The Board comprises the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
In his capacity, Mr. Bvumbe serves the interests of the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure the country benefits fully from the services and resources of the World Bank Group and provides fiduciary oversight of the World Bank Group to ensure effective implementation of the institution’s development policies and strategies.
At the meeting with Ministry of Finance officials on Thursday, 28th June 2018, Minister Laverley warmly welcomed the Executive Director and his Economic Advisers and went on to discuss wide ranging issues related to Sierra Leone’s economic transformation. Agenda items included the budgetary support for the financial year 2018/2019, ensuring that Sierra Leone’s portfolio under the IDA 18 funding cycle reflects Government’s priorities in the New Direction Development Agenda, restructuring of the country’s domestic debt burden, the provision of social services and development in the agriculture, fisheries and energy with particular emphasis on solar energy.
The Acting Minister reminded the Executive Director about discussions held with the Sierra Leone delegation led by the substantive Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa during the April 2018 Spring Meetings, and re-echoed the need for quicker action on the issues so discussed during the Spring Meeting.
Minister Laverley assured the World Bank Executive Director for Sierra Leone that discussions are ongoing with the IMF for the re-launch of its reform programme and pointed out Government’s commitment to implementing the reforms. She informed the Director about the IMF visit in early June and that they will return in September for negotiation of a new three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The Minister, with support from the Financial Secretary succinctly elucidated Government’s efforts at revenue mobilization and the prudent expenditure management put in place to restore macroeconomic stability.
Mr. Bvumbe was urged to support the Bank’s rapid processing of its budget support of USD 20 million for 2017 because of the derailed IMF programme, and a request was made that the amount is increased to USD 30 million, due to the difficult macrofiscal situation inherited by the Government, including a huge stock of arrears.
Minister Laverley also mentioned the issue of Government’s flagship Free Education programme, and appreciated on behalf of Government, the proposed Regional Human Capital project to which Sierra Leone has been included. She and also appreciated the World Bank for leading the efforts for the establishment of a Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Education and for allocating resources to the Fund in support of the Government’s flagship programme.
She also emphasised Government’s commitment to the economic diversification strategy and stressed the importance of agriculture and fisheries in that strategy, while she welcomed the proposed Regional Agricultural Transformation Project. She stressed the need for the implementation of the delayed World Bank funded Small Holder Commercialization and Agri-business Development Project (SCADEP).
With respect to fisheries, Minister Laverley pointed out the need for the construction of a Fish Harbour to handle fish processing and export. She closed with informing the Executive Director about Government’s request to the IFC through its Vice President for Treasury Operations and Regional Vice President, regarding the construction of a Solar Energy Plant in the country to alleviate the challenge of expensive but unreliable power supply and she appealed for a follow up on this request with the IFC.
Mr. Bvumbe’s response to all of the issues raised by Minister Laverley were positively encouraging, as he re-affirmed his commitment to ensuring that Sierra Leone realizes the full benefits of the World Bank’s resources and services to enhance her socio-economic development. He promised to step up advocacy upon his return to Washington, to ensure the actualization of the issues raised by the Ministry of Finance. He was particularly enthused by Government’s focus on education aimed at developing the country’s human capital. On energy, he pointed out that the perennial problem can be addressed through “a comprehensive approach” which should include generation and distribution.
He expressed thanks to the Government and the Ministry of Finance for the warm reception accorded him and team and promised to share other vital development information at the highest level at the World Bank.
The meeting was climaxed with a photo shot of the Minister and the World Bank Executive Director for Sierra Leone.