Poverty Reduction in Sierra Leone

African Development Bank responds to a request by the government of Sierra Leone for technical support for its poverty reduction agenda

By Vincent Nzemeke  |  Oct. 21, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

THE government of Sierra Leone has requested for technical support of the African Development Bank, AfDB, for poverty reduction programme. In response, the bank has launched a report that details the challenges and major opportunities for mainstreaming inclusive green growth into Sierra Leone’s 2013- 2018 poverty reduction strategy.

In the report titled ‘Sierra Leone: Transitioning Towards Green Growth; Stocktaking and the Way Forward,’ the bank outlined three main advantages for Sierra Leone as it moves towards an inclusive green growth path and predicted that the country can ensure quality growth; an improved international reputation; and an economy that is more efficient and competitive, generating employment opportunities while attracting additional development financing from the private sector.

Speaking on the report, Kaifala Marah, Sierra Leone’s minister of finance and economic Development said: “The Government of Sierra Leone and the AfDB share the belief that green growth can bring high-quality growth to all Sierra Leoneans, with more jobs, less pollution, greater resilience and better infrastructure.”

Cheikhrouhou
Cheikhrouhou

In the foreward on the report, Hela Cheikhrouhou, director of the AfDB’s energy, environment and climate change department, said it would enhance the country’s image. “Green growth can play a role in improving Sierra Leone’s image, as it completes its transition to a post-conflict country committed to transparent governance and high-quality, sustainable growth.”

The report also outlines key principles of green growth and explores the main development opportunities and challenges for engaging in green growth in Sierra Leone. The authors also make a number of suggestions for further integration of green growth in the country’s development strategy. However, the report cautions that there are specific conditions for a successful implementation of green growth, including political leadership, adequate policies and incentives, development partner support and communications. The report was produced through literature review, technical analysis and extensive consultations with national authorities, development partners, private-sector representatives, and non-governmental organisations. It benefited from inputs from AfDB managers and sector experts.

A knowledge product, the report is part of the work undertaken by the AfDB in the context of its 2013-2022 strategy, whose twin objectives are “inclusive and increasingly green growth”. Kurt Lonsway, AfDB manager in charge of environment and climate change, says: “the transition towards a greener economy is even more critical in African countries for which strong growth relies on efficient natural resources management and climate-resilience.”

Also commenting on the report, Yero Baldeh, AfDB’s Sierra Leone resident representative, said the bank would continue to support Sierra Leone in implementing its green growth vision, in a pragmatic manner, through the new bank’s country strategy paper for 2013-2017.  “Our concept of environmentally sound growth is neither prescriptive nor dogmatic. In the case of Sierra Leone, both parties agreed to work together to define what green growth means for a fragile state in Africa, realistically and in alignment with the development stage of the county.”

Sierra Leone authorities have mainstreamed green growth into the country’s development strategy, which they define as “developing infrastructure, energy, and cities sustainably, managing renewable and non-renewable natural resources efficiently, and building resilience for the benefit of its citizens.” The country is endowed with abundant natural resources – including fertile land, fisheries, abundant water, forests, minerals, oil and gas – all of which form the basis for a rich and diverse economy. Properly managed, these endowments will provide a lasting supply of food while contributing to export revenues and financing for social and infrastructural development.

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