The World Bank has approved a $40 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Accountable Governance for Basic Service Delivery project.
The project, according to World Bank, will improve resource management, transparency and accountability of government systems to ensure the effective delivery of local development programs and basic services in Sierra Leone.
It aims to strengthen the ability of local councils to carry out service-delivery mandates in key sectors such as health and education.
The project is aligned with the World Bank Group COVID-19 Crisis Response Framework.
It is also fully aligned with the Country Partnership Framework for Sierra Leone, which emphasizes accountable governance in the use of public finances and the delivery of quality and inclusive education and health services.
It will build on the existing World Bank support to public financial management reforms and other accountability systems at the central and local levels.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of better governance for improved service delivery, and this project provides a systematic approach for the Government of Sierra Leone to incentivize improvements in governance for basic service delivery across multiple levels of government,"said Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone. "The project will strengthen accountability relationships between citizens and local government to ensure that increased resources are used for qualitative priority local development programs."
Local councils have a significant role to play in delivering basic services. Since 2004, the reinvigorated councils have progressively taken on numerous formal, legal, and administrative functions regarding the management of basic services. Currently, the administrative framework governing the delivery of basic services is characterized by a complex multi-level governance structure at central, local, and sectoral levels. This provides a challenge for the efficient use of resources, which is now urgently required in a reduced fiscal space due to the impact of COVID-19.
"This project is an innovative approach to address governance constraints by establishing a clear link between improved governance performance and service delivery results. These are the kinds of building blocks that can support local development and help to make sure that government investments in basic services, like health and education, deliver positive dividends for communities. In the process, the project will additionally support the Government's focus on governance and accountability for results in its National Development Plan (NDP) and beyond, over a six-year timeframe," said Shomikho Raha, World Bank Task Team Leader.
The project will directly support maximizing the impact of investments in service delivery through improving the efficiency of public expenditures in a sustainable manner through improved resource management, transparency and accountability. It places special emphasis and incentivizes increased participation and voice of women in local development, targeting at least 40 percent women participation in the planning, design, and implementation of development programs at the local level.