Sierra Leone Seeks to Import Fuel, Grain From Russia, May Discuss Barter Trade
10:42 GMT 19.11.2022 (Updated: 11:38 GMT 23.11.2022)
© AP Photo / Emrah GurelA boat with Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and U.N. officials heads to the Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, to check if the grain shipment is in accordance with a crucial agreement signed last month by Moscow and Kiev, at an inspection area in the Black Sea off the coast of Istanbul, Turkiye, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022.
© AP Photo / Emrah Gurel
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Sierra Leone is interested in importing Russian agricultural equipment, along with fuel and grain, possibly using barter in bilateral trade, Sierra Leonean Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Yongawo told Sputnik.
"Some of the main things that can be exported to Sierra Leone from Russia is agricultural machinery. Russia is very good at producing agricultural machinery. And definitely grains… and diesel, petrol, oil products," the ambassador said.
The senior diplomat believes that private Russian companies can negotiate with their Sierra Leonean counterparts to decide how to organize trade: whether to strike barter deals or use financial exchange to procure goods.
The ambassador also welcomed the extension of the Black Sea grain deal and the resumption of Russia's participation in it.
Yongawo said it was "good" that the deal was prolonged, adding that more cooperation of the parties of the initiative would also be welcome in the future.
"It will be good that in the future they are able to sit together and agree on the parameters of the deal to ensure that every party of the deal is satisfied with the implementation," the ambassador said.
The extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is of great importance to Sierra Leone, not only in terms of supplies, but also in the context of market stabilization, the senior diplomat said.
"Like every other country in the world, we are, of course, happy, because we actually know the pressures that our country is undergoing because of the strategies of food in the world market. Because the thing is: grains do not go straight to Sierra Leone from Ukraine or from Russia, they go to third countries from where Sierra Leone gets these grains," Yongawo said.
The ambassador underscored that food and medication should never be blocked regardless of the circumstances, as restricting their free movement puts the lives of many people at risk.
On Wednesday, the grain deal, which was initially set to expire on November 19, was extended for a further 120 days. It is a component of a larger package deal negotiated by the UN and Turkey to open the Black Sea to grain and fertilizer exports from Russia and Ukraine.
Speaking about Russia's proposal to supply free grain and fertilizer to African countries in need, the ambassador noted that Sierra Leone has not yet contacted the organizers of this initiative to ask to be included in the list, but "we would like it," because the country is in need of fertilizers.
He noted, however, that there are a lot of goods that could be exported from Sierra Leone to Russia.
"In terms of our exports, for example, Sierra Leone grows some of the best cocoa beans. Therefore, it is one of the goods that could be imported from Sierra Leone," he said.
The ambassador mentioned tourism as another area of investment.
"You may not know, but we have some of the best beaches in the entire world," he said. "Sierra Leone is considered to be the Hawaii of Africa, and this is not a mistake, because we have unique, unspoilt beaches that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. And Russian companies can organize tours to Sierra Leone to enjoy the country."
Yongawo also noted that the country has a mild climate, as well as a kind-hearted attitude towards tourists
"All this together forms a favorable environment for the development of cooperation. Sierra Leone is a very good place to do business," the diplomat emphasized.