As France’s President expresses love for Sierra Leone…French business tycoon vows to give country economic credibility

The President and CEO of the France-based business conglomerate,  Bolloré Africa Logistics has assured that his company is ready to give economic credibility cover for more French investors to invest in Sierra Leone.
Dominique Lafont emphasized that French investors know very little about Sierra Leone, but, “with our present investment in your country, we will tell other investors that Sierra Leone is a business-friendly country, with a government that protects investors and respects whatever contracts it signed”.
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The Bolloré President was addressing Ambassador Ibrahim Sorie and delegation past Friday, November 15, during a courtesy call at the former’s office in Paris as the Sierra Leone envoy accelerates his economic diplomatic policy drive to attract more foreign investment to his country.
“The French investors are eager to invest in Africa and we are happy to help you in advertising your country to the French investors. We will tell them Sierra Leone is a democratic country, with successive peaceful, free and transparent elections being held; free press and above all, her friendly people. No doubt, Sierra Leone is economically upside”, Mr. Lafont stated.
Ambassador Ibrahim Sorie earlier informed the Bolloré CEO that his purpose for the courtesy call was not only to present his credentials to President Francois Hollandé, but to also meet and acquaint himself with business executives of French companies operating in Sierra Leone.“President Ernest Bai Koroma is laying more emphasis on economic diplomacy rather than the usual cocktail style of diplomacy and that is what I’m pursuing”. He further appealed to the
Bolloré chief of assisting to mobilize the French business community as President Koroma would like to meet and address them during his schedule attendance of the Africa Peace Summit in Paris, early December, a task the CEO promised to carry out.
Ambassador Sorie was later led to the office of the overall head and President of the Bolloré Group, Vincent Bolloré  and had a very successful meeting especially in the area of rural energy with the newly developed BLUE SOLUTIONS, a solar battery-based energy. This offer, a development aid package by Bolloré for Sierra Leone will be unveiled when President Koroma arrives in Paris, early December.
The Bolloré Group was founded in 1822 and ranks among the 500 largest companies in the world with 55,500 employees in 152 countries, 45 of those countries in Africa. The company specializes in Transport and Logistics, Communication and Media, Electricity Storage and Solutions. It operates Port Concessions in 15 African countries including Freetown, Conakry, Abidjan, Lagos, Lome, Tema and many others.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Ibrahim Sorie has presented his credentials to the French President, His Excellency Francois Hollandé, last Friday.
Accepting Ambassador Sorie’s Letters, President Hollande recalled the friendly and cordial ties between the two countries before Sierra Leone took the unfortunate decision to close her Embassy in France in 1989 as a result of the IMF structural adjustment programmes.
He further recalled his visit to Sierra Leone before the outbreak of the civil war and recounted the one time French touristic center at Tokeh. “I love Sierra Leone and her people. I’m happy on the progress the country has made so far after the end of the war. We’ll continue to provide the necessary support for the sustenance of peace and development in your country”, the French President said.
The French President promised to look seriously into Ambassador Sorie’s appeal for France not to close down its Consulate in Freetown as this will create so much inconvenience for Sierra Leoneans wanting to travel to France.
Ambassador Sorie had earlier assured the French President that plans are far advanced now for the reopening of the Sierra Leone embassy in Paris.
By Chernor Ojuku Sesay,
Information Attaché,
Sierra Leone Embassy


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