Saturday, December 02, 2006

US$600m off Sierra Leone’s debt

The World Bank Country Representative, Mats Karlsson has disclosed in Freetown that a whooping US$ 600million would be slashed from the total debt owed by Sierra Leone to her international partners come December 15. He made this disclosure during the close of the two day Consultative Group meeting held at the Lagoonda complex between the Government of Sierra Leone and its development partners.

According to Mr. Karlsson, come December 15, 2006 the World Bank will sign off the said amount, pointing out that it would be preceded by another round of consultative meeting at the bank’s headquarters in Washington to be scheduled any time from now.

The World Bank man indicated that the cancellation of the debt is coming as a result of Sierra Leone’s satiafactory performance so far in the implementation of the benchmarks set by the bank, among which is the successful adoption and implementation of a home-grown poverty reduction strategy.

According to Mr. Karlsson so far Sierra Leone has "proved well which is why the bank is making this move in order to assist the government continue to record more successes, noting that Sierra Leone was improving in the areas of good governance, security and peace, pro-poor sustainable growth for food security and job creation, and human resource development.

The Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone thanked the World Bank in advance for the news. He however impressed upon the partners not to adopt "the wait-and-see policy" in effecting the cut, because the country is preparing for elections. He urged the partners to do what ever they intend doing now, rather than waiting for according to him "the people of Sierra Leone are anxious for development".