Sierra Leone to receive US$7.5 Million for COVID-19 response from World Bank

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 April 2020:

The World Bank today approved a US$7.5 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to help Sierra Leone respond to the threat posed by the Coronavirus outbreak and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness.

The funds will fill critical financing gaps that have been identified due to the new emergency preparedness and response needs created by the global pandemic.

With support from the World Bank and other development partners, the government has activated the Public Health Emergency Operations Center and developed a national COVID-19 preparedness plan, which focuses primarily on strengthening surveillance at the three official points of entry, improving case management, and conducting effective campaigns at the national, subnational and community levels.

The project will support the prevention, detection and response to the threat posed by the virus, and will finance the provision of medical supplies, laboratory diagnostic equipment, including test kits in the designated health facilities. In addition, it will provide for optimal medical care and treatment at isolation units, as well as train health facilities staff and front-line workers on risk mitigation measures.

“This project will support the government of Sierra Leone in strengthening the health systems and preparedness in response to the global pandemic of COVID-19,” said Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone.

“Building on the experience of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the World Bank is committed to use all its operational and policy instruments and to work with all partners in helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country,” she said.

The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.

The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

The IFC is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. IBRD and IDA are making an initial US$6 billion available for the health-response.  As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

In another significant development, Sierra Leone also will receive a $30 million grant from a new World Bank project benefiting seven West African countries to help harmonize and strengthen statistical systems in the respective countries.

The overall objective of the project (Harmonizing and Improving Statistics in West Africa) is to strengthen the statistical systems of participating countries and regional bodies in Africa to produce, disseminate and enhance the use of core economic and social statistics.

For Sierra Leone, data production activities planned include a mid-term census, agricultural surveys, enterprise surveys and the next round of the integrated household survey. The project will also support existing data production activities, such as the consumer price index and national accounts.

All of these data collection activities will be done to new regional standards, developed and agreed on by the beneficiary countries, ECOWAS and the AU in consultation with international experts from the World Bank, the IMF, the FAO and others. For Sierra Leone, the project will also support a comprehensive rehabilitation and expansion of the Stats SL office.

“This grant has come at the right time as it will enable the country and Stats SL to routinely implement key national surveys and censuses which will generate the requisite data to measure progress of the indicators in our national goals set in the Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2023, as well as those for global goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Prof. Osman Sankoh, Statistician General of Sierra Leone.

“Additionally, with the extensive refurbishment and expansion of our headquarters in Freetown and all our regional and district offices, our staff will have a conducive environment to work in. This will boost up productivity,” Sankoh said.

Good data are essential to address the socio-economic development challenges facing the West Africa region in general, and the seven beneficiary countries in particular. Regular population censuses, household surveys, data of critical social concerns and key economic statistics such as agricultural and enterprise censuses and surveys are key to inform the decision-making process, enable efficient allocation of resources, and assess the effects of development policies and interventions.

Institutional weaknesses and inconsistent financing limit the quality of statistics, leading to poor knowledge management and difficulties in addressing emerging challenges in various development sectors.

“Good statistics can inform and improve the transparency and accountability of policy-making, both of which are essential for good governance,” said Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone.

“The World Bank is committed to improving the statistical capacity of Sierra Leone and this project will provide the critical funding needed by Stats SL to undertake the necessary reforms, which will enable it produce quality and credible data that will contribute to the attainment of the national development goals of the Government,” she said.

The project, in total sum of $379 million, was approved by the Board of the World Bank Group on March 26, 2020 and comprises of grants and credits. Beneficiary countries include Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo.


  1. To be free from coronavirus is not only about washing hands. 90% of Sierra Leoneans living in poor conditions with no good water,no toliet,no eletricity, etc. So it is very easy for those peoples to contract virus and other types of diseases. 59 years of indenpendence, where is the improvement in the country?

  2. Alhaji Samura, I am a Muslim. Islam stands for the truth, which means that even if it goes against a family member you must say it .Please tell the rest of us in excellent conscience how the Bio government allowed the corona virus to enter the country. Are you trying to tell us that nobody in the Bio government has any human feelings?

    Was it Earnest Koroma administration that gave the green light for Ebola to enter our country? Was it the same administration that brought about the mudslide? The allusion of your piece is that all the funds coming to help the country will disappear into the pockets of Bio and his gang – the fate that met “kasankay” (Ebola) funds under Earnest Koroma. If I am correct your concern is in place, otherwise you are trying to politicize the issue rather cheaply.

