ABIDJAN, 16 JANUARY 2003 - The African Development Fund (ADF) and the government of Sierra Leone have signed agreements for a loan of 15 million Units of Account (UA)* and a UA 1 million Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) grant to finance the rehabilitation of the country's basic, non-formal and vocational education.
The agreements covering a total of 21.75 million US dollars were signed on Thursday in Abidjan by Sierra Leone's Deputy Minister of Finance, Foday Mansaray and the African Development's Bank Vice President in charge of West and Central Operaions, Mr. Bisi Ogunjobi.
The project, which forms part of the government's National Education Master Plan covering the periods 1997-2006 would involve implementation of an emergency response in the provision of basic education, vocational skills training and functional literacy needs. It will also help strengthen national capacity for efficient delivery mechanisms through the rehabilitation, reconstruction or expansion of 460 primary, 100 junior secondary schools, 40 community education centres and vocational training centres as well as the construction of 138 housing units for teachers in needy areas of the country. The project will also contribute to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MEST).
It is expected to make an important impact on poverty reduction in Sierra Leone. Indeed, several impoverished parts of Sierra Leone will benefit from school construction or rehabilitation in their communities and a number of 600 schools will benefit directly from the school maintenance programme countrywide. It will also promote national reconciliation by restoring normalcy to school life for the children and youth of Sierra Leone whose lives have been severely disrupted and uprooted by warfare.
The International Development Association (IDA) and the Department for International Development. Of the United Kingdom are co-financiers of the project The ADF loan will finance 14.42% of the foreign currency and 28.51% local currency costs of the project whose total cost is estimated at UA 34.94 million, the equivalent to US $ 47.50 million. The TAF grant will finance part of the technical assistance needs of the project.
ADB Group operations in Sierra Leone started in 1967. To date, the Group has committed a total of US$ 279.25 million on 34 operations. Of this amount, about US$ 170.61 million have been disbursed. The Education III Project is in line with the ADB Group overarching objective of poverty reduction and its education sector Policy.
*1UA = US $ 1.35952 as at 1/01/03
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