World Bank commits US$325 million to increase support to Sierra Leone

Washington, DC� The World Bank Group Interim President, Kristalina Georgieva, has disclosed to His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio that they have committed US$325 million to increase financial support to Sierra Leone.

In that meeting, in Washington on Monday 11 March 2019, Madam Georgieva commended President Bio for his bold economic reforms and added that she recognised the President's aspiration for the dignity of a nation and their standing in the world. She said: President Bio's agenda will guarantee his legacy and place in history.

Also commending President Bio, the World Bank Vice President for Africa Region, Hafez Ghanem, said that: We are impressed with your performance just 10 months in office. So, we are ready to support your government.

The meeting also discussed a range of issues from an increase in World Bank's support to Sierra Leone under IDA-18 (US$ 325m) to the progress on the new Extended Credit Facility (US$ 172m) under the programme with the International Monetary Fund to fiscal consolidation efforts by the Government of Sierra Leone.

The Bank also expressed plans to help the country's debt restructuring and arrears clearance of about US$ 1.4 billion and discussed the prospects for financing the gap of US$1.5 billion of the country's US$8.15 billion Medium-term National Development Plan (2019�2023).

President Bio expressed appreciation to the World Bank for the support to his new government and Sierra Leone. He stated that the new development paradigm in his country had ensured strategic shifts toward Human Capital Development for national development; Science, Technology and Innovation and the greater Private Sector Participation to address the country's vast infrastructure needs and support its growth prospects. He also spoke about his determination to fight corruption.

The meeting concluded with agreements on the following: a World Bank's support to the energy sector through additional financing for electricity generation, distribution and transmission; a proposed roundtable discussion on Energy in April 2019 during the World Bank/IMF Spring meetings; commitment to rural electrification and solar energy; support to women and girls through women's empowerment, addressing high maternal mortality, addressing girls education and incentives to keep girls in school and support to reproductive health services; support to the private sector growth; increased access to internet; increased budgetary assistance and the additional support for social safety nets for vulnerable groups, women, and youth, including people living with disabilities.

The increased financial support to the New Direction government coincided with President Bio's first year anniversary in office, a demonstration of economic credibility that he had restored to Sierra Leone.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman, Yusuf Keketoma Sandi, said it could be recalled that the new government inherited a country where, in 2017, the International Monetary Fund suspended its Extended Credit Facility because of economic mismanagement.

President Bio has also shown sterling leadership by investing in Human Capital Development and has earned the confidence of donors and the international community. The World Bank has also recognised Sierra Leone as an 'Early Adopter' of the Global Human Capital Development Project because of the government's commitment to human capital development, he said.

Other senior management officials from the World Bank who attended the meeting with President Julius Maada Bio were Hafez Ghanem, Vice President for Africa Region, Annette Dixon, Vice President for Human Development, Henry Kerali, Country Director for Sierra Leone, and Gayle Martin, Country Manager for Sierra Leone. High-ranking officials from the Government of Sierra Leone included Professor David Francis, Chief Minister, Ambassador Sidique Abou-Bakarr Wai, Sierra Leone Ambassador to the US, Patricia Laverley, Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Moinina David Sengeh, Director, Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation, and Sahr Jusu, Financial Secretary.

The Technical teams on both sides will work together to develop a more robust pipeline of transformative projects to deliver in Sierra Leone.

Source: The Republic of Sierra Leone State House

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