A new Commonwealth project to help Sierra Leone enhance export competitiveness by improving product packaging will be launched on 9 September in Freetown.
The project designed by the Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency seeks to boost the country’s economic recovery in the aftermath of the Ebola crisis by increasing the value of exports.
Research carried out by the Secretariat in supporting the development of the country’s National Export Strategy identified lack of proper packaging as a serious impediment to Sierra Leone’s exports. Packaging is a critical part of efforts to move beyond commodity exports. It helps provide a platform for products to be branded and move up the value chain.
Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj welcomed the project as an important step forward in the country’s efforts to rebuild its economy.
He said: “Boosting trade competitiveness will invariably contribute to raising much needed funds to finance reconstruction efforts following the devastation caused by the Ebola crisis. This project heralds an important breakthrough in the country’s recovery.”
Mr Maharaj added: “We are proud to be working alongside the Government of Sierra Leone by providing targeted assistance in strategic areas that will help grow the economy, and improve future prospects.”
The Secretariat will support the Government of Sierra Leone to identify export-ready small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agriculture, manufacturing and fishing industries that are disadvantaged by the lack of proper packaging. The project will provide assistance to the private sector to address this issue.
Hon Mabinty Daramy, Sierra Leone’s Acting Minister of Trade and Industry, will officiate at the launch, joined by government officials, private sector representatives and other key stakeholders.
Outcomes of the intervention will help formulate a strategic action plan for Sierra Leone’s packaging industry. The plan will be pilot tested among SME exporters to ensure its efficacy.
For further information about this project, please contact the Head of the Trade Competitiveness Section, Rashmi Banga - [email protected]