Umaru S. Jah, Information and Communications Attaché-Germany
In an effort to further provide improved access to adequate, safe and reliable water supply and public sanitation services in the country, Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Jongopie S. Stevens has, on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone, signed a loan agreement with the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) in Vienna on Wednesday 22 February 2017.
The OFID loan of US$13, 150 Million is an additional funding to a three towns water supply and sanitation project in Bo, Kenema and Makeni with the African Development Bank and was co-financed by OFID in 2011.
Despite its broad objectives coupled with recent setbacks in the country, Ambassador Stevens said the initially approved project has since been completed, adding that, even though the project achieved an output of 184 km of distribution network, there are still large areas of the three cities that are not covered.
“The population of the three cities is now about 550,000, an increase of nearly 180,000 people,” he noted and further emphasized the need for an extension of the facilities hence the additional financing of US$13,150 Million as supplementary funds to the project, to cover additional activities targeting areas that were not included initially.
Shortly after the signing ceremony, OFID Director-General, Mr. Suleiman J. AI-Herbish, renewed his organization’s interest in further strengthening cooperation with Sierra Leone. He said access to adequate, safe and reliable water supply and public sanitation services in the three towns of Bo, Kenema and Makeni will contribute to improved sanitation in schools, health centers and other public places.
“It is estimated that thousands of people living in these areas would benefit from the completed project,” he affirmed.
Since the cooperation between Sierra Leone and OFID started in 1976, the latter has extended eighteen loans to Sierra Leone. The total value has reached USD 150 million. The approved loans supported education, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation sectors.
OFID had also contributed to the reduction of Sierra Leone’s debt under the HIPC Initiative, thereby allowing the release of funds for the development of vital social sector projects. The country has also benefited from OFID Grants aimed at both Regional and National Programs.