Sierra Leone: Native Consortium Commends World Bank, Recommends Judicious Use of U.S.$40 Million Grants

Native Consortium & Research Centre (NCRC) has thanked the World Bank for the $40 million grant that is geared towards boosting the country's epileptic economy, and stated that the grants should be used to help create a new cadre of entrepreneurs of young Sierra Leoneans, with extreme caution to avoid unsafe, counterfeit and fake products and services.

The consortium considered the forty million grants as a game changing grant provided through the International Development Association (IDA)- to the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL)-to boost Access to Capital, Financial Inclusion and Job Creation.

They called recommended that government should judiciously make use of the grant in order to ameliorate the tourism, entertainment, and hospitality sectors which have been the hardest hit by COVID 19.

They further called on the government to embark on economic diversification through value chain addition as central in the non-mining investment.

"SME beneficiaries of the grant should be looking at new ways to transform the economy through value in the chain of production. For instance, a one bus stop for cutting and polishing of diamond. And also value adding in the agricultural and fishing processing to the final consumer as an investment potential to boost growth," states the consortium.

They called for the need to scaling up of women economy by empowering women in businesses.

"The current IMF Country Manager is an expert in women economic concept and therefore, the Trade Ministry should tap into her expertise to train women entrepreneurs. The NCRC would always be willing to give support to empower women via using community banks which are less bureaucratic to rural women in remote areas."

The consortium further encouraged the GoSL to strive and strike a balance between the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and local SMEs, which is deemed to be the ideal making and breaking point.

"We must submit to the WB that after the war, the GoSL under former President Kabbah (late) recapitalized the Community Banks which created huge economic stimulus and create jobs in the informal sector and middle level man power with d Advent of Tech-Voc training centers. We are deeply grateful and feel elated that our advocacy both local and at the WB/IMF AGM/spring meeting in Washington is yielding huge dividend for a sound economic trajectory. The NCRC economic matrix and arguments to the WB/IMF has been simple and consistent over time; that GDP growth rate does not alleviate poverty but it is poverty alleviation that should drive GDP," they conclude.

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