The former Addax project took 50,000 ha from local communities and failed
President Bio Hails Sunbird Bio-energy
By Lansana Fofanah
When delivering his keynote address at the opening of the UK-Sierra Leone Trade & Investment Forum in London, on 6th June 2019, President Julius Maada Bio described Sierra Leone as a great opportunity and suitable investment destination as the government has put in place favorable investment incentives.
According to the President, the purpose of the forum, which was attended by over 300 investors, was to cultivate a culture of trust and confidence around investing in Sierra Leone.
The President went on that, “good-experience narratives will attract new investors,” and cited Sunbird Bioenergy as one of the established companies already working in the country.
President Bio also mentioned CAPPA and its constituent agribusiness companies like Dole International, SOCFIN and Miro. His Excellency stressed that agribusiness is one of the key priority areas for investment which is why he disclosed that government is updating investment incentives to make it even more attractive to invest in agriculture and agro-processing.
It is learned that Sunbird Bioenergy, after the recent change of management, is set to produce sugar for the local market in Sierra Leone and for export to neighboring countries in the Mano River Region. Currently, there is no sugar production facility in the region and demand is met by imports. This will create more jobs and save US $35 million in foreign exchange through import substitution of sugar and dirty fuels. Success for the company will translate directly into success for the government and people of this country, and went further that his country will be delighted to spread the “good-experience narratives that will attract new investors.”
Since 2011 when the company started operation, over 8,000 Sierra Leoneans have been gainfully employed and huge amounts of clean electricity have been produced for the national grid. The target is now to raise that to employ 12,000 people, to generate 100GHW of clean electricity and produce 100, 000 metric tons of sugar per year. Sunbird Bioenergy is a US $550 million investment, the largest agribusiness investment in Sierra Leone.