The 17th meeting of Board of Governors of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) will today commence at the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel in Freetown.
The meeting will bring together fifteen (15) ECOWAS Member States, including Sierra Leone Togo, Nigeria, Liberia, The Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana, Cote D'viore Guinea Bissau, Cameroun, Benin and Cape Verde to discuss pertinent issues.
The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development Board of Governors is made up of Ministers responsible for Finance and Economic Development in the fifteen ECOWAS countries, and the current Chair of the Board of Governors is Senegal, whose tenure of office will come to an end after the meeting in Freetown.
Sierra Leone's Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa will assume the Chairmanship position after the meeting until the next Board of Governors meeting in 2020. It is expected that with Sierra Leone as the Chair of the Board, it will create more opportunities for both public and private sectors to access funds from the bank for its development projects.
The Annual meeting of the Board of Governors is rotationally done alphabetically among the 15 member states.
The Bank is headed by a President, Bashir Mamnah Ifo, who was appointed on October 11th 2011, after serving as Vice President, Finance and Corporate Services from 2007. During the 13th Ordinary Session of the Board of Governors held in Bamako, Mali on June 15, 2015, Mr. Ifo's tenure was renewed for another term of four years with effect from October 10, 2015. His mandate will come to an end on 9th October, 2019.
The meeting in Freetown is important as Mr. Ifo's successor will be announced through voting or consensus building process by Governors of the Bank.
A total of twenty candidates applied to head the bank but after thorough scrutiny, only seven candidates were shortlisted by the Directors of EBID.
Unfortunately, only three out of the seven candidates were selected with one among them expected to be announced as the new president.
Currently, there are no projects and programmes that are financed by EBID in Sierra Leone. However, EBID has financed three projects in Sierra Leone; the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, Modernization and expansion of network and telecommunication infrastructure of SIERRATEL and Solar Street Light in Freetown and 13 Communities in across the country.
Also, the Government of Sierra Leone has requested the Bank to finance the Kono University of Science and Technology project amounting to USD50 million of which USD15 million will be used to finance the proposed Diagnostic Centre of Excellence.
ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) started operations in January 2004 as a holding company with two specialized subsidiaries: ECOWAS Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for financing the public sector and ECOWAS Regional Investment Bank (ERIB) for financing the private sector.
On the 16th June 2006, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government agreed to the reorganization of the EBID Group into a single entity, with two windows: one for promoting the private sector, and the other for developing the public sector.
EBID has been operating under its current structure since January 2007. The headquarters of the Bank is in Lome, Togo Republic.