Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 October 2020:
Sierra Leone’s minister of planning and economic development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai has reiterated his call for effective coordination, ownership and people cantered processes that are critical to achieving the objectives of the government’s Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023 at the local community level.
Speaking at the launching of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) grant contract for the Kambia District, the minister urged the Kambia District Council and Civil Society grant holders to embed those principles in the implementation of local programmes and projects.
Dr. Kai-Kai said: “These complementary grants to Kambia District and the two CSOs in Kambia will improve their respective capacities to work together, coordinate well together to deliver to the people of Kambia District. The grants should make them more effective and better able to contribute to the democratic transition and socio economic development of this District and, by extension, Sierra Leone.
“This launch is an important step forward in our journey towards achieving the development goals President Julius Maada Bio’s government and you, the people, have set out for yourselves and nation in the MTNDP (2019-2023), which was founded on a strong political commitment to deliver development results that will improve the welfare of Sierra Leone’s citizens, places decentralization at the core of citizen engagement and poverty reduction”.
Chairman of Kambia District Council, Mohamed Yayah Bangura, said that the grant would enable the council address some of the challenges facing the council. He said the grant would build the necessary capacity and making right investments that would unleash both the socio-economic potential and participation opportunities for every Kambia citizen.
He called for more collaboration and better coordination, during the implementation of the proposed guest house in Gbalamuya, rehabilitation of the council building and building of market stalls at Bamoi Luma.
In her keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Melrose Kargbo, commended the government for the level of support they have given to local councils, stating that it is a manifestation of President Bio’s commitment to the decentralisation process in the country.
She stated that they have commenced the process of developing a strategic plan that would engage local stakeholders and development partners, whilst commending the EU for their support to the process.
Head of European Union Delegation in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Tom Vens, said that the aim of the funding is to support effective decentralisation and efficient service delivery to citizens, especially in remote areas.
He said that the project would contribute to economic growth and social cohesion for the benefit of Sierra Leone. He also acknowledged the President’s strategy and long-term vision in placing decentralisation at the core of the government’s New Direction.
In July 2020, President Julius Maada Bio unveiled the five-year EU grant which is targeting District Councils and respective Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Pujehun, Kenema, Bombali and Kambia.