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Sierra Leone News: SCB SL joins the BRI relay as the 34th country

Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), Idrissa Kamara, said that his bank in Sierra Leone is part of 44 Standard banks that are part of the Belt and Road Initiative relay that saw eight international staff, local staff and athletes taking part in this relay on Easter Monday along the beach front. Kamara said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the most ambitious and far-reaching project of its kind in the world today, and the bank is present in two-thirds of Belt and Road markets, and their rich heritage, deep local knowledge and unparalleled connectivity mean that they’re ideally placed to help their partners, clients and communities to make the most out of the initiative. “By traversing these markets on foot and engaging local clients, governments, media and communities, our Standard Chartered Belt & Road Relay athletes have showcased our commitment to be the One Bank for the Belt and Road. The Standard Chartered Belt & Road Relay, the first-ever attempted relay along the Belt and Road, run by our employees across 44 markets over the course of 90 days, with eight staff athletes (two from each of our four regions – Greater China & North Asia, ASEAN & South Asia, Africa & Middle East and Europe & Americas are participating in the Relay, which kicked off in Hong Kong on the 17th February and will end in China in May 2019.” The CEO said Standard Chartered has been connecting Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe for over 150 years, and they are fully committed to be the One Bank for the Belt and Road Initiative. He said they have dedicated Belt and Road teams located in ASEAN, South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe, with more than 40 staff globally assisting their Chinese clients across a wide range of financial needs. “The Belt and Road initiative is core to Standard Chartered. In 2017, the Bank committed additional financing for Belt and Road projects of at least US$20 billion by 2020, and was involved in more than 50 Belt and Road deals worth more than US$10billion across a range of products and services.” Kamara said in Sierra Leone, Belt & Road projects include, Wellington – Masiaka Toll road, Grafton Road, Juba Bridge Expansion, Spur Road Project, Lungi-Port Loko Road, Lungi-Targrin Road, Regent road from Limkokwing University to Regent, various feeder roads in Freetown and other feeder roads in the provinces. In his brief remarks, Amb. Hu Zhangliang said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an important initiative for international cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. BRI he said aims to enhance both China’s development and international cooperation. Amb. Hu said since its inception, the BRI has received strong endorsement and wide support of the international community. So far, a total of 126 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China, including Sierra Leone. “The Belt and Road Relay initiated by the Standard Chartered Bank is a manifestation of the great enthusiasm the international community places in the BRI. Guided by the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, the BRI has become the largest platform for international cooperation and the most welcomed global public good. The BRI embraces multilateralism and an open global economy. As President Xi has said, the BRI originates in China, but its benefits are shared by the world. It gathers the consensus of building a community with a shared future for mankind and forging a new type of international relations. Signing up for the BRI has enabled countries to grow at a faster pace, improve their people’s lives and reap win-win outcomes.” The new Ambassador averred that it has been proved by countless facts that BRI is not a “debt trap” as alleged by some certain countries or people but an “economic pie” that benefits the local communities. It is no “geopolitical tool” as some people claim but a great opportunity for shared development. “The latest studies by the World Bank and other international institutions suggest that the BRI cooperation will cut the costs of global trade by 1.1 to 2.2% and those of trade along the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor by 10.2%. What is more, it will contribute at least 0.1% of global growth in 2019.” Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr said that the BRI across the ancient silk belt and road route of which Sierra Leone is part of and continues to benefit from, through various forms of infrastructural development with reference to massive road and belt construction across the nation, is therefore a value added that supports and stimulates the economic growth trajectory of this nation; transforming Freetown and the provinces coupled with bilateral trade relations in the Sino-Sierra Leone corridor. “As a nation, we recognize the all-important role of Standard Chartered and its commitment to financing the BRI across Asia, Africa and the Middle East in over 40 markets including Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is open for business and we encourage many more investments and initiatives such as BRI, to continue the nation’s transformation and rebranding, to make our beloved Sierra Leone great again.”

AT/23/4/19

Thursday April 25, 2019.

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