- Title: SIERRA LEONE: Iranian businessmen hold trade fair in Freetown
- Date: 1st June 2008
- Summary: (MER-1) FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE (RECENT) (REUTERS) CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT OF FREETOWN (2 SHOTS)
- Reuters ID: LVA8HMXBKTDNH2AMMZA05F0692YO
- Location: Sierra Leone
- Country: Sierra Leone
- Duration: 00:00:11
- Topics: International Relations,Economic News
- Story Text: Iranian businesses hold trade exhibition in Sierra Leone, evidence of growing Iranian investment in West Africa.
Iranian merchandise went on display in Sierra Leone in an annual trade fair which Iranian businessmen hope to extend to other West Africa countries.
Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital, has hosted an exhibition showcasing an assortment of middle-eastern goods, ranging from paintings, handicrafts and cosmetics, to household items, furniture and electronics.
"I'm glad to say that my government, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has planned to transform Sierra Leone into a testing balloon. If succeeded, we will extend this model to the greater part of west Africa. We will be investing mainly in agriculture, and also in processing industries," said Ismail Mofidi, Iranian exhibition manager.
Sierra Leone is one of the world's poorest countries and it is struggling to recover from a decade-long civil war. In a country where poverty is rampant, some exhibition visitors said the goods were too expensive.
"This year is suppose to be the best because I'm seeing a lot of people coming to patronise with them, despite the fact that the prices are not that as cheap as people would expect, But I think it is good that such relationship is existing between Sierra Leone and an Islamic country for that matter," said Theo Gbeda, an exhibition visitor.
"This year is supposed to be one of the best, because I'm seeing a lot of people coming to patronise with them, despite the fact that the prices are not that as cheap as people would expect. But I think it is good that such relationship is existing between Sierra Leone and an Islamic country for that matter," said Elizabeth Mamie Kamara, a local trader.
Following the exhibition, Iranian businessmen are expected to buy products from Sierra Leone and display them at trade fairs in Iran.
The exhibition is an evidence of growing Iranian investment in Africa, and is a means to strengthen economic and political relations between the two countries.
Sierra Leone's major trade partners are Belgium, Germany, the United States and Cote d'Ivoire.
Its main export goods include diamonds and other minerals, cocoa, coffee and fish. It imports foods, machinery, fuels and chemicals. But the cost of the country's imports is considerably higher that its earnings from exports.
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