    I hate both SLPP and APC; they are both the same; they cannot be trusted any further than they can be seen. That’s why I am a strong advocate for Dr Yomkella to be given a chance at the presidency. We are almost sixty years old in terms of independence and we are behaving like a six year old. We must grow up. The world doesn’t owe us a living. We must develop some national pride. APC and SLPP do not know what national pride means.

    When next you are offering salla Alhaji Samura, please ask Allah to spare our country the horrors of the corona virus outbreak and to give our country a good, patriotic leader during your sujud. According to expert Islamic opinion this is the position to be in while asking Allah for any favours.

    • I believe Mr. Samura is trying to tell you that he thinks we’re being hoodwinked, and being told one of the greatest fantastical stories man has ever told. I believe Mr. Samura is also trying to tell you that he thinks things like this: have been happening since the inception of this uproar in its China days.

      I believe Mr. Samura is also concerned that the government of Sierra Leone could ultimately employ similar fear mongering tactics to facilitate whatever it is that they already have in mind, which could potentially generate more stress for the already vulnerable people in the country – and We all know the ramifications behind stressful instances. They’re never a good look. I could be wrong though, for Mr. Sumara could be talking about anything other than what I just stated. Isn’t that right Mr. Samura?

  3. This is why they allow the coronavirus to enter our country, just for this money to land in their hands.

  4. Few days back, the learned, Dr Kandeh Yumkella went to his constituency to mobilise his constituents about the dangers of Coronavirus and what they must do to protect themselves and their environment from the deadly virus. Only a very few people including me, went further in explaining what we felt about Dr. Kandeh Yumkella’s initiative to the world. We made an appeal which was directed to the IMF, The World Bank and the WHO.

    Well, ladies and gentlemen, they have started answering to our appeal. Can you imagine that happening, even hours before the wise and learned Dr. Kandeh Yumkella’s Coronavirus mobilising tour and the ever consistent moves by some excellent and no nonsense forumites, when it comes to saying the facts on this glorious platform? Let me don’t forget the Editor of this well read and globally respected Newspaper Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas, for not only bringing the news to us, but his neutrality in dealing with the issues.

    I was made to understand the other day that by a very reliable source that, “organizations like the IMF, the World Bank and the WHO” etc, are now consulting this glorious platform for facts. That does not surprise me when people say that to me. I can feel it. YEAH. Although, the said Grant is extended to many countries like Sierra Leone, the Bio Administration must not sit down and fold their hands.

    The money has been pledged and has not yet been dished out. So, continue to work very hard with your own governments’ resources. The good thing this time is, the aid is a grant, which is welcome. Sierra Leone does not have to pay it back. Kudos to the IMF. I’ll befriend them only for this grant and hope they continue given grants to Sierra Leone from now on. God bless Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella and the IMF.

  5. Another moment when weak Sierra Leone is being propped up. When will we stand on our own? We have all types of resources and yet cannot avoid the charitable gestures of the outside world. Singapore,a small country, which gained independence in the same decade as we did is now a developed nation. The most amazing and impressive element of it is that the country has no natural as we do. The greatest resource they had was a visionary leader – Lee Kuan Yu , who did not only detested corruption but severely punished those who engaged in it.

    Almost $8 million has come in to help us with the corona virus. Where will it end up? “Kasankay” (Ebola) and mudslide funds ended up in the pockets of Earnest Koroma and his gang of “ayampies”. What should give us hope that the same fate would not befall corona money under a different administration? Let us don’t forget “chinagate”, the missing billions from various government entities and the mystery of the $1.5 million associated with the Chief (thief) Minister.

    May Devine Justice be targeted at anybody who who embezzles a single cent of the corona virus money. May the Almighty spare our dear country the brunt of this deadly virus. We have shed too many tears in the last few years.

  6. These funds could not have come at a better time. Unlike in the Ebola days when competing swindlers of the Red Brigade devoured every penny of donor fund while heroic Sierra Leoneans died in large numbers, the political will and leadership inspiration of today will ensure that Sierra Leoneans will not perish while greedy politicians looted donor funds.

    Indeed, the hallmark of the gloomy Ebola days was a callous and cold head of state defying the glare of cameras as he received donor funds and shamelessly pocketed some. Today, the war against the coronavirus pandemic is led by a Brigadier-General, who has been on the offensive for quite some time now. He has declared a state of emergency and announced a 3-day lock-down to ensure that the virus is contained. That is how exhilarating leadership manifests itself.

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