Sierra Leone

The World Bank approves country assistance strategy for Sierra Leone

Press Release No:2005/521/AFR

Freetown, June 16 2005 -- The Board of Directors of the World Bank has deliberated and approved the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Sierra Leone.

In the next four years (2006-2009), this document, which was put together following several rounds of consultation with various segments of the Sierra Leone society and within the Bank, will define how the World Bank Group supports the development priorities of Sierra Leone.

The Board commended the strategic focus of the Sierra Leone CAS for addressing issues of fragility and sustainability in the transition from a post-conflict environment to a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper-based development framework.

The Bank Group is pleased to announce that its selective country assistance package for Sierra Leone has made provisions to address the key concerns proposed to the Bank during the CAS consultations. This strategy maintains full alignment with the three pillars of the Sierra Leone Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) - governance, growth and human development - and it builds on existing programs in economic reform, decentralization, infrastructure development, and the social sectors.

Economic reform will be underpinned by annual development policy operations. Support for decentralization will go beyond institutional reform and capacity building to include transfer of resources to support innovative approaches to decentralized governance, including the use of the rapid results initiative to boost and empower local councils. It will include public finance management tools at both central and decentralized levels.

To sustain high economic growth, reduce poverty levels, generate jobs and improve food security, the Bank's program foresees support to private sector development, infrastructure, agriculture and mining. An integrated rural and private sector development initiative will target agriculture and seek to mitigate youth unemployment.

The Bank will boost infrastructure by support to power and water, the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project, and a major transport operation. The development of roads will be a critical element in the high-priority food security strategy.

A mining sector technical assistance project will ensure that poor people benefit from this critical growth sector. Building upon the rehabilitation programs for health and education, and the social fund, future interventions will focus on sectoral strategy, efficiency, quality and access, including by vulnerable people, through a social protection scheme. All programs will be supported by analytic and advisory activities.

In ensuring impact and progress towards attaining the country's poverty reduction and millennium development goals, the CAS document bears results matrices that envisage clear outcomes, indicators and measures for all the proposed areas of support. But the Bank expects that extraordinary efforts by the Government of Sierra Leone and all its development partners will be necessary to secure progress, accelerate action that leads to results and ultimately empower the people, the communities and the nation of Sierra Leone.

Media Contact:

In Washington:

Aby Toure (202) 473 8302

In Freetown:

Mohamed Sidie Sheriff (232-22) 22 55 05