Capacity Development Talk: Strengthening Education and Health Spending Policies in Low-Income Countries


Location: Cedar Hall, HQ1-1-660


Closing service delivery gaps in education and health care is crucial for inclusive and resilient growth. Sierra Leone’s efforts to close these gaps led to its capacity development collaboration with the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department. This CD Talk discusses tools to assess education and health policies—including distributional aspects— and the importance of coordination across line ministries and among development partners to enhance social outcomes. This recent collaboration marked the first time IMF teams have provided hands-on training on education and health spending policies.





Fernanda Brollo, Senior Economist, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF

Fernanda Brollo is currently a Senior Economist in the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund. Since she joined the Fund in 2018, she has been engaging in several areas related to expenditure policy topics, including energy subsidy reforms, public sector wage bill, social protection, and costing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She provides capacity development to country members, supports area departments, and conducts analytical work in all these topics. She has published in top academic journals, such as American Economic Review, Journal of European Economic Association, Economic Journal, Journal of Development Economics and American Political Science Review. She has previously worked at the University of Warwick and the University of Alicante and taught in different graduate programs. She obtained Her Ph.D. in Economics from Bocconi University in 2010.




Sheku A. F. Bangura, Minister of Finance, Sierra Leone

Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura, the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Sierra Leone brings 30 years of experience on economic and development management issues at national, regional and international institutional levels.  He was Deputy Minister of Finance 1 and 2 from January 2020 – January 2023, Chairman, of National COVID-19 Response (April 2021 – January 2022) and Deputy National Coordinator (Admin and Finance) of COVID-19 Response for the Republic of Sierra Leone (May 2020 – April 2021). He served as Senior Advisor on the Executive Board of the World Bank Group in Washington DC, USA for a decade (2007 – 2017) providing fiduciary and corporate-level advice on economic development programs.

He was also a Consultant on the development effectiveness of World Bank interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Africa Region Vice Presidency for 2 years (August 2017 – December 2019). Mr. Bangura was Principal Economist (2003 – 2006) and Senior Economist (July 2001 – December 2002) at the West African Monetary Institute, Accra, Ghana from July 2001 to January 2006 providing regional surveillance and management advisory to the West African regional monetary integration program. He has a track record in public finance management and economic governance at the national level serving as Director of Fiscal Decentralisation in the Ministry of Finance in 2006-2007 and as Economist managing public debt in the earlier part of his career in 1993 – 1999 at the Ministry of Finance, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. 

Mr. Bangura interned at the International Monetary Fund with the Policy Development and Review Department in October 1998 and April 1999 working on external debt management and HIPC Initiative. Mr Bangura holds a Master of Economic Policy Management from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, a Master of Public Policy (Public Finance) from The American University in Washington DC, USA and a Bachelor of Economic and Social Studies (Honours in Economics) from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He is married with three children.


Daniel Giorev, Head of Unit in charge of Sustainable Development Policy and Global Partnerships with UN and IFIs, European Commission 

Daniel Giorev is Head of Unit in charge of Sustainable Development Policy and Global Partnerships with UN and IFIs at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA). The unit notably oversees EU development relations with UN, World Bank IMF, OECD as well as important processes such as G7 and G20. He has previously worked as the policy adviser to DEVCO’s Director-General (2017-2019).

He was Member of Cabinet to European Commission Vice-President for Budget and Administration, Kristalina Georgieva (2014-2016), overseeing among other tasks EU’s external action budget and the security of the EU institutions. In this period, he also acted as Ms Georgieva’s Sherpa in her role as co-chair of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing.

Between 2010-2014, he was Member of Cabinet of European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, overseeing EU response to a number of county and regional crises as well as specific themes such as education or the visibility and communication of EU’s crisis response work. He worked on creating EU Children of Peace initiative, the lasting legacy of the Noble Peace Prize received by the EU in 2012.

Mr Giorev started his career as a lawyer and an EU trade negotiator, working on WTO issues and Free Trade Agreements. He holds degrees from the College of Europe (LLM), the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne and King’s College London.


Owen Smith, Lead Economist for West Africa, World Bank

Owen Smith is a Lead Economist with the World Bank’s Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice, currently based in Washington DC (soon to be Accra) working for the West African Region.  Since joining the World Bank in 2005, he has worked extensively on health financing and health policy issues in the Europe and Central Asia and South Asia regions. He is a co-author of Getting Better: Improving Health System Outcomes in Europe and Central Asia and Going Universal: How 24 Countries are Implementing Universal Health Coverage. Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked as a health economist at a consulting firm with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and as a macroeconomist at the Canadian Department of Finance with a focus on East Asia.