It was a pleasure for the g7 +Media Team to meet Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Madam Mabinty Daramy, during the g7 + Technical Meeting in Kinshasa. Early this year we were able to reconnect for an interview and began by asking her to share her impressions of the meeting.
Deputy Minister Daramy: My first impression was that as a group the g7 + can be a formidable force in influencing the Global Development Agenda and also help direct the attention of the international community to issues affecting g7 + countries such as the conflict in CAR.
Secondly, I enjoyed the oneness of purpose. Unlike other meetings I have attended, the g7 + Technical meeting was not about special interests, it was about one focus – what we need to do as a group to make aid more effective. I noted that despite the diversity in the group, there was a meeting of minds and the desire to move our countries out of fragility so much so that when decisions were taken they were in the interest of the group and not a particular country. As a result the meeting lasted for hours and late into the night without complaints from participants. I was also impressed with the commitment of participants to the meeting and the friendliness with which it was conducted.
G7 + Media: At that meeting you reported a number of exciting developments regarding the New Deal in Sierra Leone. Can you update us on some of these such as the Compact and the Dashboard, the nation-wide sensitization of the New Deal and indicator Piloting?
Deputy Minister Daramy: For us in Sierra Leon4e localizing the New Deal was a priority immediately after Busan. We started by conducting a Fragility Assessment the findings of which were inputted into the development of our Agenda for Prosperity (AIP) which is our one vision one plan. Next: we developed a Mutual Accountability Framework. (MAP) as our COMPACT within the New Deal Framework. The TRUST principles are also largely addressed with the MAF. To ensure effective implementation of the MAF, we developed a Dashboard consisting of the results framework of the Agenda for Prosperity, the Busan indicators, the PSG indicators, the MDGs public financial management and human rights indicators as well as the Millennium Challenge Corporation indicators.
We recently signed the MAF at the Presidential Development Partnership Committee (DEPAC) meeting held on 4th February 2014. Going forward we will review progress in the implementation of the MAF at the Quarterly DEPAC meetings.
G7 + Media: Sierra Leone seems to be on a good pathway, what is ahead in 2014?
Deputy Minister Daramy: 2014 is going to be a busy year for us. We are undertaking the New Deal survey. This process has begun with data collection and knowledge sharing. We will continue with our nationwide sensitization of the New Deal as we implement the MAF. Furthermore, we want to update the Fragility/Assessment and establish a New Deal – Civil Society forum. Most importantly we will be looking forward to hosting the Global Meeting of the international Dialogue on Peace building and State building on 17-19 June 2014. This will afford us the opportunity to share experience and learn from the experience of other g7 + countries as well as our friends from NCAF.
G7 + Media: What would you consider the main strengths of Sierra Leone?
Deputy Minister Daramy: We are a very religious and tribal tolerant people. Intermarriages between tribes and religions are very common and we accommodate each other regardless of tribe or religion. There are many families with Christians and Muslims living together in perfect harmony. These are problematic issues in many countries in the world from which conflicts usually result. Thankfully our conflict had nothing to do with tribe or religion. For this, we consider ourselves to be really blessed.
G7 + Media: What are your main challenges?
Deputy Minister Daramy: Our main challenges are addressing poverty and providing jobs for our young people. Our population like in many other g7 + countries is youthful. That is why our Agenda for Prosperity which is our third PRSP focuses on job creation particularly for the youth. We are using a two prong approach in addressing this challenge. We will first make the youth employable by providing them with the skills needed in the job market and then create the environment for them to get these jobs. It is all part of our inclusive growth strategy that ensures that everyone is included in and benefits from the development process.
G7 + Media: Deputy Minister we would like to know a little more about you and about your day-to-day life in Sierra Leone.
Deputy Minister Daramy: As a Born Again Christian, my day-to-day life in Sierra Leone starts with prayers, then I head for my office where I am in charge of revenue and tax policy matters in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. This involves putting policies and measures in place so maximize the mobilization of revenue from taxation for use in the development of the country. I also deal with issues relating to developing and streamlining incentive policies for multinational companies. I sit in a high level policy task force with the responsibility of cutting down on leakages and broadening the tax base.
As the Minister in charge of New Deal, I work closely with the g7 + and New Deal Focal Person in the Ministry on all New Deal issues I end my day typically with the way it starts-prayers.
G7 + Media: How long have you been the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development and what were some of your different roles before this one
Deputy Minister Daramy: I have been Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development since January 2013. Prior to that, I was Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Trade and Industry from November 2007 to January 2013. Before assuming ministerial responsibilities, I worked as a Senior Accountant at the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board for many years before proceeding to the United States of America. I worked as a Financial Planner and managed a portfolio of US$50 million, a job I held until I was called upon for ministerial duties back home.
G7 + Media: When you are not working in your role as Deputy Minister what activities do you enjoy?
Deputy Minister Daramy: I enjoy praying and interceding for my family and my country. I have three lovely boys currently residing in the US. So I use my leisure time to talk to them and try and perform my duties as a mother.
G7+ Media: What are some of the favourite past times of Sierra Leoneans?
Deputy Minister Daramy: Taking time to relax on the beach and attending family functions. The young people, especially young men enjoy football or soccer a lot especially the English Premier League.
G7 + Media: Lastly Deputy Minister, is there any message that you will wish to pass on to your fellow g7 + members though this newsletter.
Deputy Minister Daramy: I see the New Deal as the way forward for making development cooperation more meaningful in our countries. Through the one vision, one plan, we are able to present our development challenges in a coherent manner and for better results. I therefore urge governments in the g7 + to give more priority and prominence to the New Deal implementation. If we can achieve what we commit ourselves to within the New Deal, we will be able to stabilize our economies, consolidate our peace and achieve our development goals. Only then can we effectively plan our way out of fragility.