The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwumi Adesina during his visit has assured Sierra Leone that the Bank will be extremely supportive in the country’s development agenda. He made this statement to the media shortly after his arrival Freetown on Wednesday 11th March, 2020.
“I am here to see the President and listen to the President and most importantly to offer our strong support to Sierra Leone. Obviously, Sierra Leone is a very important country to AfDB, as Sierra Leone is a founder member of the bank and the we have been financing projects and programmes in Sierra Leone since 1967,” he said.
Highlighting some of development projects in Sierra Leone in different sectors that the bank has financed, he said the Bank has done a lot in Agriculture, Energy, Water and Sanitation, Infrastructure and other sectors. Noting that the current projects portfolio is around USD $758 million.
He said like many other African countries, there are lots of challenges that the country is faced with and commended the government for what they have done so far in addressing those challenges, adding that AfDB is always ready to help Sierra Leone addressing those challenges.
He said this is his first official visit to Sierra Leone since he became President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), noting that he is delighted to be in here.
“The visit present an opportunity to deepen discussions on several fronts, particularly on how the Bank can assist Sierra Leone to implement the 2019-2023 National Development Plan, which focuses on human capital development,” he said.
Dr Adesina continued that he had a conversation with President Julius Maada Bio during the African Union Submit in February 2020, in which President Bio talked about his reforms and he assured the President that he will come and visit to discuss more.
The Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa in his brief welcome remark welcome Dr. Akinwumi Adesina to Sierra Leone and express the government’s gratitude that amidst the international health crisis of the Corona Virus, the President decides to proceed with this visit.
The Minister of Finance Noted that the continuous visits of high profile personnel within international development partner organisations is not only a sign of cordial relationship the government of Sierra Leone has with it partners but also demonstrates that the reforms of government are in place to put Sierra Leone on a right development trajectory.
“Dr. Adesina will have the opportunity to get firsthand information from critical stakeholders of the state on the development priorities, progress and challenges that will allow him to support the financing of projects and programmes that will resonate with the aspirations of the people of Sierra Leone,” Sahr L. Jusu, Financial Secretary said.
During his visit, he will be meeting with President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. RTD. Brig. Julius Maada Bio, Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa and other Ministers of Government, heads of Government agency and other development partners.
Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group. He was elected to the position on May 28, 2015 by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Dr. Adesina, 58, is a distinguished development economist and agricultural development expert with 25 years of international experience. He is the first Nigerian to serve as President of the Bank Group.
He served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015, during which time he implemented bold policy reforms in the fertilizer sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programs to expand opportunities for the private sector.
He will be coming along with the Director General Marie-Laure Akin-Ologbade, Executive Director Kenyah Barley, AfDB Country Manager for Ethopia, Abdul Kamara and other staff of the Bank.