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ECOWAS Ranks S/Leone 1st for mainstreaming aid for trade into national development agenda

ECOWAS Ranks S/Leone 1st for mainstreaming aid for trade into national development agenda

Sierra Leone has been highly praised by the Executive Secretariat of Aid for Trade in Geneva for taking the lead in accessing Sierra Leone’s quota in Aid for Trade Fund, and making judicious use of it. Its role in adopting International and Regional policies into National Development Agenda was acknowledged by development partners, especially for putting up visible comparable structures and at the same time undertaking discernible modern reforms to improve the investment climate. (Photo: Hon. Mabinty Daramy flanked by her aides Abdul (Budu) and Rakie Macarthy)

This emerged after Sierra Leone’s Deputy Trade & Industry Minister Ms. Mabinty Daramy presented a paper titled “Mainstreaming Aid for Trade into the National Development Agenda; The Sierra Leone Experience.”

The Executive Director of Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat Dorothy Tembo underscored the significance of the integrated framework and in that regard applauded the West African Country for strides taken in that direction to the full view and hearing of fifteen West African cabinet and deputy Trade Ministers and or their representatives at the ECOWAS Conference Center, Asokoro in Abuja Nigeria Thursday January 28, during a two day “Aid For Trade” review Meeting.

Sierra Leone was commended for her efforts in being among the very first countries to get Its EIF TIER (1) project signed. Development Partners also noted the gains made by accessing Aid For Trade and within record time, synchronizing both local and international policies, in line with International acceptable standards.

Other witnesses to the accolade were Representatives of International Donor Countries and multilateral partners, including ITC, IMF, World Bank, DFID, UNCTAD,UNIDO and WTO), Sweden, Japan, China, France, Italy, Germany.

She also used Sierra Leone as a case study to address complaints by some representatives of other West African countries classified as non starters, who were expressing their acrimony regarding their inability to access the Aid for Trade funds.

The Integrated Framework Initiative was launched in 1997 for Least Developed Countries(LDC) by six core Agencies including IMF,ITC,UNCTAD,UNDP,WB and WTO to assist LDC’s enhance their capacity to address trade related problems and facilitate trading system.

The objective is geared towards taking mainstream trade into national development plans/processes such as poverty reduction strategy papers, and assist in the coordination of delivery of trade related technical assistance.

Aid for Trade, especially the Integrated Framework Initiative, has become a serious tool to fight poverty in least developed counties. In her own case, Sierra Leone was able to effectively use Aid for Trade to address her country’s program and projects using among other things a partnership approach in accordance with the principles with the Paris declaration of Aid effectiveness.

Accessing aid through the integrated framework initiative requires a country going through four different types of phases including an official request, and a preparatory phase, Technical reviews, the establishment of a National Steering Committee, the diagnostic trade integration studies phase (which identifies constraints and translation of the Preparatory phase into follow up activities), a Validation phase, wherein national stakeholders validate the conclusion of the DTIS and proposed action outlined in the Action matrix and the Implementation phase which has to do with the support of development partners accompanied by progression towards integration of policies into programs.

According to the Deputy Minister of Trade Ms. Mabinty Daramy, Sierra Leone has completed all these phases. “We conducted the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) with an action matrix that forms the basis for the implementation of two projects, namely: tourism development and the trade policy project with funds to the tune one million United States Dollars ($1M) from the Integrated Framework Window 11.

The Integrated Framework was enhanced as a result of a review by the donors and the executive board. Under the new arrangements, Ms Mabinty Daramy said Sierra Leone has also benefited from the Enhanced Integrated Framework TIER 1 project with funds to the tune of approximately $920,000 for the establishment of the national implementation arrangement, which includes the establishment of the National Implementation Unit.  EIF TIER 11Guidelines for the funding of trade related projects (outlined in the DTIS) will be released by the EIF secretariat soon from which Sierra Leone will receive funding to implement trade related projects thereby helping realize President Ernest Bai Koroma’s Government Agenda for Change,” Said Hon. Daramy.

Pasco Gerald Temple, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone High Commission
Abuja, Nigeria

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