20th July 2017
SLIEPA: Sierra Leone is Identifying Compatriots for Expo 2020 in UAE
By Augustine Samba (17/03/17)
Sierra Leone plans to participate in the upcoming world exhibition, Expo 2020, on the theme: ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), Raymond Gbekie has recently told newsmen that they are going to explore every corner of Sierra Leone to identify compatriots who have required talents and innovations to participate in the upcoming world exhibition Expo 2020. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara).
The event is slated for October 2020 to April 2021 in Dubai, United Arabs Emirates (UAE). The CEO made this clarion call at a press conference held at SLIEPA’s head office at Tower Hill in Freetown.
Raymond said Expo 2020 will give Sierra Leone an international recognition and promotion, and therefore urged everyone to contribute or participate in one way or the other. “We are going to visit schools, communities, universities, districts, cities and towns to locate people with talents in order to grab the opportunity ahead,” he assured, adding that “the private sector, civil societies, media, business community, farmers, youths, women, civil servants, MDAs, donor partners and all compatriots, are expected to contribute”. He said their mission at SLIEPA is to go out and fish out people with innovation or talents that can benefit Sierra Leone and the world at large.
He informed that at least 25 million people, representing over 180 countries, are expected to attend the exhibition. He noted that Sierra Leone has several investment potentials to attract the world at the Expo.
According to Raymond, Expo 2020 is in line with President Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity. He recalled correspondences between President Koroma of Sierra Leone and His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of Dubai on Sierra Leone’s participation in the Expo 2020.
President Koroma wrote: “We anticipate that this remarkable event will provide a platform for forging strategic alliances that will help us to move our country from fragility to lay development and lay the foundations for prosperity.”
Confirming Sierra Leone’s participation, President Koroma further put pen to paper: “Let me take this opportunity to confirm Sierra Leone’s avowed interest to participate in Expo 2020, and to express the hope that we will receive the necessary support to enable us do efficiently and effectively.”
The President also told His Highness that: “My trusted Envoy to the United Arab Emirates, Ambassador Siray Alpha Timbo, has been appointed “Commissioner General of Sierra Leone” to Expo 2020 with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto.”
Welcoming Sierra Leone’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, a senior official in the office of the Prime Minister says: “The UAE is delighted that Sierra Leone has confirmed its participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, four years ahead of the mega-event. We look forward to Sierra Leone’s participation as the UAE hosts the region’s first mega event, which will bring nations together to build a better future, and a lasting legacy, for the region and the world."
SLIEPA was also identified by President Koroma to serve as a suitable focal point for Sierra Leone’s participation in the Expo 2020, Dubai.
CEO said Sierra Leone is among the first countries that have received invitation from UAE to attend the Expo. He informed that one hundred million United States dollars has been budgeted for the Expo, adding that participants have the opportunity to gain from the huge sum in order to expand their innovation or talents.
He disclosed that it was timely for youths, students, private sector and Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) to come up with projects on new ideas, technologies, innovation and inventions that will attract international investors during the course of the Expo in order to choose Sierra Leone as a business destination. “The Expo is a kind of human ingenuity,” he stated.
He disclosed that it was necessary for Sierra Leoneans to be steadfast and use Expo as a rebranding to regain economic growth and skilfully adopt a concept of utilizing their home made commodities. He said if Sierra Leoneans accept demand of ‘made in Sierra Leone’ the country’s currency will improve in value.
He called on the people to play an active role and take advantage of the opportunity ahead.