizing the corporate governance opportunity By Chinyere Almona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Digital content for socio-economic growth By Ishmael Bull . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 E-ready for e-commerce? Sierra Leone’s businesses have some way to go . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Are small solar systems, the way to light up Sierra Leone? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 www.ftinsight.net

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Leone Sector Insight Economic Governance Freetown Countries Investors Herbert Opportunities www.ftinsight.net