December 10, 2019:
Minister of Planning & Economic Development – Dr. Francis Kaikai
All Government Functionaries in attendance,
Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations
The Media and Civil Society Representatives
Other Distinguished Guests:
On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it gives me great pleasure to join you this morning at the National Workshop on the Emergency Community Development Programme (PUDC). With a Medium-Term National Development Plan at hand, of which the 2030 Agenda & SDGs and African Agenda 2063 are mainstreamed, this workshop comes at the right time.
Multidimensional Poverty Index Report launched in February this year (2019) indicates that rural poverty is 86.3 percent, compared to 37 percent in urban areas. Multidimensional poverty among the majority of the rural population means they are deprived of access to affordable quality basic services – services that are critical to lifting and keeping them out of poverty.
The Regional Bureau for Africa developed its flagship project dubbed – the Emergency Community Development Project (PUDC) which aims to reduce poverty and growing inequalities between regions by providing rural communities with basic socioeconomic infrastructure including some cases health and education facilities.
The first PUDC started in Senegal (2015) where UNDP delivered over USD 200 million in a three-year period followed by Togo in 2016. The PUDC model is centered around quick-win results and it is a new way to collaborate and work with the UNDP. In addition, the model aligns with international development norms of keeping people out of poverty through a multi-dimensional approach. To gain first-hand experience on the model, UNDP in July and September this year supported two study tours to Senegal, comprising of senior technical staff and ministers respectively. The Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Planning & Economic Development has demonstrated a keen interest in the PUDC model, and this workshop serves as a forum where national stakeholders will harness and share ideas on the viability of the model in the Sierra Leone context. In addition, there is currently an ongoing PUDC feasibility study in Sierra Leone, Liberia & Gambia to explore how the model can serve as a potential means to fast-track rural development in these three countries.
As I look around this room, there are a variety of stakeholders – from Government, Local Councils, UN Agencies, to business groups as well as foreign and international bodies. The variety means that there are often different ways of viewing and understanding challenges to rural development. Thankfully, during the planning process of the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP, 2019-2023) needs assessments were conducted in all 16 districts, priorities ranked, and the government made firmed commitments to developing the rural sector. At UNDP, we strongly believe that the PUDC model is a vehicle for promoting accelerated community development in line with the pro-poor objectives of the government as indicated in its MTNDP. This development model also provides the means to engage with the international community and other stakeholders, to mobilize resources and leverage financing and investment for national development.
Finally, we congratulate the Ministry of Planning & Economic Development in putting this workshop together. It is, indeed, a commendable step in the search of options on how the PUDC can be easily replicated in Sierra Leone. In addition, let me convey our best wishes for a resourceful and productive workshop.
Thank you for your attention.