Background information of Sierra Leone Business Centre in the Netherlands

Sierra Leone, a former British colony in West-Africa and an independent nation within the British Common wealth since 1961, is an emerging market with a sound and stable socio-political system. The country is ranked by the Global Peace Index Monetary unit:  as 53rd most peaceful country in the World out of 149 countries.

Since its 11-year civil war was formally declared over in 2002, Sierra Leone has undergone three successive democratic elections. Economic growth has averaged approximately 7% annually over the past five years. Under its current president, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who took office in 2007, Sierra Leone has embarked on an ambitious path of economic and social reform.

In economic analysis and policy-making, diasporas (communities of nationals residing outside of their country of origin) are increasingly perceived as a key ‘development actor’ for emerging economies’ development due to their affiliation with, knowledge of and unique position between their countries of origin and destination.  Diasporas maintain social, cultural, political, and economic cross-border relations, whose potential multiplier effects on development are vast and not to be underestimated (De Winter, M., Junne, G., 2011).

Harnessing the power of diaspora-induced economic growth will thus make a big difference to emerging economies’ development, including Sierra Leone’s. The size of the diaspora’s contribution to economic development and growth depends much on policies and instruments being in place and known, that leverage this Diaspora potential.

The key area of policy-making and commercial activity in this regard is facilitation of trade and investment flows between countries of origin and destination, specifically between companies and public-sector entities in Sierra Leone and Diaspora-owned and local-owned companies and public-sector entities in destination countries, of which The Netherlands is a major one.

Presently, investment and trade levels between Sierra Leone and The Netherlands are quite limited realizing only part of the potential between the two countries’ complementary economies. Within this context, the Sierra Leone Business Centre (SLBC) is designed to fill this gap by offering investment and trade facilitation services.

SLBC is a Diaspora-led initiative. It is an online business agency established by MD Consultancy, a Dutch private company, to inform, motivate and facilitate Sierra Leonean Diaspora and Dutch organizations about doing business with and in Sierra Leone. The online platform will be designed to establish a national brand and one-stop shop of information and matchmaking for entrepreneurs and investors seeking commercial opportunities. SLBC will focus on the following sectors:

  • Mining and Extraction
  • Infrastructure (Construction, Ports, Rail)
  • Transport and communication
  • Real estate
  • Renewable Energy
  • Maritime
  • Forestry
  • Education & Training
  • Life Sciences
  • Tourism
  • Sport business
  • Food & Drink
  • Financial Services