Sierra Leone has successfully hosted its first ever Commercial Law Summit at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Aberdeen, Freetown.
The Summit, which took place yesterday 14th March 2017, brought together leaders from the government, the judiciary, the business sector, the legal profession and the civil society to map out commercial law reforms, to promote business growth and the country’s ongoing economic development.
The event was organised by Herbert Smith Freehills, Standard Chartered Bank, the UK Sierra Leone Pro Bono Network and the UK and Sierra Leonean governments, including support from DFID and ROLE UK.
By bringing together key decision makers to address gaps in commercial law and in the justice system in Sierra Leone, the aim of the summit was to assist the country with its economic growth and recovery from the effects of the Ebola crisis.
The Master of Ceremonies, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, who doubles as Chairman of the Sierra Leone Investment & Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) and Sector Coordinator for Trade at the President Delivery Team said that the summit was to create a platform where they could engage around access to justice generally but more specifically access to justice from a commercial point of view. He said the commercial courts help to boost the country’s economy by bringing income generation and job creation, putting people to work thereby increasing the productivity of the nation.
Speaking during the summit, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Honourable Joseph F. Kamara talked about exchanging ideas between countries. He added that government will do that by making sure that foreign investors have a conducive ‘’legal climate’’ so that any international investor will be confident to do business in Sierra Leone.
The Attorney General, who was representing His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, during his speech, said the summit will help to strengthen the partnerships between the legal sectors and the countries involved.
He also addressed that Commercial Law and Justice is increasing the ease of doing business in Sierra Leone. He stressed that, which is a Government priority. He pointed out that Government will strive to make Sierra Leone an attractive place for responsible investors who respect and support the rule of law, thereby creating a virtuous circle in which a strong and resilient economy can be built.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton elaborated on the court process. She said the Government of Sierra Leone and the UK will unite on the summit to make change in the country. She added that their aim prior to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak was to bring more investors to remove the country from the dark, and that according to her, by that time Sierra Leone was the fastest growing economy in the world.
The summit further featured a breakout session with workshops covering different topics like Dealing with foreign investors, Taking legal advice, Public private partnerships, Court process: sharing best practice, Arbitration, Anti-money laundering and corruption and land tenure issues.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.