The UN Capital Development Fund and the UN Development Programme launched an initiative to reduce poverty in Sierra Leone through the ‘Kenema District Economic Recovery Programme’ (KDERP).
Working as a partner with the Government of Sierra Leone, the UN organizations are seeking to foster local economic development in the country, beginning with a pilot project in Kenema district.
The organizations will develop the capacity of both the district and town councils to collect local revenue and provide services and infrastructure.
KDERP was officially launched in Kenema town on 11 July 2007. It was attended by the then minister for Development and Economic Planning, Ibrahim Sesay, the then minister for Local Government and Community Development, Sidique Brima, the Kenema City Council Chairman, Patrick Samu, City Mayor Eveans Brima Gbema UN officials and over 80 local stakeholders: both council members and senior officials as well as a wide range of local stakeholders from community organizations.
UNCDF’s Senior Technical Advisor, Ronald McGill, underlined the implications of the success of the project for Sierra Leone. “Within the local development structure, KDERP seeks to enhance the prospects for local economic development,” he said. “The UN has created it as a pilot programme and based on its success, we will support its roll-out and up-scaling nationwide so that the entire country can reap the benefits of economic recovery.”
The programme has three components: Component 1 is about economic recovery, the role of women and young people in that process and the need to provide interventions to support increased agricultural productivity and the marketing of its produce. A feature of this component is to harness the Inclusive Finance initiative, already in place through a separate UNCDF initiative in the country. Component 2 is about local government planning, budgeting, implementation and review process, to generate infrastructure and services to support socio-economic development. An underlying theme is that of a ‘bottom-up’ and output-based approach to the public expenditure management cycle. Component 3 concerns up scaling and replicating the pilot nationwide. This will involve influencing national policy on aspects of local development, within a decentralization framework. The Minister for Development and Economic Planning stressed that he hoped to see discernible results within two years to justify the widening of the programme to other locations and the attraction of other donor partners.” The launch concluded with a series of technical steps with target dates in September. “We now have initial enthusiasm, said McGill. “This must be nurtured and sustained.