The Vice President of the African Development Bank (ADB) Group, Mme Zeinab El Bakari, has commended the government of Sierra Leone for maintaining a positive record with the bank group in respect of loan reimbursements and capital subscriptions.
“We commend the government for its performance and look forward to our continued partnership in Sierra Leone’s reconstruction and development strides”, she said.
Mme Bakari noted that in all, “we wish to see concrete developmental impacts on the ground through: improved dialogue between the bank group and government as well as other development partners; reduction in the number of implementation problems; improvements in the level of disbursements; better understanding by implementing agencies of the bank loans administration and speedy ‘NO OBJECTIONS’”.
Addressing key ministers of government, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), journalists and civil society representatives on the inauguration of ADB Sierra Leone country office at the Miatta conference hall Zeinab El Bakari stated that, “the opening of the Sierra Leone country office constitutes without doubt an important step in the relations between the bank group and Sierra Leone.”
Continuing she noted that, “It portrays the determination of the bank to become more effective, to bring itself closer to its regional member countries and reinforces co-ordination with development partners on the ground she declared”.
She added that the bank “is fully aware of the tremendous challenges a post–conflict country like Sierra Leone is facing, especially in the areas of basic infrastructure and capacity building. Yet the bank’s allocation for Sierra Leone is mere drop in the ocean”.
The vice president revealed that the bank group started operations in Sierra Leone in 1973. “As of today, the bank has approved 46 operations for a total commitment of UA 267.36 million (US$ 374.30 million) financing 23 project loans and grants, 10 institutional support projects, 6 studies, 3 lines of credit and 4 policy based loans. Out of these operations 30 have been completed”.
Delivering her speech the bank’s resident representative in Sierra Leone, Mrs Margaret Kilo, pointed out that the opening of the bank’s office in the country was part of an enhanced decentralization programme being implemented by President Kaberuka to bring Africa’s premier development institution closer to its stakeholders and boost the effectiveness of the bank’s programmes in its regional member countries.
The minister of finance and governor of the ADB group, John Benjamin, said “we are happy that ADB is au fait with the need of our country”. He added that the bank group’s 2005-2009 country strategy for the country was fully aligned with and drew extensively from the country’s PRSP.
Mr Benjamin added that, “the current programme is entirely financed through grants, including a significant balance of payment support or budget support operation that has focused on deepening Sierra Leone macroeconomic”.
On the agriculture sector project the minister noted that the project aimed at restoring and improving agricultural capacity and household security.
The minister also thanked the ADB for giving its relentless support to the country, especially on the areas of health, education, agriculture, eradication of poverty and boosting the economic of the country.
In his statement the deputy minister of the ministry of development and economic planning (MoDEP), Ibrahim Sesay, on behalf of his ministry thanked and welcomed the vice president to Sierra Leone.
He noted that, “the inauguration of ADB is not only symbolic but has a lot of meaning to the people of Sierra Leone.”
He added that, “the bank offers the opportunity to scaling up the intervention of the bank in this post conflict country.”