By Mohamed Lamin Banya
President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina says they have invested more than seven hundred million United States Dollars in Sierra Leone and that the portfolio of the bank in Sierra Leone is about one hundred million United States Dollars, noting that, areas supported are Water and Sanitation, Energy, Infrastructure and Social Inclusion.
He was speaking during a press conference at State House following his two-day visit to Sierra Leone.
The visit of the AfDB President, presented an opportunity for Sierra Leone to deepen discussion on several fronts, particularly on how the Bank can assist the country to implement the 2019-2023 National Development Plan focusing on human capital development.
Adesina stated that, they have been financing support for Sierra Leone since 1967 and that Sierra Leone is one of its founding members, adding that, they are also supporting the private sector and the Finance Ministry and the central bank for financial inclusion.
Mr. Adesina maintained that, the bank has also been financing inter-connection that links Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast which is about 1,360 km of transmission that provides access to Sierra Leone with about 46MW electricity.
“We are also financing the distribution between Kenema and Bo which is 13 million dollars; the power inter-connection I am talking about is thirty million US dollars and 15 thousand households will be having electricity,” he said.
Agriculture, according to the AfDB boss is another way they have been financing, noting that, Sierra Leone has massive abandoned potentials in agriculture.
“The bank has been financing agric-business value chain for rice in the country with eleven million US dollars; and we are going to do more for agriculture in Sierra Leone,” he said.
He disclosed that, they will be investing significantly in helping Sierra Leone on special agro-industrial ventures that have infrastructure to support food and agriculture in the country.
Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa said, the visit of the AfDB President to the country is about the confidence he reposes in the current regime and his desire to support the country.
“I am not sure if we have ever hosted the President of the AfDB in this grand style; Sierra Leone is one of the founding members of the bank and we continue to enjoy the good relationship” he added.
Meanwhile, the African Development Bank President disclosed that, the Bank will consider part funding of the Lungi Bridge project, adding that, they will study the contract once it is drawn and consider the options.