Africa Finance Corporation, a pan-African multilateral development financial institution, and the government of Sierra Leone have broken ground on a special economic zone (SEZ)  in West African country.

Koya Industrial Zone (SiZ-Koya), which will be developed by AFC investee company, Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms (Arise IIP), will focus on maximising value capture and import substitution across core sectors, AFC said in a press statement.

After parliamentary ratification of its agreement with the Sierra Leone government, Arise IIP has been granted a concession to develop a port and rail system in the Koya Industrial Zone (SiZ-Koya) and will build the energy systems and infrastructure to enable industrial activity. 

The industrial zone aims to boost economic growth and generate new jobs in the country.

The initial focus will be on import substitution by manufacturing tiles, processing iron-ore used in the construction industry and developing pharmaceutical products. 

The initiative will promote value capture in agriculture by producing finished and packaged goods from forestry, cotton, soya and cashew.

Launched in 2010, ARISE IIP, co-owned by AFC and the Africa Transformation and Industrialisation Fund, has built several special economic zones in nine countries, including Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Nigeria, and Rwanda. 

AFC has invested $11.5 billion in 36 countries across Africa since its inception. 

(Writing by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)