Alhaji K. Tarawally (Laj-K)
Ph.D. Candidate (EUCLID, CAR), M.A. IRD (SIU, Germany), MSc IRD (UoR, UK), BA Hons. (FBC, SL),DIP (FBC)
The Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms (ARISE IIP) project in Sierra Leone has become a focal point of contention due to opposition from high-ranking government officials in collaboration with Chinese investors. This article aims to expertiate on the importance of the Arise IIP project over the syndromic Chinese alternative, highlighting its potential to transform Sierra Leone’s industrial landscape and contribute to the country’s sustainable development.
One of the key aspects of the Arise IIP project is the reintroduction of trains to Sierra Leone, as they’ve procured and shipped seven passenger railcars from Japan, which are expected to arrive in Sierra Leone on the 26th of October, 2023. Arise IIP aims to provide efficient and affordable transportation options for the people of Sierra Leone. This investment in railway infrastructure will not only boost connectivity but also enhance economic activities and improve the overall quality of life for the citizens. In contrast, the Chinese alternative may not prioritise the needs of the local population to the same extent as a 90% Sierra Leonean-owned investment company.
Industrialisation for Economic Progress:
Establishing over 40 factories within the proposed industrial zone of the Arise IIP project, known as the SIZ-Koya industrial zone, holds immense potential for Sierra Leone’s industrialisation agenda. This ambitious plan aligns with ARISE IIP’s vision to unlock Africa’s industrial potential by attracting investments and creating job opportunities. The project will drive economic growth, reduce unemployment, and foster technological advancements. Focusing on local industries will also promote self-sufficiency, reducing the country’s reliance on imports and increasing export potential.
ARISE IIP’s $400 million investment in Sierra Leone signifies a commitment to sustainable development. The project aims to establish world-class industrial ecosystems prioritising environmental conservation and social responsibility with a focus on green technologies and sustainable practices. The industrial zone will minimise the environmental impact while maximising productivity. This approach aligns with global efforts to combat climate change and promotes Sierra Leone’s role as a responsible global citizen.
Partnership with Arise IIP:
Opposition from high-ranking government members in collaboration with Chinese investors threatens to undermine an existing agreement between the government and Arise IIP. It is crucial to recognise the long-term benefits that the Arise IIP project brings to Sierra Leone; by partnering with Arise IIP, Sierra Leone can tap into their expertise in developing and operating African industrial ecosystems. This partnership will not only attract foreign direct investment but also enhance knowledge transfer and capacity building, empowering local industries and entrepreneurs. ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms (ARISE IIP) designs, finances, conceives and operates industrial ecosystems across Africa.
They identify industrial gaps in African countries and design tailor-made solutions to enable the sustainable and local transformation of raw materials, boost exports, and promote trade.
ARISE IIP is present in Gabon with the Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ), in Benin with the Glo-Djigbé Industrial Zone (GDIZ) and in Togo with the Adétikopé Industrial Platform (PIA). Arise industrial zones in Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, and Sierra Leone are currently under development and will be mainly dedicated to the processing of local agricultural products. Their industrial ecosystems include world-class integrated logistics services, ensuring greater competitiveness.
In conclusion, the Arise IIP project holds immense potential for Sierra Leone’s sustainable development and industrialisation agenda by reintroducing trains and establishing a robust industrial zone. The project addresses the key infrastructural and economic needs of the country. The government needs to recognise the long-term benefits of the Arise IIP project and honour the existing agreement. By doing so, Sierra Leone can unlock its industrial potential, drive economic growth, and create a prosperous future for its citizens.