By Our Correspondent – 20 August 2019
“Sierra Leone has come a very long way; life expectancy has increased greatly and by the time the next Human Development Index is undertaken, there will be very strong outcomes by what I have seen in education. I have had the honour to work with a very strong team here that reflects gender balance. I believe in within a very few years to come we will see a truly transformed country.”
These were the words of the outgoing Resident Representative for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dr. Iyabo Masha, who on Monday 19 August, 2019 called at State House to bid farewell to His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio as a symbolic gesture to end her tenure in Sierra Leone.
Presenting the outgoing IMF Chief to President Bio, Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, recalled that Madam Masha started operations in the country at a very critical time when there were challenges with the Ebola virus, the drastic collapse in the price of the iron ore and at a time when investors were running out of the country.
He said during those years the IMF boss was in the middle of efforts to advise the Government to bring back investors’ confidence. He said that with her support, Sierra Leone was able to re-launch the extended credit facility programme with the IMF, adding that apart from the amount that was approved, the re-launch of the programme was a door-opener for several other donor assistance and the beginning of a relationship with the World Bank.
In her presentation, Dr. Iyabo Masha said she was fortunate to work with two Governments in Sierra Leone and during those periods they ensured that they were reminded of some of the things the Government made policy to implement.
She added that during those periods she had come to appreciate some of the challenges countries in Africa face and how small changes in policy direction could make the difference. She also commended the President for providing his staff with the opportunity to be able to show that indeed good policies could make the difference.
“I appreciate the fact that even though there has been a change in political leadership, your Government has decided to retain most of the counterparts who have been doing a great job and that is one of the reasons we have been able to get results. There are some challenges but the policy package here is very good and all we have to do is to ensure that we are reminded of some of the things the Government made policy to implement,” she noted.
In his brief response, President Bio said Sierra Leone would always remember the contributions of Madam Masha in stabilizing and helping the growth of the country. He said she had been keenly interested in the destination Sierra Leone is moving and commended her for the good work in the country.