Sierra Leone has a positive and open attitude towards foreign investment. The Government´s investment policy is aimed at providing incentives to industries that increase the country´s export and create jobs.
This initial step is aimed at encouraging Sierra Leoneans entrepremeurs and attracting reputable foreign partners to forge long-term relatinships with Sierra Leone, for the economic benefit of the country as a shole, as well as for the transfer of needed managerial and technical skills and technological know-how to Sierra Leone.
Investors are coming to do business in Sierra Leone, albeit slowly. To spur economic growth, the Government has staed it would focus on five key areas: private sector development, agriculture, reviving the mining industry, imporving the country´s infrastructure, and building "human capital".
Sierra Leone has a liberal trade policy and foreign investment is encouraged by the Government of Sierra Leone. there are no major laws/rules adversely affecting foreign investment through acquisitions, mergers and takeovers. Also there is no discriminatory economic or industrial strategy against foreign owned investors and no limit is imposed on foreign ownership or control.
The Goverment believes that such measures have enabled both local and foreign investment interests to begin to grow in areas such as private construction. A number of such projects are now being implemented throughout the country. Interst in invetment in other sectors including mining, maufacturing, tourism, agriculture and fishing is also growing. A strong sign that Sierra Leone is "open for business" was given when Sierra Rutile Ltd. secured a $25 million OPIC loan guarantee to begin the rehabilitation and resumption of its rutile mine.
Branch Energy Ltd., a joint venture with Diamond Works, Ltd., is developing kimberlite diamond mining operation on sierra Leone´s diamond, gold, and bauxite sectors. Egyptian business groups have also shown interest in commercial agriculture and fishing, and Chinese investment groups have indicated stong interst in bulding light manufacturing and assembly plants in the country.
There is no restriction on conversion or transfer of funds associated with investment into freely convertible currency and at the legal market determined rate. Ther are no plans to change remittance policies.
There are no legal limitations on the percentage of foreign ownership of any business. Foreign and domestic private entities are permitted to establish and own businesses and to engage in most of remunerative activity.
There are virtually no restrictions on sectors in which a foreing investor may invest, other than where there are defence considerations. In order to give support to small operators with limited capital, few areas of business have been reserved for indigenous Sierra Leoneans to enable them make a start. These reserved areas will be eliminated over time subject to progress made in their participation in economic activities.
Given the relatively small and unsohisticated internal market, export opportunities and international business connections are very important to Sierra Leone businesses.