Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 September 2021:
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai last Friday addressed the Ministerial Meeting of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) that seeks to overcome structural challenges in order to eradicate poverty, achieve internationally agreed development goals – including the SDGs, and enable graduation from the LDCs category.
In his address, Dr. Kai-Kai said despite the pandemic, the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023 remains Sierra Leone’s roadmap to meeting internationally agreed agendas and to growth and stability.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our countries had made good progress in implementing the sustainable development goals and meeting international targets.
“The Sierra Leone MTNDP (2019-2023) was prepared with a people centred focus and aligned with the SDGs, Istanbul Program of Action (IPoA) commitments and the African Union Agenda 2063. We believe that the full implementation of the MTNDP would put us in good stead to achieving the SDGs and meeting the requirements of the AU Agenda 2063”, he said.
The Minister said that he was optimistic that global efforts to roll out COVID-19 vaccines would make the vaccines more accessible and affordable in the Least Developed Countries, which according to him, remained their best bet at slowing down infections and paving the way for a return to normalcy. (Photo above: LDCs ministers meeting via videoconferencing).
“Let me reiterate that any return to normalcy and post pandemic recovery is predicated on the availability of and accessibility to vaccines. We therefore renew our call for a fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines by LDCs, so that the majority of the populations in LDCs would not be left behind in the ongoing global vaccination drive to ensure that everyone is safe”, Dr. Kai-Kai noted, as he acknowledged the support provided by international partners in addressing the increased financial needs of LDCs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Kai-Kai, however, noted that the external debt stock and debt service of many LDCs have increased significantly during this period; calling for scaling up of the percentage of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to LDCs and debt relief to their countries.
The Ministers and Heads of delegation of the Least Developed Countries concluded with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration, reaffirming the Istanbul Declaration and the Program of Action for the LDCs for the ten-year period – 2011 to 2020 and further reaffirming also the 2030 Agenda for SDGs.
The IPoA for the Least Developed Countries was adopted by the 4th United Nations Conference on the LDCs held in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2011.
Yeah. Dr Francis Kai-Kai is a sincere and hardworking gentleman. But his ideas are being neglected by the Bio SLPP, in my view. I appreciate all that he has done for the country since he became a politician and minister. Like Dr Francis Kai-Kai, men from chieftaincy homes usually know how to win and how to lose. Whether in an election or any responsibility given to them. He is one of those SLPP champions who deserve praise. I don’t know how he is surviving under the Bio SLPP. Now to business. Dr Kai-Kai should find ways of discouraging debt by the World Bank or IMF if he wants LCDs to prosper. He should, if possible, tell them to leave because they are not helpful. These institutions are responsible for the miserable and disastrous economies of LDCs and their people. All they do is to provide money that will finally end up in the pockets of the elites and unscrupulous business people. Look at that.
Has Dr Francis Kai kai enquired about Sierra Leone’s debt to the World Bank and the IMF? Does he know the total amount of Sierra Leone’s internal debt? I’m not an economist, but he should have those awful disastrous figures to plan anything tangible for our country. As long as he does not tell me, no one will ever convince me about any LCD’s economic growth, development, or prosperity. LCDs can survive with revenue generation. Period! To hell with debt from the World Bank or the IMF. They are just giving debt to LCDs that they will never pay while the masses suffer and at the same time in total poverty. Can you imagine?. SAD. God bless Dr Francis Kai Kai and all countries and institutions giving us grants.
Fixing the economic roof whilst the sun is shining, is the best policy sense , than wait for the economics thunder storms to arrive, and start running around like headless chickens looking for answers . One of the pedagogy of economics,is the national debt burden owed by governments, and who should repay such large loans to meet the needs of the present generation. Most economists will argure it will pass on to the shoulders of the young, and future generations yet unborn to service those debts, taken out by the present generation . Debt burden itself, drives its name, not out of a mad economist trying to come up with some theoretical thoughts, but the name is given to the serious amount of money borrowed by governments, or organisations, from international financial institutions, that will create repayment problems to meet it obligations to service such debts. Like in the case of Sierra Leonean,where the debt is held externally, chances are it may cause serious depreciation of the Leone,in the exchange rate. As in the With the impact of covid19, and a government unwilling to think outside the box, and come up with a national economic plan that will be beneficial to all not the few , Sierra-leoneans should be prepared for harsh economic realities, and proscribed therapies by our international lenders. Resulting in pushing up high cost of living standards for ordinary families up and down the country.
And with a run away inflation, government will be forced to put up taxes, which in turn will have a massive impact to foreign direct investment. With the Bio government taken out loans, from international financial institutions like is free money from the World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, and not enough economic, or strategic planning, to make the right investments that will create opportunities for small, and medium size businesses, majority of this loans will hang over our country for many years to come.
Even if we have a new government now, the accumulations of debts by the Bio government will hamper any future developments projects, that an incoming government will want to undertake. Because our international partners will be demanding their money back before they make any further commitments to put us in more debts.
LDC need to be better prepared for volatile situations like the pandemic by addressing their frivolous spending beyond what is affordable. Development assistance should be stopped altogether as a wake up call for these leaders to focus on revenue generation by creating an enabling environment for investment. They have huge natural resources that are high in demand but yet still struggling with poverty.
LDC do not need goals set by these international financial institutions as a yardstick for development assistance. Development assistance is as old as these LDC gaining independence but have got them no where.