World Bank scales up Sierra Leone’s funding to boost economic growth

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Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 April 2019:

The international community and development partners in Sierra Leone continue to extend tremendous goodwill to the Bio led government. Last month president Julius Maada Bio met with the World Bank’s senior management team to present his government’s agenda and achievements  made after twelve months in office.

President Bio spoke about what he referred to as his ‘undiluted commitment to push ahead with the reform agenda by raising domestic revenue, streamlining expenditures to ensure value for money and fight corruption’.

This is president Bio speaking on Bloomberg TV:

Following President Bio’s fruitful discussions with the Bank’s top management, the Bank committed to scaling up its funding to Sierra Leone by over US$300 million in the next few months, to help kickstart the ailing economy left behind by the electorally defeated Ernest Bai Koroma government.

The Bank’s Regional Vice President – Dr. Hafez Ghanem told Sierra Leone’s minister of finance – Jacob Jusu Saffa, that the Bank will approve US$230 million dollars by end of June 2019.

Dr. Ghanem said that senior executives of the Bank are happy with the progress the Bio led government has made in the last few months and that they as a development financing institution, stands ready to support the government’s reforms.

The Bank he said also recognises the bold steps taken by the government in the fight against corruption.

The $230 million funding will support the following existing projects: SCADEP – $30 million; supplemental financing to Energy Utility Project -$50 million to improve on Freetown transport network; Social Safety Net for NACSAC – $30 million; Urban Mobility Project -$50 million; and Free Quality Education Programme – $70 million.

Under a separate agreement, the World Bank has also committed to provide further funding of $400 million in July this year under IDA 19.

Recently, the World Bank disbursed US$40 million grant to the government as budget support to help boost the Bank of Sierra Leone’s international reserve which is expected to stimulate confidence in the country’s foreign exchange market.

The World Bank has also responded to President Bio’s request during his visit to scale up the 2019/2020 Budget support to $100 million in grant disbursement.

Minister Saffa assured the Bank of a judicious use of public funds as the New Direction believes in transparency and accountability, and that all project funding will be monitored closely by the Ministry of Finance.

He emphasized the government’s commitment to strengthening the Integrated Project Fiduciary Unit, to ensure that the use of development partners’ funds can be reported and account for in accordance with international standards.

The support shown by Sierra Leone’s development partners is a demonstration of the fact that the New Direction is changing the landscape of Sierra Leone, Saffa said.

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