Medium-Term National Development plan: A call for people's participation and ownership
Today I will touch on a topic for which two sayings are particularly relevant. The first is the saying that goes: "Failing to plan is planning to fail," by Benjamin Franklin. The second is "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there," by Lewis Carrol.
It is on the pillars of the above quotations that I wish to draw attention to the ongoing engagements on the Medium-Term National Development plan.
The Sierra Leone Medium Term National Development Plan 2019 - 2023 themed 'Education for Development' aims to promote a new direction for improving People's Lives through Education, Inclusive Growth, and Building a Resilient Economy.
In addition to prioritizing Human Capital Development as the first policy cluster in the new plan, the medium-term development plan identifies specific and critical results like economic diversification, governance and accountability for results, infrastructure, and economic competitiveness.
In developing the plan, a wide cross-section of society were consulted locally and internationally, over a period of seven months. This included development partners, government institutions, local communities, the private sector, civil society, the community of persons with disabilities, local councils, government agencies, the civil service, local councils, non-state actors, the international community, trade unions, all political parties, Parliament, academia, and many more constituencies.
During the consultations, Sierra Leoneans and developments experts identified and discussed what they perceived to be critical for the immediate and medium-term development of the country. Over the past few weeks, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MOPED) has been undertaking community-led engagement with stakeholders in at least nine districts so far. The objective is to ensure effective decentralisation of the Medium-Term National Development Plan.
The Honourable Minister of Planning and Economic Development Dr. Francis Kaikai has said, these follow up engagements with the stakeholders at district levels will enable the government to understand how to progress on delivering the plan in line with the development priorities of each district. The government will reflect on these engagements to map out important milestones and an effective and comprehensive monitoring of projects.
Stakeholders in each district have been asked to review the plan and ascertain whether their priorities have been adequately captured. This approach reiterates His Excellency the President Dr. Julius Maada Bio's commitment to building an inclusive and resilient society that reflects the views, aspirations, and vision of every Sierra Leonean.
We are thus in the process of developing a people-centred National Development Plan. We can however only achieve the goals of the medium-term national development plan if we sustain the momentum of drawing on the energies and creativities of our people, to grow an inclusive economy that is anchored on an empowered society. The ongoing engagements are particularly important. All avenues of breaking down the contents of the plan to the understanding of ordinary citizens will need to be explored. District authorities, traditional leaders and the media should contribute views that truly reflect the aspirations of our people. They should mobilise communities to take an interest in the process.
The theme 'Education for Development' is apt as the plan will ultimately need a massively improved human capital base to ensure successful implementation. Quality education for the masses of our people holds the key to their empowerment and our escape from poverty into prosperity.
We now have a plan and we know our destination. Let all of us get involved in charting the path.
Lonta ka da Bai! For Love of Mama Salone!
Yeama Sarah Thompson