James Samba: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 June 2019:
Sierra Leone’s newly appointed minister of planning and economic development – Dr. Francis Kai-Kai, has vowed to go all out to ensure that, under his leadership, national planning and economic development processes follow a ‘people-centred’ approach.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, he said that the principle of ‘Leaving no One Behind’ will stand front and centre in the Government‘s drive to bring the fruits of development to every child, woman, and man nationwide.
Minister Kai-Kai thanked his predecessor – Nabeela Tunis, now minister of foreign affairs, staff at the ministry and other relevant stakeholders for accomplishing the Government’s current vision for national transformation and development, articulated in the country’s recently launched Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP: 2019-2023) entitled “Education for Development.”
The MTNDP is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030, The African Union Agenda 2063, and the New Deal for Peace-building and State Building Goals, with national objectives and targets to ensure coherence in the delivery of both national and international commitments.
Dr. Kai-Kai noted that with his hands on experience, he will seek to encourage the participation of every local community in all development projects that are sponsored by the Government and development partners, as an important strategy of the ‘basic needs approach’ to the development process.
The Minister noted that the country is already on the right trajectory in promoting Education for Development with the President taking the lead.
As the ministry responsible for planning and economic development, Dr. Kai-Kai intends to coordinate and collaborate with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) to ensure the delivery of the MTNDP in all districts, working with local authorities, including elected local council authorities, paramount chiefs and NGO’s
The Minister noted that the role of the private sector in Sierra Leone’s economic development process is clear to the SLPP Government.
He said: “Creating the local infrastructure for generating local economies, creating jobs for a growing youthful population, and skills development for a modernising world, are some of the areas our partnership with private investors will focus on.”
He explained that, the role and participation of young people will continue to be critical in the development process of Sierra Leone.
“It is crucial for us to empower and strengthen the capacity of young people, as key actors in promoting the National Development Agenda,” he concluded.
Dr. Kai-Kai thanked the development partners (international and national) who have been in the country for the longest of time.
He said: “I remember the key role they played in Sierra Leone’s post-conflict recovery and the commitments they have made over the last 20 years. The fact that our development narrative has not changed significantly since we ended the war and (re)built post-war governance, means we have to work together now to take stock and re-launch our joint efforts in a New Direction”.
He said that the focus will be on getting closer to the people – at decentralised levels, to own the plans done on their behalf, participate in the implementation of the projects and programmes, as well as in monitoring and evaluation.
Until his recent appointments, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai among many other national assignments before going to work for the United Nations, served as Director in the Ministry/Commission of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (now NaCSA); Executive Secretary and Head of DRR program; and first Director of the Development Assistant Coordination Office (DACO) then located in the Office of the Vice President.