Minister of Finance, Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura on September 21, 2023, addressed the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, urging the international community and development partners to join forces and explore innovative solutions to address the mounting debt challenges faced by low-income countries.
Minister Bangura emphasized that the burden of debt servicing is increasingly squeezing the already limited fiscal space of these nations, hindering their ability to respond effectively to the needs of vulnerable populations and implement essential pro-poor programs such as safety nets.
During his presentation, Minister Bangura highlighted Sierra Leone’s reliance on borrowing to address various crises and emergencies, including the Ebola outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic, and global economic downturns. He called for urgent discussions on debt service relief, suspension initiatives, and the development of innovative financing mechanisms in collaboration with development partners, aimed at supporting viable projects in low-income countries.
In addition to advocating for external support, Minister Bangura committed to implementing prudent debt management strategies, with a focus on securing more concessional financing and enhancing domestic revenue mobilization efforts within Sierra Leone.
The finance minister is a key member of Sierra Leone’s delegation to the United States, accompanying President Dr. Julius Maada Bio to this year’s UNGA sessions and participating in bilateral meetings with organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and other crucial development partners.
Minister Bangura’s address at the UNGA underscores the pressing need for collaborative efforts to alleviate the financial burdens faced by low-income countries, allowing them to channel resources towards poverty reduction and sustainable development initiatives. The global community now awaits further actions and initiatives to support these vital goals.