By Amadu Lamrana Bah
World Bank Sierra Leone Country Manager, Parminder Bra, at the Annual Meetings
World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone, Parminder Brar, believes skills development and quality education were critical to help grow the country’s economy.
Speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington D.C, Brar said the discussion on human capital at the meetings was very important for Sierra Leone, especially as the Bank was developing a new project for the country on skills development and reforms in the education sector.
“Sierra Leone has all the natural resources and the only way to grow its economy is through skills development and improvement in the education sector,” said Mr. Brar.
He pointed out that there was huge potential for improvement with skills development that will prepare the middle-level manpower, create jobs and livelihood for young people, noting further that the Bank’s new project will focus on education, improving on the already existing institutions, professionalizing the teaching profession, as well as providing a demand-led skills development initiative.
“We are focusing on education and the teachers, as well as bridging the skills gap for the industry and productive sector,” he noted.
On the deliberations at the meetings, Brar said the Sierra Leone delegation held fruitful engagements on the different projects that the Bank is supporting. He maintained that there will be additional support to existing ones.
The World Bank support to Sierra Leone will double in the course of the next three years to the total sum of over US300 million. A US$10 million additional financing was recently approved by the Bank on revitalizing education development in the country. The project aims to improve the learning environment in targeted schools and establish systems for monitoring of education interventions and outcomes.
The 2017 Africa’s Pulse report, a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies conducted by the World Bank, states that countries need to invest more in human development to build robust and diversified economies. To this, Brar said they will work with the government and other partners to develop the country’s human resource.
The Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.