The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) has relieved the Government of Sierra Leone of a debt of about US$9.7 million in net present value terms under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.
According to the Director-General of BADEA, Mr Abdel Aziz Khelef, the rescheduling comes as a result of BADEA’s willingness to participate in the HIPC Initiative, which is in line with other multilateral financing institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Speaking during a signing ceremony in Freetown, Mr Abdel Aziz Khelef said by the end of March 2008, BADEA’s assistance to Sierra Leone had reached US$65.33 million to finance 14 developmental projects.
He said BADEA’s operations covered 43 eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to a number of regional organizations.
The Director-General said projects selected by BADEA were those directed towards improving the living conditions of the people, easing pressure on them and reducing poverty.
The projects particularly related to rural development and the environment such as rural water supply and sewage, or those aiming at reducing negative impact of drought and desertification, were in line with current approaches to development, he said.
“The operations of BADEA range from infrastructure, agriculture and rural development, rural water supply, electricity, rural roads, animals and fish production, energy, industry, social and the banking sectors over and above all, technical a ssistance operations,” said Abdel Aziz Khelef.
Signing on behalf of the Government, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Momodu Kargbo described the debt relief as a “privilege” and said Sierra Leone was enjoying such privilege as a result of a long standing partnership with BADEA, which spanned several decades.
The Deputy Minister said the signing ceremony was another milestone in the country’s development cooperation with BADEA.