ARISE IIP starts work on Sierra Leone industrial zone

The zone will focus on import substitution in core sectors.

By Liz Bains on
2nd May 2023

Construction of a new Special Economic Zone has got underway in Sierra Leone, with a ground-breaking ceremony attended by President Julius Maada Bio.

The Koya Industrial Zone (SIZ-Koya) is being jointly developed by the government of Sierra Leone and ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms (ARISE IIP).

ARISE IIP is co-owned the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Abu Dhabi-based Africa Transformation and Industrialization Fund.

ARISE IIP has been granted a concession to develop a port and rail system in the zone and will also build the energy systems and infrastructure to enable industrial activity.

The industrial zone is intended to boost the country’s economic growth and create opportunities for skilled workers.

The initial focus will be on import substitution in core sectors, including the manufacturing of tiles and pharmaceutical products and processing iron ore for use in the construction industry. There are also plans to produce finished and packaged goods for the forestry, cotton, soya and cashew industries.

The SEZ will offer streamlined permits and approvals to encourage investors to do business in Sierra Leone.

Speaking at the ceremony, which was streamed live on Facebook, AFC’s President and CEO, Samaila Zubairu said: “The SIZ-Koya will be a bedrock of opportunities for local businesses, and an engine that draws in foreign investment, and promotes technology transfer and skills development.”

ARISE IPP has already successfully developed SEZs in Gabon, Togo and Benin. The Nkok Special Economic Zone has transformed Gabon into the world’s largest exporter of wood veneers and created over 30,000 jobs. More than 160 companies are based in the zone, operating in 17 industrial sectors.

ARISE IPP is also working on developing SEZs in Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, Nigeria, Rwanda, Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The SEZs will focus on value capture and retention in core commodities including cashew, cassava, maize, plantains, rubber and timber.

Top photo: Furniture Manufacturing (© Aleksandr Penin | Dreamstime)

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