Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio Urges Intra-African Trade Relations, Hopes Visit Will Trigger Business Opportunities

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has addressed the media just outside the Presidential Palace in the capital, Libreville, and urged the continent to prioritise the African market and boost trade with itself.

The President who was on a 3-day official visit to the Central African state and one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, thanked His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba and his people for the warm welcome, adding that they've not had time to go around a lot but were impressed even though there was more to do.

Responding to a question as to the purpose of his visit, the President said: "We are all moving gradually towards development and we think that a few things have been done here. That's why we came to look at what is happening and what we could learn from those".

"Trade among countries in Africa is one thing that we have not been doing well with. So, yes, there is a necessity for us to deepen this relationship. There are a few things here that we can copy and adapt to work in Sierra Leone. This will not be the end of our cooperation," he said.

He added that he was going to get his Minister of Trade to visit the country so that those visits could be translated into a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries.

Acting Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Abubakarr Karim, said that what they saw, during a tour of the Gabon Special Economic Zones, was an interesting model and that it would be useful for the two countries to collaborate, set up a synergy and understand how the Gabonese had done it.

It could be recalled that in March 2018, African countries signed a landmark trade agreement, the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which commits countries to remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods, progressively liberalise trade in services, and address a host of other non-tariff barrier.

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