Sierra Leone & OFID Sign $13M Loan Pact for Fourah Bay College
Sierra Leone’s Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr. Keifala Marah has on behalf of the Government and People of Sierra Leone signed a Thirteen Million United States Dollars ($13Million) loan with the Director General of OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Suleiman Jassir Al-Herbish at the premises of the World Bank on 19NW & H Street in Washington DC.USA. (Photo: Finance Minister Dr. Keifala Marah OFIDs Director General Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish exchanging Documents during the signing ceremony)
According to Sierra Leone’s Finance and Economic Development Minister Dr. Keifala Marah, the loan is geared towards the rehabilitation and expansion of Fourah Bay College in particular which is part of the University of Sierra Leone, and the educational sector in Sierra Leone as a whole.
He said the loan will see the construction of new structures and rehabilitation of existing ones at FBC to meet the needs of students, faculties and administrative staff so that they will contribute to national growth and development.
Speaking before the signing ceremony on Thursday April 18, 2013, Suleiman Jassir Al-Herbish, Director General OFID, said the main objective of this project is to contribute to the educational sector and in particular to enhance quality higher education and to improve the physical infrastructure of the Fourah Bay College. This venture by OFID will ensure the resuscitation of Fourah Bay College to its former glory “as Athens of West Africa.
“This project is consistent with OFIED’S 5TH Amendment and your country’s economic development and capacity building-commitment to education”. Said Jassir Al-Herbish Director General OFID. Adding, we expect this loan to significantly contribute to national development”.
He said the loan represents the fourteenth (14th) operation between OFID and the Republic of Sierra Leone, since the duo established bilateral relationship in 1976.
The Director General described the project as “the first to be signed on Education and capacity building since the past thirty seven years”.
The Director General updated that to date, OFID has supported Sierra Leone with one hundred Million Dollars in the Transport, Energy, and Health and Sanitation sectors.
He expressed optimism to sign more agreements with the Government of Sierra Leone and exchange views on future cooperation.”
Responding, Sierra Leone’s Finance and Economic Development Minister Dr. Kefalas Marah thanked OFID on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma and the people of Sierra Leone for their continued support for the country’s development.
Dr. Marah described the rehabilitation and Expansion of Fourah Bay College as timely and crucial, towards the enhancement of quality higher education.
The Hon. Finance Minister said the cost of rehabilitating Fourah Bay College is estimated at US36.65 Million.
Although it was government’s desire to have undertaken such a project long before now, due to economic difficulties and the funding requirement made it impossible to do so.
Accordingly, Dr. Marah said the Government of Sierra Leone solicited funding in the sum of US $ 8.M, from BADEA.
In its pursuit to ensure that the project enjoys high priority, government secured financing Agreement from OFID in the sum of Thirteen Million Dollars.
As a show of Government’s effort and commitment it will contribute $3.65m from its coffers towards the actualization of this project.
Dr. Marah gave a brief historical background of the Institution of Fourah Bay College and used the opportunity to inform the Director General of OFID that Sierra Leone’s third generation Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), named the Agenda for Prosperity is being completed and will be shared with him. This document enshrines Government’s vision to bring alleviate the people out of poverty to an acceptable standard of living.
The Finance Minister said the PRSP document lay emphasis on education, infrastructural development, agriculture, health, energy etc. ”the OFID will be approached for further assistance of the PRSP.
Witnesses to the Signing ceremony are: Minister of Transport and Aviation Hon. Vandi C. Minah, Ambassador Bockari Stevens, Government delegation to the spring meetings and senior officials of the Embassy of Sierra Leone.
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