Goldtree invest in Ebola stricken country (Sierra Leone)

Goldtree, a commercial palm oil plantation and milling company based in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, is expanding its operations within the country despite the current Ebola crisis. The Ebola spread has scared off international airlines and grounded several mining operations across West Africa.
According to the agribusiness firm, they will be investing $18.3 million to increase its overall investment in the country to $42 million albeit $3.3 million is expected to be spent on meeting current expenditure and mitigating the economic impact of Ebola. The remaining $15 million will fund an expansion programme, which includes extending the company’s plantations, doubling the size of its dedicated palm oil mill and building a tank farm at a port in Sierra Leone for the export of palm oil.  “Goldtree’s investment gives a vital boost to the country’s agricultural sector, which remains the largest sector of the Sierra Leone economy,” said Dr Joseph Sam Sesay, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, who welcomed the move by Goldtree’s board. “Goldtree’s timely investment will help protect Sierra Leonean livelihoods today and kick start tomorrow’s economic recovery. It also sends a clear message to the world that Sierra Leone remains open for business,” said Sesay.
Luke Marriott, who spoke on behalf of the Goldtree board, said that the company was committed to being part of Sierra Leone’s long-term economic development. “Goldtree has made a commitment to the people of Kailahun which we believe we can best fulfil by looking beyond the country’s current difficulties to its post-Ebola potential.”
The outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has led to the death of 1130 people in Sierra Leone, one of the hardest hit countries in the region. As a result, investors have been reconsidering their investments, with foreign workers fleeing the country and most of the local workers in some companies placed on compulsory leave. According to expert analysis, lost GDP in Sierra Leone could reach $439 million. –