State House, Freetown, Thursday 12 March 2020 – President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has commended His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio, saying they are in-country to discuss support to his economic development, social progress and poverty reduction initiatives.
Presenting the AfDB Chief at State House, Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, said that the Bank had been very supportive to the country, adding that “the visit of Dr Adesina is a manifestation of their confidence in the leadership of President Bio and the New Direction Government”.
The AfDB boss said that he was delighted to be in the country to get a first-hand experience of what was happening. He said since his arrival he had held several meetings with key government stakeholders and commended the President for his vision and determination to transform the lives of Sierra Leoneans.
He commended the government for its efforts in Human Capital Development, saying that development was about the wellbeing of citizens. He also thanked the President for becoming a champion for nutrition, adding that that was a show of leadership by creating the opportunity for those who could not afford it.
He also commended the government’s vision to want to construct the Lungi Bridge, which will connect the capital Freetown and the airport town, noting that that was a structural urban development that would create new areas and special economic zones. He said that they had looked at the different government priorities and assured of their support to the country’s development process.
In his response, President Bio welcomed the AfDB team, saying that Sierra Leone was a small but determined nation that was changing the narrative about its image around the world. He said that despite inheriting a challenging system, his government was instituting a lot of reforms, especially in the area of fiscal consolidation.
He said that his government was committed to prudent economic management and had brought back development partners like the International Monetary Fund, who had earlier left. He also informed of his government’s efforts to clamp down heavily on corruption, which was holding back the country’s development. He noted that the fight against graft was both a way of correcting the past and also creating a deterrent for present public officials.
“We have been able to increase tax revenue and fight corruption, which is a fight that we will continue to pursue. The free quality education has helped increase the number of enrolment in schools and we are serious about it because it is part of our inclusive development. I want to thank the AfDB for its support to our infrastructural sector, which is an enabler for development,” he said.
Earlier, the AfDB President also held a consultative meeting with ministers, heads of agencies and other senior members of government on projects that were being supported by the Bank. The meeting was chaired by the Chief Minister, Professor David John Francis.
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