Former AfDB boss to head Sierra Leone Central Bank

New Sierra Leone Central Bank Governor Patrick Saidu Conteh. PHOTO | FILE 

Former African Development Bank (AfDB) alternate executive director Patrick Saidu Conteh has been appointed Sierra Leone's Central Bank Governor.

President Ernest Bai Koroma appointed Dr Conteh to replace Dr Keifala Marah, who resigned to run for president next year.

Dr Conteh boasts of over 20 years experience in the financial sector.

His approval

He was until his latest appointment the Finance and Economic Development minister.

According to his biography, circulated on Wednesday, following his approval as per constitutional requirement, Dr Conteh served as director at the AfDB with oversight responsibilities for Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Sudan and Gambia.

Locally, he worked for the government-owned Sierra Leone Commercial Bank between 1996 and 2014, ending up as managing director.

The new Central Bank Governor has the task of fixing an economy undergoing turbulence after Sierra Leone came out of a two-year devastating Ebola epidemic, which coincided with the drop in iron ore prices, its major export.

The economy

Analysts say the most urgent issue Dr Conteh faces is stabilising the local currency, Leone, which was struggling against foreign currencies, particularly the US Dollar.

And Dr Conteh appears to be well aware of the weight of his task. He was quoted saying that despite recent improvement in the economy, it was moving too slow and needed pushing.

"We are back from a situation where the economy was on a negative growth and now witnessing positive growth. And the growth is a little slow and we need to put in place measures to ensure that growth is fast tracked."

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