In July this year, Ms. Kenyeh Ballay was appointed Minister of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) by His Excellency Rtd. Brig. Dr. Julius Maada Bio after the June 24 polls 2023 general elections
Her appointment came from a strong academic and professional background. She holds an MSc (Econs) in Social Planning from University College, Swansea, South Wales and a BA(Hons) Social Studies from Hull University in UK.
Kenyeh Barlay started her high school education at the Annie Walsh Memorial School where she sat to her O’ Levels in the 70’s, and later move to City of London School for Girls, and St Georges School, Rome, Italy and finally sat to her GCE A’Levels at the Davies College, Southampton Row in London.
She is a consummate development planner with over 35 years of experience in the area of planning and economic development, working with both Governmental and International organisations.
Kenyeh commenced her career in 1984 at the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning (MODEP). In 1997 she became the Director of the African Development Bank funded, Social Action and Poverty Alleviation (SAPA), which she had designed 5 years prior, whilst at MODEP and was subsequently transferred to the then National Commission for Resettlement, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (NCRRR) which is now known as the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA).
The SAPA Programme under Ms Kenyeh Barlay’s leadership was one of the most successful post-conflict reconstruction initiatives of the Government of Sierra Leone. The programme tackled the issue of poverty through the rehabilitation and reconstruction of social and economic infrastructure (including schools, health Centres and markets), access to finance and skills training interventions focused on women’s economic empowerment.
Her most recent assignment before her appointment by President Bio was, as a member of the Executive Board of the African Development Bank (AfDB). As Executive Director on the AfDB Board, she represented the countries of Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sudan. Her responsibilities on this board were to provide oversight and strategic direction to the Bank Group, as well as over the period of her tenure chairing two board committees, namely: the Committee on Administrative Affairs and Human Resource Policy (CAHR) and Board Committee on External Communications and Annual Meetings (ECAM).
At the forefront of the microfinance movement in Sierra Leone, Ms. Barlay became the Director of the NaCSA Microfinance Programme after she successfully transitioned the SAPA programme into a National Microfinance Programme. From 2007-2011 she continued in the field of microfinance policy development and implementation as the UNCDF Country Technical Adviser to the Launch of an Inclusive Financial Sector project, in Liberia.
2013-2016, Ms. Barlay coordinated the World Bank and JICA-funded West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) for the Mano River Union (MRU) Sub-region. The programme’s objective was to contribute to rice productivity increase in the MRU countries through the generation and accelerated adoption of improved technologies, and regional rice market integration.
Throughout her career, Kenyeh Barlay has also carried out national and international consultancy assignments in the areas of poverty alleviation, access to finance, women’s economic empowerment and gender equality, land rights, agriculture, strategic planning, human capacity development planning, amongst others.