The European Union and the Government of Sierra Leone last week signed a 60 Million Euro (Le630 billion) “Jobs and Growth” program to provide much needed boost to human capital centered sustainable development in these difficult times.

The program is aligned to the EU’s support to GoSL’s ongoing “Quick Action Economic Recovery” program.

As such, the 60 Million euro EU jobs and growth program will provide affordable financial services, better maintenance of feeder road, improved basic education and job oriented training for young people; as well as support women in starting businesses.

EU Ambassador Tom Vens at the signing ceremony commented that, the EU stands with Sierra Leone in the difficult times, joking that, “We may have to practice social distancing but our solidarity jest gets stronger.”

The program will be implemented with GoSL’s long-standing development partners – United Nations Capital Development Fund, ILO, World Bank and GIZ.

The EU Ambassador announced that under the Jobs and Growth program, EU is also expanding its support to fight against COVID-19 with an additional 5.5 Million Euro (Le58 Billion) earmarked to reinforce the country’s social safety net program which provides direct income support to the most vulnerable.

Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai and the National Authorizing Officer Ambrose James noted that in addition to testing the resilience of our people and our healthcare systems, COVID will have a significant impact on businesses and the economy.

“Our Quick Action Economic Recovery program is to ensure essential commodities are available, and to maintain price stability, support hardest hit businesses to enable them continue operations, provide safety nets to vulnerable groups, support labor based public works and provide assistance for local production and processing of staple food items.

They commented that by supporting the country at this time, EU has demonstrated the strength of its commitment to our continuing development partnership.