Bank Group and Partners Hold Meeting with Sierra Leone Government

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Along with the World Bank, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission, the Bank Group on Wednesday, July 23 had a wrap-up meeting with the Sierra Leonean government on the 2008 Multi-Donor Budget Support (MDBS) Progress Assessment Framework (PAF) review undertaken from July 14-23, 2008. Present at the meeting were the country’s Minister of Finance, the Financial Secretary and the Heads of the four Multi-Donor Budget Support (MDBS) Partners and their technical teams.

The 2008 PAF reviews benchmarks that were jointly agreed upon between donors and the government in 2007. These benchmarks cover four broad areas which include continued good macro-economic performance, satisfactory progress in Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), continuous improvements in public financial management, and respect for human rights. The MDBS partners acknowledged that the government’s overall performance was satisfactory in spite of economic and political challenges, as well as delays in budget support disbursements in 2007. They urged Sierra Leonean authorities to continue with efforts to address those areas needing improvement. Modalities are being worked out by MDBS partners and the government on how to improve budget support predictability and reduce its volatility, particularly as the current food and fuel price hikes remain a major challenge in 2008. Sierra Leone has also just concluded the second review of the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF). The Bank Group has begun preparing a budget support operation in collaboration with the World Bank for possible disbursement in early 2009.