Wednesday 06 April 2005, 0:35 Makka Time, 21:35 GMT
Malaysia's government and the Islamic Development Bank are to fund thedevelopment of Sierra Leone's oil palm industry to the tune of $2.5million.
Sierra Leone's Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Sama Mondeh, saidon Tuesday that the scheme would be launched in June, adding that agovernment delegation led by Vice President Solomon Berewa concluded thearrangement in Malaysia last week.
"Oil palm in Malaysia is a king crop because it has made that country richand 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 andpractically as a government we don't have a choice and we are going allout that the crop would serve as a foundation for the poverty alleviationprogramme," Mondeh said.
The West African country is recovering from civil war that ravaged it formost of the 1990s, wrecking its economy and at the time demolishing itsreputation as a tourist paradise.
The conflict also led to plummeting living conditions for people in one ofthe world's poorest countries.