News Release No: 2000/161/AFR
WASHINGTON, December 22, 1999 - The World Bank has approved a US$25 million credit for the Community Reintegration and Rehabilitation Project in Sierra Leone. The Bank considers this project a key contribution to assist Sierra Leone in its transition from war to peace, and an effort that complements related support by the United Nations and other principal bilateral and multilateral partners.
The project will support the government of Sierra Leone's strategy to help reintegrate approximately 45,000 ex-combatants and to help rebuild the social and economic infrastructure that has been destroyed by more than eight years of civil conflict. The project will contribute to increased security, social stability and economic revival through:
- the Emergency Recovery Support Fund - which will facilitate social and economic recovery and the restoration of basic services through community-based projects that target individuals, groups and the communities affected by the conflict.
- the Training and Employment Program -which will support the economic reintegration of former combatants through targeted counseling, training and employment creation efforts. It will also include civic education, psychological counseling and community sensitization activities.
In addition, the project will provide essential operational support to the government institutions responsible for the implementation of the project.
Since 1991, more than 25,000 lives have been lost, 500,000 people have fled the country, and 1.5 million have been internally displaced as a direct result of civil war. The project will provide assistance to these groups in the war-affected regions of the country, and will specifically target vulnerable groups such as female-headed households, unemployed youth and children, and ex-combatants and their dependents.
The African Development Bank has committed an additional US$12.2 million to co-finance the Community Reintegration and Rehabilitation Project, and it is expected that the Government, NGOs, and the communities that benefit from the project will also contribute additional resources towards its implementation.
On July 7, 1999, the Lomé Peace Agreement was signed by President Tejan Kabbah and Foday Sankoh of the Rebels United Front. It was witnessed by the chairman of ECOWAS, the UN special envoy to the Secretary General and representatives of key regional governments. This peace agreement established the foundation for lasting peace, return of security and initiation of reconstruction and development for Sierra Leone.
Prior to 1991, an estimated 80 percent of the population lived on less than one dollar a day. The situation has deteriorated since the start of the civil war, with the widespread destruction of public infrastructure, massive population displacements, and the withdrawal of foreign investment.
Population: (million) 4.9
Life expectancy at birth (years): 37
Access to safe water (% of population): 34
GNP per capita (Atlas method, US$): 140
Sharon Cox (202) 473-2035 (In Washington)
Florian Fichtl (202) 458 7381 (In Washington)