A delegation from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) which is currently undertaking an assessment and oversight mission for IsDB projects in Sierra Leone paid a visit of courtesy to the Ministry of Finance on Monday, August 7th, 2023.
During the meeting, Omar Davis, the Country Operations Manager of the Islamic Development Bank, extended congratulations and affirmed the bank’s commitment to supporting Sierra Leone’s development endeavors, with a particular focus on the agriculture sector.
He conveyed the bank’s willingness to engage in further discussions regarding the Cassava Value Chain projects, which were requested by the Government. Davis highlighted that the delegation’s primary objective was to delve into various Government priorities spanning sectors like Health, Water, and Sanitation, which collectively account for 30% of the bank’s portfolio within the country.
The discussions also revolved around an in-depth review of ongoing projects, specifically the $145 million portfolio, with 70% allocated to Agriculture and the remaining 30% distributed across Health and Water and Sanitation. Future project planning for 2024/2025 was also a central topic of conversation.
Minister of Finance, Sheku Fantamadi Bangura, expressed gratitude for the continuous support offered by the Islamic Development Bank to the Government of Sierra Leone. He emphasized the significance of agriculture within the Government’s initiatives and highlighted the integral connection between human capital development, education, health, and the growth of the agricultural sector. Minister Bangura voiced satisfaction at the bank’s expanding involvement in agriculture and affirmed the Government’s dedication to enhancing project implementation within this realm.
Minister Bangura underscored the need for an enhanced architectural framework for agricultural delivery. He outlined the Government’s aspiration to devise a comprehensive blueprint for agriculture that acknowledges the interventions made and aligns with the nation’s desired outcomes. Effective coordination, according to him, is pivotal in achieving food self-sufficiency for the people of Sierra Leone.
The Minister emphasized the role of the Government in mitigating sector risks by investing in crucial infrastructure such as irrigation, warehousing, roads, and electricity. He stressed the importance of strategic partnerships and innovative structures to ensure sustainable investment and engagement with business entities.
The courtesy visit was a precursor to a comprehensive project portfolio review aimed at identifying implementation challenges across technical, procurement, financial, and logistical aspects. The mission’s agenda also includes on-site inspections of IsDB projects in various provinces of Sierra Leone before their departure.