EVERYONE knew Dennis K.Vandi, Sierra Leone’s current Finance Minister, was destined for higher responsibilities, back in 2018, when the newly elected President Julius Maada Bio drafted him from his civil service position to be his Secretary.
No one was really surprised when President Maada Bio kicked Vandi upstairs shortly after to take charge of the strategic Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, apparently based on his stellar performance and contribution to the President’s flagship New Direction Development Agenda. The country’s economy watchers knew it would be a stepping stone for even bigger duties and were proven right when Vandi took over the nation’s finance portfolio at Freetown’s busy George Street offices of the Finance Ministry on May 12, last year.
In June this year, Minister Vandi proved his mettle and administrative savvy. He signed the commendable Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) with the Saudi Fund for Development. The deal gives Sierra Leone the much-needed breathing room to put its finances in good order after the ruinous effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, incidentally, slammed all economies of the world.
Remarkably, the Minister took the opportunity to sign the DSSI agreement during a five-day working visit of a Saudi delegation following up on ongoing projects like the Rehabilitation and Expansion of Fourah Bay College, the Construction of 100 Solar Boreholes and the Education Support Project. The Saudi Fund is ploughing $25 million into Sierra Leone and the country is also on cue to benefit from the Saudi-sponsored Salman Hospital project, which the delegation took time to appraise for commissioning.
The Minister is particularly happy that an elated President Maada Bio, a known lover, and advocate of education, is committed to personally commissioning the Education Support Project in all beneficiary schools and colleges.
A seasoned administrator and Public Finance specialist with over 35 years of professional experience in the public sector, Vandi has been instrumental in the development and management of different segments of Sierra Leone’s economy. Before assuming his current treasury role, he was the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) who pioneered major “policy shifts” in the agricultural sector. Starting in the National Civil Service structure from Assistant Secretary to Senior Deputy Financial Secretary, he served in virtually all various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), including Defence, Finance, Labour, Education, Agriculture, Local Government, Transport, Tourism, and Provincial Administration. His immense knowledge of the workings of government MDAs has been an asset to the nation.
Vandi holds an MBA from the Durham Business School in the UK and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Njala University. He also earned postgraduate certificates in Public Finance and Tax Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
A disciplined and result-oriented professional, Vandi has demonstrated the ability to build effective teams and drive positive change. Convinced of the imperativeness of sound economic policies and private sector investments, he has no doubt that his native country will weather the storm of the current global uncertainties and challenges.