World Bank reviews delivery of its $40 Million Accountable Governance Project in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 June 2024:

The World Bank on Monday, June 3rd, commenced a two-week mid-term review of its funded Accountable Governance for Basic Service Delivery Project (AGBSDP) in Sierra Leone.

According to a World Bank statement, this two-week evaluation is engaging approximately ten government ministries, departments, and agencies, as well as the fifteen Local District Councils, all of which are integral to the project’s implementation.

The AGBSDP is a US$ 40 million investment grant from the World Bank to the Government of Sierra Leone, with a projected implementation span of 5 to 6 years.

The project encompasses four main objectives that seek to: (i) strengthen institutional systems and capacity within local councils to improve accountability and resource management; (ii) enhance intergovernmental fiscal transfers and policies for fiscal decentralization, aiding local councils in development planning; (iii) improve government monitoring and evaluation of resource utilization for key local services, particularly in health and education; and (iv) ensure activities supported under the project are well coordinated to achieve intended development objectives.

The Review Mission – which is spearheaded by a World Bank team with Lida Bteddini, the project’s Task Team Leader as head of the mission – follows about three years of project effectiveness since January 2022.

According to Mrs. Bteddini, the Mission is aimed at assessing the strengths and limitations of project implementation, evaluating progress achieved to date, and formulating recommendations to refine implementation across all project components.
(Photo: World Bank Mid-Term Review Mission).

During a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Finance, the Financial Secretary, Matthew Dingie, on behalf of the Deputy Minister 1, who is Chairperson of the Project Steering Committee, welcomed the review team and pledged his ministry’s support to actualizing recommendations that will come out of the review discussions.

These recommendations are intended to keep the project on course to meet its objectives. Mr. Dingie encouraged project leads to identify actionable recommendations that would enhance the delivery of planned activities within the remaining two years of the project’s lifespan.

Significant developments recorded under the project include the January 2023 disbursement of over $1.6 million to 15 Local District Councils for the implementation of 29 subprojects nationwide, focusing on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of community health centers, schools, markets, and community/town halls.

A recent beneficiary satisfaction survey, conducted as part of the ongoing Mid-Term Review, indicated that nearly 90 percent of respondents were satisfied with the quality improvements in their community facilities due to these investments (with around 37 percent in strong agreement and around 55 percent in agreement).

Other notable activities implemented by the project include capacity building for local council staff in financial management, the preparation and roll-out of revenue mobilization strategies for five local councils that aims to enhance performance in mobilizing own-source revenue to complement central government transfers for both devolved functions and admin grants, and the operationalization of District Development Coordination Committees (DDCCs) to facilitate development transparency and accountability, and minimize fragmented development, service delivery overlaps and waste of scarce resources.

The two-week review mission also includes meetings with key implementing entities such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning, Audit Service Sierra Leone, the National Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate, the National Public Procurement Authority, the Local Government Service Commission, the Ministry of Local Government, and the Public Account Committee of Parliament.

A Mid-Term Review Workshop was scheduled for Monday, June 10 convening all key stakeholders to discuss the project’s overall implementation status and identify actionable recommendations on how to improve progress over the remaining years of the project.

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