Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 February 2019:
Yesterday, Wednesday 26 February 2019, president Bio’s government received a shot in the arm when the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, held talks with the president at State House.
The senior World Bank official in Africa – Mr Henry Godfrey Rupiny Kerali, assured president Julius Maada Bio of the Bank’s support for the Bio led New Direction government.
Mr Kerali (Photo) said the purpose of his visit is to follow up on the discussions between President Bio and the World Bank, regarding the Western Area Power Project that the Bank had cancelled before the elections. He spoke about the Bank’s intention to support the country’s energy sector.
Speaking about the Country Partnership Framework, he said the Bank’s strategy for Sierra Leone is to ensure its agenda aligns with the new Sierra Leone National Development Plan which will soon be launched.
He confirmed that the Bank will increase its support to the country, both in the form of soft loans and grants.
“His Excellency Sir, we will talk about the Human Capital Development which we know is very close to your heart, the free quality education programme that you have introduced and also the healthcare projects. We believe we can support the government with the rural roads and bridges project; and we can proceed with some discussions on the business environment and how we can support that as well,” he said.
Minister of Finance – Jacob Jusu Saffa, who chaired the meeting, said he is very encouraged by the interaction between the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance. He said that the Bank is an important economic development partner to the government of Sierra Leone.
President Bio said he is happy to receive the World Bank team once again in Sierra Leone. He said that all the areas highlighted by the World Bank are of importance to his government.
The president expressed regret over the suspension of the country’s energy project under the Koroma led administration, but maintained that his SLPP government will look at the Country Partnership Framework to see how the project can be revived.
He assured the World Bank that his government will continue to encourage partners to support his Human Capital Development Programme, as the main foundation to achieving Sustainable Development Goals and providing the opportunity for the country to recover economically.
“We are excited to hear more about the rural roads and bridges project and definitely the business climate is something we have to work on. As a government, we want to make sure we create the right type of climate to attract the right investors.
“We are very excited about our partnership and we want to do everything possible to broaden our areas of cooperation and strengthen this relationship, so that we can actually deliver the progress which we promised this nation,” promised Bio told the World Bank officials.
Sierra Leone now more than ever, needs every support it can get from both the IMF and the World Bank. This will not only inject life into the country’s economic recovery after ten wasteful years of retrogression and decay, but inspire and win the confidence of credible investors to develop the country’s fishery, agro-processing, farming and tourism sectors that will create wealth and jobs for the millions of unemployed youths.
President Bio is laying down strong institutional and economic foundation for the future, through disciplined fiscal and budgetary management. But there is a sense of urgency to quickly reduce the rising costs of basic food items and increase the amount of cash that goes into people’s pockets.