His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio returned last night from a day’s trip to discuss $93 billion for Low-Income Countries by calling for a strong start to the implementation of World Bank’s focus on a robust and resilient recovery for Africa.

The one-day Heads of State Summit, hosted by President Macky Sall on the International Development Association, IDA20, brought in other representatives with interest in economic transformation; agriculture, livestock, and food security; human capital; digital and technological innovations; and energy transition.

IDA is one of the largest sources of funding for fighting extreme poverty in the world’s lowest-income countries. Africa is IDA’s biggest beneficiary with 39 countries and has made significant headway in improving development indicators during six decades of partnership with the World Bank.

His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, opened by admonishing his colleagues to be fully committed, citing the debilitating impacts of the war in Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic, global inflation, supply chain disruptions, and climate change on countries’ productivity capacity, energy, and food security.

“Unemployment has risen, macro-fiscal underpinnings have been challenged as revenues have fallen. Also, demand on fiscal spending has risen steeply and trade in services has been subdued as regional and global value chains are adjusting,” he said.

In his submission, President Julius Maada Bio shared his experience and the significance of his flagship initiative of human capital development since his government took up governance in 2028, adding that over 2 million children were now benefiting from free quality education across the country.

He also emphasised that he was always looking forward to an African approach to addressing the growing public debt issues.

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Professor David John Francis, said that the World Bank and IDA had been able to raise a huge amount of money to support low-income countries, including Sierra Leone.

Speaking to State House media after the event, Sierra Leone’s Financial Secretary, Sahr Jusu, who is one of the selected IDA borrower representatives running a historic 2 replenishment cycles, provided more context by explaining that the $93.0 billion raised by December 2021 was to finance projects and programmes for the period July 2022 to 30 June 2025.

“The resources are allocated based on a country’s Policy and Institutional Assessment, CPIA, rating of reforms and projects and programmes performance as dedicated by annual disbursement.

“Sierra Leone’s 2021 CPIA rating slightly increased from 3.1 to 3.2/6, which is above Sub-Saharan Africa’s average of 3.1/6 and the country’s project performance also increased, for the first time, beyond annual disbursement target of 20% of the portfolio,” he said.