Her Excellency the First Lady; Dr. Fatima Maada Bio has officially launched the three days Opportunity Salone Knowledge Sharing Event, organized by Local Content Policy Agency in Partnership with International Labor Organiozation (ILO), at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown on Tuesday the 5th December, 2023, in Freetown.
In her address, First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio underscored the significance of conflict-sensitive agriculture value chains and entrepreneurship development for small and medium enterprises. This initiative seeks to bolster the growth and sustainability of agricultural businesses, taking into account the impact of conflicts on the industry.
She emphasized the efforts to enhance business environment for entrepreneurship development, including initiatives to maintain feeder roads as a crucial means for transportation and access to market places.
These improvements she said, play a pivotal role in fostering economic growth and facilitating trade within the country. She highlighted a notable stride toward gender equality within the agricultural sector, with the initiation of a gender-sensitive selection study, identifying four key agriculture value chains—Palm Oil, Cassava, Vegetables and Cocoa. The study aims to address gender disparities and promote inclusivity in economic opportunities.
Furthermore, the First Lady highlighted the initiation of market system analysis, to improve access to financial services for agricultural enterprises. This strategic move aims to provide better-paying market opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs, contributing to overall economic development.
Recognizing the critical need for investment in agriculture enterprise and cooperative development, the First Lady emphasized its role in modernizing agricultural practices, enhancing productivity, and ensuring sustainable growth in the sector.
The First Lady outlined efforts to create women and youth-focused enterprises and cooperatives, aiming to provide long-term job opportunities and to empower these demographic groups in economic activities.
Highlighting the importance of maintaining high feeder roads, the First Lady acknowledged their critical role in facilitating the transportation of agricultural products to markets and supporting overall economic activities.
Furthermore, she emphasized the pivotal role of private sector business investment in the country, particularly in supporting women’s empowerment. According to Her Excellency, private sector business investment accounted for 60% of the training provided to women across four districts in the country, benefiting 600 women.
The event aligns with the government’s “Big Five Gamek Changers” agenda, encompassing Feed Salone, Human Capital Development, Youth Employment, Technology and Infrastructure, and Revamping Public Service Architecture.
The government’s focus on these areas reflects a commitment to promoting sustainable economic growth and development in Sierra Leone. Through her impassioned address, First Lady; Dr. Fatima Maada Bio reaffirmed her dedication to championing equality and driving positive change in the nation’s economic landscape.
Goodwill statement were made by the Director General Local Content Agency, the Minister of Employment, Labour and Social Security and a host of other partners.
Strategic Communications Division,
Office of the First Lady,
Republic of Sierra Leone.