UNCDF provides grants to local councils for capital investments in Local Economic Development
  • August 06, 2012

Under the Local Government and Economic Development Joint Programme (LGED-JP), UNCDF and UNDP are supporting Local Councils (LCs) in Sierra Leone to shift from service delivery oriented planning to comprehensive development planning considering income generating investments.

Freetown, SIERRA LEONE - On Friday 3 August 2012, UNCDF Sierra Leone signed Letters of Agreement with target LCs to provide funds for Local Economic Development (LED) investments in their localities. Under these LOAs, each LC will receive USD 200,000 for 2012 making a total of USD 800,000. The signing ceremony between UNDP (on behalf of UNCDF) and the target Local Councils’ Chairpersons took place in Freetown at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD). The ceremony was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural development (MLGRD) representing the Minister. The four target LCs of Kenema City, Kenema District, Moyamba District and Tonkolili District Councils will benefit from this initial Led investment funds.

The signing of the LOAs follows a series of preparatory activities whereby LGED-JP staff have supported LCs in reviewing their Development Plan by incorporating the LED interventions. So far, LCs in Sierra Leone only planned for basic service delivery in target sectors (Health, Education, Agriculture, Social Welfare etc.). Through a participatory process, economic development needs were assessed by stakeholders, discussed and prioritized at the Local Development Forum. Specific considerations were paid to gender issues and role of women and other vulnerable groups as beneficiaries of the projects. The Forum made recommendations accordingly to their respective Local Councils to review the Local Development Plans and incorporate the identified economic infrastructures. Sectors targeted are Food security (slaughter house, Cool room, Honey processing Factory, cassava Processing factory) Business Development (Business Center, Market Stores) and Entertainment (Youth Recreational Center).

Given the limited technical resources and experience of LCs in LED infrastructures, UNDP supported LCs in undertaking feasibility studies to ensure the viability and sustainability of the project identified. These studies also include the environmental Impact assessment of the projects. UNDP also entered into agreement with the Ministry of Works to support LCs in preparation of technical documents like BOQs, infrastructure technical drawings to constitute the biding package. Consistent with the LED approach, once completed, the infrastructures will remain the LCs’ properties while the management will be outsourced to private business operators through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

During the LED Forums in target LCs, UNCDF also supported the formation of LED Committees. This is a 5-mber group of development stakeholders in charge of championing the LED approach in their localities. They will also ensure M&E of the LED infrastructures from the construction to the operational phases. UNCDF will provide capacity building support in LED to these Committees to deliver their mandate.