During the ceremony, the EU signed grants with the Local Councils of Bombali, Kenema, Pujehun & Kambia. The actions foreseen under the four grants seek to strengthen the capacity of the selected councils to mobilise own revenue and to deliver efficient services to the communities in partnership with the private sector and civil society organisations.
Each council grant will cover a range of jointly prioritised investments in sectors such as agriculture, infrastructural development, water and sanitation, energy and social services. The actions will also provide a significant contribution to the country’s decentralized response to COVID-19.
In his statement, EU Ambassador Tom Vens emphasized: “As EU, we believe in the principle of subsidiarity and in people centred development. Only if we are close to the people can we deliver the services that matter. That is what decentralisation is about: handle at local level what is best done at local level. This is not just about relevance and efficiency. It also allows for greater accountability. Resources should always be to the benefit of the people”.
During his keynote address, the President conveyed a strong message of thanks to the EU: “For all the good work you continue to do, thank you, Ambassador Vens. You are helping save lives. Let me also publicly thank the European Union for its collaborative work with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists on the “TRUEtok bot Corona” series devoted to fighting disinformation. It is regularly broadcast over several media and engages young persons and the public on topics around Corona.”
In attendance were also the Ministers of Local Government, Finance, Planning & Economic Development and Youth as well as the Resident Ministers North and North West, the Chairpersons and Chief Administrators of the 4 councils, traditional authorities and other dignitaries.