Koya, 20, October 2023 – ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms (ARISE IIP) has commenced construction of a multimillion-dollar sustainable development project; which includes plans for large-scale industrial manufacturing, railways, job creation, enhancing the country’s economic growth strategy.
The ongoing construction work is part of the project, which was launched by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio on 26th April 2023, marking as a pivotal moment for the foundation of the Special Koya Industrial Zone (SIZ-Koya) in Koya Chiefdom, Port Loko District. The SIZ project is one of a number of plans which are part of the ongoing ARISE IIP US$ 1.2 billion investment aiming to boost the economy of Sierra Leone. The investment that will be connected to the rail and ports corridor is expected to create over thirty-four thousand (34,000) jobs in the country.
ARISE IIP, a developer and operator of world-class industrial ecosystems across Africa, in partnership with the Republic of Sierra Leone is building the SIZ – Koya industrial zone. This asset, in line with ARISE IIP’s ambition to unlock Africa’s industrial potential, will support the Republic of Sierra Leone in advancing the country’s industrialisation agenda. This ambitious initiative represents a joint venture between Sierra Leone and ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms (ARISE IIP). The Special Koya Industrial Zone, designed to span 1,600 hectares, boasts a dedicated area for exports, setting it apart with its strong commitment to environmental sustainability, including plans to harness 100 megawatts of solar power.
In efforts to ensure transparency and keep the public updated on ongoing work, ARISE IIP together with a group of journalists, community stakeholders and leading experts have been taken on a conducted tour to the Koya Industrial Zone. ARISE IIP invited journalists from various media houses across the country, with a view to provide them with an exclusive look at the development progress of the Industrial Zone. The delegation was welcomed by Paramount Chief Sorie Bomboli Kanu of Koya Chiefdom, Port Loko District. The visit offered valuable insights into the ongoing infrastructure development within the Special Koya Industrial Zone, shedding light on the remarkable strides being taken in Sierra Leone’s industrialization journey. The massive infrastructure project aims to expand local and global trade links.
Community stakeholders and workers who are mostly residents of the community have expressed their excitement about gaining employment and the prospect of the investment to the country’s development plans. Paramount Chief Bai Bompa Komboli III, has expressed profound gratitude to the communities and institutions that participated in the programme. The Paramount Chief reflected on President Bio’s commissioning of the project back in April 2023, acknowledging the crucial role played by ARISE IIP in this transformative journey. Paramount Chief Komboli III extended his heartfelt gratitude to President Bio for facilitating this opportunity, paving the way for a brighter and more prosperous future. Chief Komboli III reiterated his commitment to fostering unity and collaboration among all stakeholders. The Chief commended the Local Partner of ARISE IIP, Amb. Anthony Navo Jr, for his instrumental role in the project. The Chief highlighted the positive impact of the project on employment opportunities and the reduction of crime rates in the community.
‘’We want to thank the government and ARISE IIP for this initiative. At first I was kind of worried, but when I consider the strategic location of our chiefdom – sharing boundaries with the south, east, north and west I felt it is a great project for our people and entire country. I welcome this project as it would provide jobs for my people, especially for the youth. The project will reduce crime rate and unemployment. I thank President Bio for the opportunity presented to our country,’’ Paramount Chief Komboli III stated.
ARISE’s Local Partner, Amb Anthony Navo; Jr describes the project as “new hope for Sierra Leone and a fulfilment of President Bio’s commitment to job creation, investment and sustainable development.” Speaking at the Koya industrial Zone site, Amb. Navo Jr, emphasised the monumental significance of the Special Koya Industrial Zone (SIZ-Koya) in Sierra Leone.
Amb. Anthony Navo Jr, said; ‘’The project aims to stimulate local production, reduce dependence on imports, and create various factories, including a Pharmaceutical Facility, Rice Meal Factory, Tile Production, Paint Manufacturing, and a power plant to provide electricity to the Industrial Zone, the community, and the country. The ultimate goal is import substitution, where goods are produced locally and made available for sale both domestically and abroad.’’
Experts estimate first phase of the project to cost approximately $410 million, encompasses over 40 factories, contributing significantly to the economic growth of the region. The first phase of the project is expected to generate approximately 34,000 job opportunities within 24 months. And as the project progresses into its second and third phases, employment opportunities are set to increase, underscoring the crucial role of collaborative efforts in bringing the project to fruition. Amb. Navo Jr, stated that the cooperation and support of the government, community stakeholders, and the local population were vital in achieving this milestone.
Shruthi James, the Environmental Social Governance Manager at ARISE IIP Sierra Leone, emphasised the company’s commitment to international environmental and social standards. She highlighted the completion of ARISE IIP’s Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and efforts to conduct an additional ESIA in accordance with International Finance Corporation standards. James also spoke about ongoing projects, including a mangrove conservation initiative in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These endeavors, aligned with government support, aim to meet international standards in environmental and social aspects.
Santosh Goham, the Construction Manager of ARISE IIP, spoke about the potential of ARISE IIP’s investments to create a robust and sustainable economy for Sierra Leone and its local communities. Santosh took the delegation on a conducted tour of the construction of a boundary wall covering 150 acres, a significant milestone in the project. The 150 hectares -long boundary wall marked the beginning of the first phase, focused on developing international standard infrastructure. This part of the initial phase, which includes the establishment of roads, water and electricity supply systems, as well as storage and warehouse facilities. Additionally, the project included the creation of a logistic Inland Container Depot in collaboration with the Freetown Port Authority.
In another development, ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms (ARISE IIP) has announced that it is expecting the arrival of Passenger Railcars in the country. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to revamp the mining sector, offering improved access to rail and port facilities and stimulating economic activities. The Government of Sierra Leone has signed the Pepel Port and Pepel – Tonkolili Railway Development, Expansion and Management agreement with ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms Ltd.
For the past few years, ARISE IIP has experienced a remarkable expansion across more than a dozen African countries. For reference, in Gabon, ARISE IIP manages the Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ) which focuses on the timber industry, and has created 16,000 jobs, attracted 120 investors, and enabled Gabon to move from being an exporter of logs to the world’s 2nd largest producer and exporter of veneer, as well as the first in Africa. Across the continent, ARISE IIP’s primary drive has always been the creation of industrial ecosystems committed to generating high local added value along with sustainable growth.
This ARISE IIP project signifies a crucial step towards Sierra Leone’s industrialization, fostering economic growth, job opportunities, and local development. It underlines the importance of collaborative efforts and environmentally responsible practices in realizing a prosperous future for the nation and its people. ARISE IIP is poised to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly as it plans to bring in the broader investment model to Sierra Leone just like in countries like Benin where it has established an Industrial Zone.
ARISE IIP identifies industrial gaps in African countries that unlock value and create new industries. Its aim is to industrialise key sectors by creating local transformation, maximising production, efficiency and cost, which in turn generates local value addition. ARISE IIP is committed to building a sustainable future by creating job opportunities, empowering local communities, and promoting economic growth through industrial development.
ARISE IIP partnership with the Republic of Sierra Leone is a testament of a commitment to making a positive impact in Africa. Through the SIZ – Koya project, ARISE IIP aims to create world-class industrial infrastructure that will attract local and international investors to the region. ARISE IIP local partners are confident that this integrated infrastructure will not only lead to job creation, but also contribute more broadly to the industrialization of Sierra Leone in a sustainable and responsible way.