Sierra Leone sees hope in oil palm aid

Malaysia's government and the Islamic Development Bank are to fund the development of Sierra Leone's oil palm industry to the tune of $2.5 million.

    The West African country has been blighted by civil war

    Sierra Leone's Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Sama Mondeh, said on Tuesday that the scheme would be launched in June, adding that a government delegation led by Vice President Solomon Berewa concluded the arrangement in Malaysia last week.

    "Oil palm in Malaysia is a king crop because it has made that country rich and properous," Mondeh said.

    "We are expecting the same benefit when it takes off in Sierra Leone."

    The minister said the oil palm industry could be the nation's saviour.

    "We have the political will. Economically, we are determined and practically as a government we don't have a choice and we are going all out that the crop would serve as a foundation for the poverty alleviation programme," Mondeh said.

    The West African country is recovering from civil war that ravaged it for most of the 1990s, wrecking its economy and at the time demolishing its reputation as a tourist paradise.

    The conflict also led to plummeting living conditions for people in one of the world's poorest countries.



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