Banner Buza_onder.jpg


Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have greatly suffered from the Ebola virus since its outbreak in March 2014. Now, one and half years later, the three countries are close to being completely Ebola free. This is an amazing step forward, but it is only the start of a longer recovery process. The socio-economic impact of the Ebola outbreak remains substantial. National economies have become isolated and key sectors face considerable stalemate. Many people have lost employment and agricultural fields have been abandoned in the most-affected rural areas. The effects are all the more devastating since the sudden Ebola outbreak came at a time when the countries were experiencing rapid growth.

It is therefore crucial to re-establish the conditions for a quick return to a path of economic growth and overall development. This can only be done with the help of new targeted investments. In line with the Dutch approach of aid, trade and investment, the Netherlands has therefore hosted the conference: ‘Back to Growth: Investing in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone' on November 30, in The Hague.

Back to Growth: Investing in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone conference

The Back to Growth conference brought together over 400 investors, including businesses, governmental representatives, multilateral institutions, development banks and NGOs from over 25 countries. The conference offered investment insides and opportunities in three countries that have shown potential for growth in the recent past. It provided insightful learning experiences, along with personal high-level engagement and networking opportunities focused on the infrastructure, agriculture and health care sectors.

The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen opened the conference. She underlined the importance to invest in the three countries. In their statements, Vice President of Liberia, Joseph Boakai, Vice President of Sierra Leone, Victor Foh, and Minister of State for Investment and PPP, Ibrahim Fofana, underlined the position of the three countries: "we are not looking for handouts, but long-term partnerships for economic development". They stressed the importance of regional cooperation and including women and young entrepreneurs, especially the smallholders in the agricultural sector, who are crucial for food security.

During the breakout sessions, the respective ministers talked about investment opportunities in the infrastructure, agriculture and the health care sectors. Business climate and legislation were being discussed, as well as opportunities for public private partnerships and the role the private sector can and has to play in these sectors. Participants praised the honest attitude of the government delegations from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone: although they clearly presented opportunities in their countries, they were open to discuss the challenges as well.

About fifty investment projects in the infrastructure, agriculture and health care sectors had the opportunity to present themselves at an exposition to investors. The investment agencies from the three countries APIP, LNIC and SLIEPA were present at a stand as well. The projects focused on the construction of new hospitals (healthcare), poultry farmers, rubber plantations, oil palm plantations (agriculture), and roads and energy generation (infrastructure).

One of the key objectives of the conference was to bring together projects, investors and other interested parties in order to take collective action. There were plenty of opportunities throughout the day for networking and matchmaking. To facilitate this process, there was a (fully booked) one-on-one matchmaking session where investors could meet with companies and project representatives.

The conference booklet, including the program and investment proposals, can be downloaded here.

For photos of the event, click here.