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Tony Blair works with Sierra Leone on investment and governance

Tony Blair works with Sierra Leone on investment and governance

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged on Monday to help Sierra Leone court private investment and to work with Sierra Leone's government to help deliver their vision and priorities.

Mr. Blair, on a visit to the capital Freetown, said he would be working as an adviser to Sierra Leone's government. He praised Sierra Leone as a "remarkable country with a remarkable people".

"Sierra Leone has the potential, which has to be nurtured and developed, and I would be very happy to go out to the international community to say that Sierra Leone is a good country to come to and invest" Blair said at a joint news conference with President Ernest Bai Koroma.

President Koroma described Blair as a "special friend to Sierra Leone," and praised his leadership in the British intervention that helped end a decade of fighting in the West African country in 2002.

President Koroma, who took office last year, said he would work with the former Prime Minister "in two areas. The first is representation for Sierra Leone internationally, to support our priorities of agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and economic growth. The second is around support for the governance of Sierra Leone."

Mr. Blair promised "to do what I can to see that major international investors come to this country and to get the private sector to support President Koroma's vision."

He said that the peaceful transition of power to Koroma's government should show the international community that Sierra Leone was now stable and ready for private enterprise - and that the democratic elections in Sierra Leone last year were a beacon for the whole of Africa.