The World Bank through the International Development Association has approved a grant of USD 400 million to Sierra Leone. The credit outreach program which was held in Freetown on the 6th of December falls under IDA’s Strengthening Global and Local Partnership for Sustainable Development Financing project, which caters to 74 lower-income countries.
The IDA is the world’s largest anti-poverty fund. Sierra Leone is benefitting from USD 93 billion which was raised by the organization to help its partners in advancing human capital development, economic diversification, job creation, governance, and other development activities.
They also engage governments and private sectors in sustainable debt financing, and how to maintain a sustainable debt outlook in the wake of global economic challenges.
The selection criteria included factors of performance such as economic reforms and governments investing for the benefit of its people with vulnerability.
IDA’s Director of Policy, Derrick Reinman said he is very impressed with the reforms he has seen in Sierra Leone. He added that the country has implemented three of its Performance and Policy Actions in improving management and fiscal transparency.
“The budgeted amount is based on the country’s performance and its needs”, said Mr. Reinman. He also reaffirmed that all their programs in Sierra Leone are based on grant financing – no interest rates and no repayment.
This amount is the base financing and will be disbursed within a period of three years. There will also be additional funding through IDA’s Private Sector Window projects if the country decides to take up projects in other sectors, with other countries, regionally.
The Financial Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Sahr Jusu said the Sustainable Debt Financing Policy was approved last year, and they feel proud to be the second country it is implemented. Mr. Jusu said that the grant will be spent in different areas, including the flagship program – education, – health, and other sectors.
He said they will work together as partners in development to see how best they address issues relating to debt sustainability.