Project to stimulate local economic development approved in Freetown
The Local Governance and Economic Development Joint Programme (LGED-JP), geared towards strengthening the decentralization process and support the capacity of local governments to enhance pro-poor local economic development has been approved by the Government of Sierra Leone and development partners, February 24th 2011 at the conference hall of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD). The programme is a joint programme between United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) and will be supported by the Government of Canada.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon Dauda S. Kamara said that the approval of the programme shows the importance the government places on local governance and pro-poor economic opportunities especially at the local levels adding that: “this is a real opportunity to build the capacity of the ministry … the project is a collaborative effort between Goverment of Sierra Leone and development partners including the UNDP, Government of Canada and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as well as DFID, EU and WB.”
The Minister also said that two more districts will be selected along with Kenema for the project and that MLGRD will ensure regional balance in the selection process.
UNDP Country Director, Ms Mia Seppo, said that the LGED-JP is a three year programme aimed at achieving three specific outputs including, strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) in strategic leadership relating to decetralisation process; promoting local government financial management and planning; and to stimulate Local Economic Development (LED) through investment in pro-poor economic activities. The project also seeks to promote public-private partnership investment in target districts to exploit the potential of productive sectors and value chains.
Mayor of Kenema, Chief Brima Kargbo said that the project will be successful if it the local councils take it as their own and ensure that the programme benefit the people in the district. The Mayor said that “this project will open up the rural area and remove poverty from Sierra Leone”
UNCDF's Deputy Regional Director, Christel Alvergne said that several lessons were learned from the original KDERP project and the new programme is informed by experiences drawn from that project as well as experiences from other countries. It emerged that that there is a serious need of tackling poverty through linking comprehensive, social, economic and social factors at local level and to integrate rural areas into the national economy and promote accessible and credible public services.
LGED-JP promotes implementation of the PRSP II – Agenda for Change, within the second the forth priority areas: addressing pro-poor growth and promoting the decentralization policy and devolution of functions to local governments. The project also fits within Programme 16 on local and decentralization of the Joint Vision of Sierra Leone, which is the UN’s response to the PRSP II.
Abdul Karim Bah, Communications Analyst, UNDP Sierra Leone. Tel: + 232 33 167 428. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org