Sierra Leonean business magnate, investor and philanthropist Mr. Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika was appointed as the first Goodwill Ambassador and Business Ambassador for the Commonwealth Africa Initiative at the Commonwealth Africa Summit held in London, United Kingdom, on the 16th March 2016.
The summit brought together a wide range of world leaders and high profile people from across the 53 Commonwealth countries. Presidents, former presidents, ministers, high commissioners, members of parliament, policy-makers, representatives of the private sector, civil society, diaspora organisations, youth groups, Commonwealth agencies, academia, celebrities and the media attended the summit.
Former President of Nigeria, H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the new Co-chair of the Commonwealth Africa Initiative, part of the New Commonwealth Programme, alongside Dr. Caroline Harper OBE and Baroness Flather announced the Goodwill Ambassador appointment, underlining that Ambassador Fadika, with his iconic status and outstanding leadership virtues and commitment to Africa’s development will be a critical voice for the Commonwealth Africa Initiative, in advancing Africa’s agenda in the Commonwealth and globally.
Ambassador Fadika was also presented with an international award for outstanding leadership and service to the people of Africa. President Obasanjo stressed that Ambassador Fadika will be a champion for the Commonwealth Africa Initiative, in promoting peace and development in the region.
In his role as Goodwill Ambassador and Business Ambassador for Trade, Investment, Business and Charitable Work of the Commonwealth Africa Initiative, Ambassador Fadika’s engagement will contribute significantly to attracting investment and mobilising resources towards the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ambassador Fadika’s knowledge, leadership skills and dedication to Africa’s development will play a pivotal role in opening markets, increasing trade and encouraging investment.
Ambassador Fadika will contribute to government-to-government engagement with international partners and the private sector. He will also engage in the work of eradicating extreme poverty for people in the Commonwealth by creating jobs, investing in education, health, housing and other sectors.
“It is indeed a historic moment for me. I consider it a blessing to have this golden opportunity to champion the cause of Africa at regional and international level, promoting business as well as engaging and empowering poor people including women and youth, working alongside other eminent Commonwealth leaders. We must eradicate poverty. We are born poor, but we must not die poor”, said Ambassador Fadika.
Before the award ceremony, Ambassador Fadika delivered a keynote address on the theme “Shared Prosperity: Mutual Security” at the Commonwealth Africa Summit held at the prestigious Tag Hotel in Buckingham Gate in London, United Kingdom, from the 14th to 16th March 2016.
The summit brought together government and business leaders from various parts of the Commonwealth to discuss various topics ranging from trade and investment, entrepreneurship, leadership, counterterrorism, security, and economic development in Africa.
In his keynote address, Ambassador Fadika said: “My country, Sierra Leone experienced a major crisis due to the impact of the Ebola epidemic, and the associated damage to communities and livelihoods.
The economy was hit the hardest, with business closures and rising unemployment further devastating a country that had not too long emerged from a decade of civil conflict.
Our business was seriously affected. As co-founder and Executive Chairman, I was greatly involved in the work of African Minerals Limited, a minerals exploration, development and mining company with significant interests in Sierra Leone, which was forced into administration due to the Ebola crisis.
We worked very hard to rescue the mining sector and brought in new investments. We survived! Now we have Shandong Steel SL Ltd, Pan African Minerals Ltd and we are working across 16 countries in Africa.
We appreciate the support provided and are grateful to the Commonwealth, the international community and my fellow Sierra Leoneans in tackling the Ebola virus. Together, we defeated Ebola’’.
Speaking at the summit, Ambassador Fadika emphasised his commitment to uniting and empowering people across Africa and to being a champion to advance business, trade and investment in Africa and across the Commonwealth. He underlined the importance of eradicating extreme poverty and helping poor peopleworktheir way out of poverty.
The summit began with a wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial Gate where Ambassador Fadika, for the first time in history laid a wreath on behalf of Sierra Leone, in honour of the dead of the 2nd World war.
Ambassador Fadika also attended the Commonwealth Day Service at the Westminster Abbey on the 14th of March 2016, in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and The Duke of York.
The ceremony also attracted Dr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta and the new Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, H.E. Kamalesh Sharma, outgoing Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, H.E. Baroness Scotland, incoming Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, Hon. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and a host of other world leaders.
The Queen’s annual Commonwealth Day message formed part of theprogramme at the Westminster Abbey and in it, she said: “Today, and in the year ahead, the theme ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ is an inspiration for us all.
Let us give it practical effect by supporting those in need and those who feel excluded in all walks of life. By doing so, we will continue to build a truly representative Commonwealth community.”
Ambassador Fadika also joined the Commonwealth Secretary General, H.E. Kamalesh Sharma at the Commonwealth Young Leaders Award Ceremony, held at Marlborough House, the Secretariat of the Commonwealth.
Ambassador Fadika expressed his interest in supporting and investing in young people in the Commonwealth, through the Commonwealth Youth programme.
Ambassador Fadika came from a humble background: he was born in poverty and struggled to pay his school fees. Despite these difficulties and challenges, Ambassador Fadika never lost hope and continued in his efforts to seek a better life.
He graduated from university and went on to become a magnate in the business sector. Ambassador Fadika is today one of the leading entrepreneurs in Africa and he is regarded as Africa’s success story.
Ambassador Fadika is the Vice Chairman of Shandong Steel SL Ltd and Executive Director of Pan Africa Minerals Ltd, with a cumulative investment portfolio of over 3.1 billion United States dollars in Africa.
With promising investments in iron ore, oil and gas and related resources in nine West African countries among them Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Niger, Ambassador Fadika has helped provide jobs for over 10,000 youths in the region.
Ambassador Fadika has also set up the Moseray Fadika Trust, providing jobs for thousands of young people, offering educational scholarships, building schools, providing housing support etc. Ambassador Fadika is committed to promoting better governance in Africa and strengthening the capacities of people and communities to achieve a fairer and a more peaceful world.