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Sierra Leone Policy Brief

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Policy Brief to Finance Minister of Sierra Leone: Strategies to Improve Economy and Citizen Well-Being

November 12, 2007

I. Executive Summary

The issue facing Sierra Leone is the on-going challenge of restoring economic vitality and citizen well-being subsequent to civil war destroying its physical and social infrastructure. Sierra Leone continues to be plagued by numerous human rights injustices, monetary mismanagement, and political corruption. The combination of the above, along with an established culture that puts tribal customs ahead of economic advancement, continues to impede an uncomplicated solution to a large socioeconomic problem. It is ultimately up to the government of Sierra Leone to take notice of the socioeconomic problems, review potential solutions, and put forth efforts to benefit the ongoing progress of the country and its citizens.

Sierra Leone needs to review several solutions in its on-going efforts to restore economic vitality and citizen well-being including: developing a people-centered policy framework; enhancing governance both locally and internationally; assembling financial resources while attracting foreign direct investment; enhancing citizen education; and enhancing agriculture and the local environment. While these solutions do not hold the answer to all of the country’s problems, it provides a framework and collaborative start to enhance economic positioning and citizen well being.

While many policy issues have one or two best solutions, this is not the case. Sierra Leone is in need of numerous solutions in order to thrive, not only the suggestions mentioned within this policy brief, but also additional ideas provided by top international policy makers that fit into the culture and advancement of the citizens. One solution is not the answer for this complex, political, and moral problem. The solutions must be based on sound government and sound policymaking. It is evident that foreign aid in itself will not help the country prosper. Until governance and the political bodies implement multiple solutions, prosperity for the citizens may never ensue.

II. Introduction and Problem Statement

The issue facing Sierra Leone is the on-going challenge of restoring economic vitality and citizen well-being subsequent to civil war destroying its physical and social infrastructure. This brief will review the solutions available to Sierra Leone, the policy issues at stake, and why the issue is important.

Realizing the significance of the problem for some time, the peace agreement of July 1999 Between the Government of Sierra Leone

and the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, while evidently not a solution to the issues within the country, provided the opportunity for the World Bank and IMF to facilitate programs and opportunities to stimulate the economy. In order to enhance the economy even further, the government of Sierra Leone must not only utilize international aid, but also focus on sound policy making to help the country’s socioeconomic progress.

III. Background: The History of the Issue and Its Context

Economy

The enhancement of the economy will only come from the government

reviewing the country’s economic position, social structure, and

political structure before making decisions on the correct course of

action.

As of 2007, total population is estimated at 6.2 million people,

with an annual growth rate of 2.3 percent and projected real GDP

growth averaged 7 percent in 2006, largely supported by increased

activities in the Agriculture, mining and construction, and services

sectors. (Department of State and World Bank, 2007). Sierra Leone is

rich in natural resources, namely diamonds, gold, forest, and fresh

water. Sierra Leone’s mineral exports are its largest foreign

exchange. Annual production estimates range between $250-300 million

(Department of State, 2007). While this is a large earner, the

minerals continue to cause conflict and illicit activity, therefore,

in

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