Speaking at the launching ceremony, Yero Baldeh, Resident Representative for the African Development Bank Group who prepares the report said that the Development Effectiveness Review 2015 review is a report on the performance of the African Development Bank in Sierra Leone and also it reviews development trends in the country and explores how AfDB’s operations have contributed to development results over the past twelve years. He added that the report also looks at how effectively AfDBs manages it operations and its own organization in Sierra Leone.
He pointed out that the Bank has supported Sierra Leone’s national priorities of promoting peace, stability and economic development in the years since the aftermath of the eleven years civil war. The country programmes was put on hold during the conflict from 1991 to 2002, but since the end of the conflict, the Bank has supported Sierra Leone in its journey of recovery; helping to rebuild state institutions, restore basic services and promote growth and employment. He noted that AfDB has contributed US $350 million in grants and concessional lending between 2005 and 2014. This year, he added that the Bank responded quickly and flexibly to the Ebola crisis, providing $60 million as part of a wider regional package of US $223 million.
He noted that Sierra Leone has made remarkable progress in consolidating a peaceful democracy and moving from post-war humanitarian support and reconstruction towards laying the foundation for long-term inclusive growth. He however said that serious drivers of fragility still remain. He added that the Bank remains committed to supporting Sierra Leone’s post-Ebola recovery and building the country’s resilience, to help it achieve the ambitious goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2035 as set out in the Government’s Agenda for Prosperity.
Giving the keynote address and also launching the report, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kaifala Marah said that Sierra Leone’s economic growth over the past five years has been remarkable, averaging 8% and reaching 20.1% in 2013.
He went on to state that over the past ten years, the poverty ratio has fallen from 66% to 53% – an important result, but one that marks significant inequality between urban and rural areas. He said that unfortunately the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak and the dramatic fall in iron ore prices have reversed this positive growth trajectory with a 21.5% contraction of economic output anticipated in 2015. He however assured the African development bank that Sierra Leone will work heard to score its goals.