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ECOWAS gives US $2M to five projects in the Agenda for Change

ECOWAS gives US $2M to five projects in the Agenda for Change

A high-level delegation of ECOWAS, Chinese engineers and local bank officials from ECOBANK and Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, led by the Vice President of ECOWAS, Jean De-Dieu Sonda, yesterday 21st April 2010 visited President Ernest Bai Koroma at State Lodge to assure him of their full support in the implementation and financing of five priority projects of government in line with the President’s Agenda For Change.

According to the Deputy Minister of Finance, Richard Conteh, who introduced the delegation to the President, the projects are the new terminal and presidential lounge at the Lungi International Airport, Bumbuna Phase 2, Bekongor Hydro Project, Makeni and Kamakwie Highway, Agricultural projects including rubber and oil palm, and the Orogu Dam and water supply system. He said ECOWAS is here to give practical support, while the Chinese engineers will do the designing and the banks will fund the various projects.

In his remarks, President Koroma noted that these are important projects in line with ECOWAS’ agenda being implemented at a critical time.  He commended the efforts and support of ECOWAS, especially in bringing in the experts from China and observed that he is focused on bringing in “development that will make us as a nation succeed politically.”

President Koroma expressed his deep appreciation to ECOWAS for providing the two million dollars (US$2M) to facilitate the listed projects. He maintained that the private sector must take its full roll in nation-building to make development a success story and open up more opportunities.

According to the President, government has its priorities in its Agenda For Change, and that all the five projects must be backed by the private sector. He noted that the realization of these projects will bring job opportunities and increase export earnings.

The President cautioned against always depending on donor funds and called for collective efforts to develop the West African sub region.

The Vice President of ECOWAS, Jean De-Dieu Sonda, commended the mass improvement and developments that have taken place in the city since President Koroma assumed office. He praised the cooperation between government and ECOWAS while commending Ministers Alieu Pat-Sowe of Transport & Aviation and Richard Conteh of Finance for their development initiatives.

According to the Vice President, ECOWAS will give the government its full support in line with the President’s Agenda for Change, which he referred to as positive. Mr Sonda called on the private sector and the banks in particular to give the government their fullest support. He reaffirmed ECOWAS’ commitment to support the government with US$2M for capacity building, as the government has done her best in a very short time.

The Chinese representative, in his address, promised that with the support of ECOWAS and the banks, the five laid-down projects are well on course. He said they would design an airport that would service about 600,000 passengers yearly with a first-class presidential lounge.

A bank representative said they are happy to be part of the “win-win” team, and promised to help financially to see the realization of these projects.

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