Sierra Leone marked for Millennium Challenge Corporation grant
In December 2012, Sierra Leone was one of a group of selected lower income countries that became eligible for the Millennium Challenge Corporation [MCC] ‘Compact’ grant funding after passing 12 out of 20 benchmark indicators in the area of Ruling justly, investing in Citizens and Economic freedom.
Mr Mamoud Idriss , Coordinator, MCC Coordinating Unit, made this statement while addressing Journalists at the conference room of NASSIT. He intimated that the MCC is a United States Government funded agency that form strategic partnerships with countries that have met certain criteria in the foregoing areas to combat poverty and promote sustainable economic growth through private investments. He disclosed that the grant funding is dependent on identified projects and retorted that there is a clearly defined and rigorous stepwise process that a beneficiary Government must follow in other to access the funding.
One of the preliminary steps in the compact development process, according to Mamoud Idriss, is the appointment of a Core Technical Team that will form the Millennium Challenge Cordinating Unit [MCCCU] supervised by the office of the Chief of Staff to undertake the compact development process. He further highlighted that this process includes, identifying the most binding constraints to economic growth, developing project proposals to relieve these constraints, conducting reviews and due diligence on propose projects to ensure viability and broad base impact, negotiating final projects and committing funds , and undertaking pre-implementation activities in preparation for the roll-out of the identify projects .Mr Idriss maintained that the MCC and GOSL are keen on ensuring that the entire process of compact development is inclusive and participatory
He reiterated that currently, a preliminary constraints analysis has been prepared, which incorporates economic analysis of constraints to growth, social and gender analysis and investment opportunity analysis of the Sierra Leone economy. The MCCU is therefore soliciting feedbacks from government stakeholders, donor partners, NGOs, Private sector, Political parties, Women’s groups, Youth groups and citizens on the findings. He disclosed further that the MCCU is launching a nationwide consultation in all 12 Districts of the country between 18th July and 5th August 2013. The MCC coordinator also assured that pre-consultation workshops are being held in Freetown with key technical stakeholders such as MDA’S , Donor partners, private sector partners, NGO’S, Professional associations and Civil society actors and subsequently, a series of workshops and focus groups discussions will be held in all district headquarter towns with stakeholders that are a true representation of the interest of Sierra Leoneans.
The MCCCU coordinator maintained that the purpose of this consultation process is to meaningfully engage Sierra Leoneans on the findings of the constraints Analysis and refine the document based on this feedback in an effort to promote country ownership. He noted that feedback will be recorded and integrated in the final Constraints analysis report that will be submitted to the MCC for approval as a consensus document on what Sierra Leoneans believe are the binding constraints to economic development in Sierra Leone. Mamoud Idrss made it clear that, this is the first in a series of nationwide consultations that will be undertaken during key phases of the compact development process. He dilated that the process is intended to be participatory, transparent and inclusive. It will utilize different methods such as focus groups, surveys and public awareness campaign to engage the stakeholders.
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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