January 11, 2023
One of the aspirants for the Flagbearer for the All People’s Congress (APC) Party for the 2023 elections, Dr. Kaifala Marah has formerly unveiled his “Vision of New Hope for Sierra Leone: A Decisive Choice of Creating Wealth and Jobs” at the new City Hall in Freetown.
The new hope vision, sets out his thoughts for transforming Sierra Leone under the aegis of the APC Party.
According to Dr. Marah, his Vision of New Hope “is not a manifesto but rather, an outline of my intent and reasons why my comrades should consider granting me the task of leading our party into the 2023 Presidential elections.”
Dr. Marah said it aims to build on the legacy of former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the foundation he laid for private sector led growth, economic transformation and infrastructural development. “It is anchored on the peace, social cohesion and institutions that former President Koroma built upon as created by former President Dr. Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.”
He maintained further that his New Vision, “is also an embodiment of my restless thought process on why, for sixty-one years since independence, amidst so many opportunities and natural resources, we have not achieved the common goal of fostering economic development; even though poverty reduction has been our lead approach to national development for the longest period and that regardless of our efforts, our country is still facing major development challenges.
He pointed out that the country is facing “a serious economic challenge” influenced by external factors in particular, the Russia-Ukraine war, but that the manner in which the current government is handling the situation has made the situation even worse, and turned it into an economic crisis.
“We don’t have to ask beyond why our currency, the Leone, is half the value of Guinea’s currency, which has always been the other way around. We have also witnessed a devastating depreciation of the Leone against other major currencies with the official exchange rate increasing from Le7,623.02 to the Dollar in March 2018 during our administration to Le14,745.80 to the Dollar in September 2022. Depreciation of the Leone on the parallel market is even higher, Dr. Marah points out.
He explained that following the announcement of the Leone re-denomination in 2021, the currency depreciated considerably sharply by 21.9 percent year on year against the US Dollar in June 2022.
He further explained that the World Bank (2022) report indicates that Sierra Leone is currently at high risk of debt distress, having one of the highest levels of indebtedness in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Dr. Marah, who served in former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s Government as the longest serving Minister of Finance and Economic Development, it is in response to these enduring issues among several others confronting the country, that he wishes to lay bare his leadership experiences and the vision he is proposing for the kind consideration of delegates to the APC party National Delegates Convention later this month.
“I am therefore entreating the delegates, party officials, party supporters to trust my sense of discipline and style of work, his performance record, organisational ability, experiences in managing a challenging economy, the milestones and successes I have achieved in government and the international leadership I have built over the years, to provide the solutions”. Dr. Marah stated.
Dr Marah is former Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone. He served as Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Sierra Leone from Dec. 2012 to March 2016. He is known for introducing discipline in budget execution and economic management reforms. He was Chair of the g7+ (as association led by finance ministers of 20 fragile and post-conflict states) and Co-Chair of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State Building. He also served on the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender from 2013 to 2015.
He was Chief of Staff to former President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, and was the State House Chief of Staff from 2010 to 2012. He coordinated government activities and advised the President on policy and management issues. He provided collaborative links between ministries, departments and agencies to implement the President’s Agenda for Change and provided technical oversight for the Strategy and Policy Unit at State House, the Cabinet Oversight Monitoring Unit, extra governmental political groups and development partners.
He attained prominence in financial governance and economic management at the Commonwealth Secretariat as advisor on public expenditure management for Commonwealth developing countries. He operationalised the Commonwealth Heads of Government Mandate on public expenditure management as well as provided advisory, training and policy development services to developing Commonwealth countries.