The World Bank Executive Director for 22 African Countries, including Sierra Leone, Dr Floribert Ngaruko, in a courtesy visit to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Retired, Brigadier, Dr Julius Maada Bio, on Tuesday 21st February 2023, congratulated the President for his development and reform agenda in various sections like Education, Mines, Lands, Gender ETC.
He applauds the effort of the Bio lead government for the significant increase in the country’s portfolio to about 1.2 billion dollars and having the best disbursement rate in the sub-region of 22% among the 22 countries in West band Central Africa.
Dr Floribert Ngaruko encouraged the government to continue implementing progressive reforms and improve its disbursement rate to attract additional concessional resources.
In his response, HE President Julius Maada Bio congratulated the Executive Director on his appointment as ED for Sierra Leone and 21 other countries. He also stated that he is happy to know that the reforms undertaken by his government, are acknowledged by development partners.
He informed his guest of the challenging economic situation around the world and Sierra Leone and what his government is doing to mitigate the impact on ordinary citizens.
Earlier, the ED met with ministers directly implementing World Bank projects from Basic and Higher Education, Agriculture, Mines, Tourism, Energy, Trade, Transport and Aviation, and Youth and Social Welfare Ministers to listen to their experiences and discuss achievements and challenges in the portfolio.
Updating the ministers about the portfolio, he stated that the country has 381 million undisbursed funds already approved by the Board of the bank, of which 80 million are due to be disbursed this year.
Dr Floribert Ngaruko appealed to the government to improve its CPIA ratings, stating that the IDA21 allocation will depend on the progress of the implementation of the current portfolio.
He commended the Financial Secretary Sahr Lahai Jusu for his role in replenishing IDA20 and emphasised the need to accelerate the already approved disbursement as soon as possible rather than asking for additional funds.
Minister of Finance, Sheku Fantamadi Bangura, said the government is working on a consolidating and strategic country intervention with the World Bank. He noted that Human Capital Development is the flagship programme of government, which encompasses every aspect, including Agriculture, Education, Tourism etc.
He further stated that the government is deepening the intervention in agriculture without depriving any areas of development, adding that with agriculture, the government can integrate and consolidate the existing projects.
Minister Bangura assured the ED of improvement on the portfolio and reiterated the government’s commitment to delivering in areas of Human Capital Development. He thanked the World Bank for their support and all other additional resources.
The different Ministers presented brief updates on their respective projects.
The Financial Secretary, Sahr Lahai Jusu, who doubles as the chairman of the Programme, gave the general outlook of the economic outlined and identified Agriculture as an area of intervention for other development.