Overview

Macroeconomic Context

Sierra Leone’s economy proved resilient in the face of two major exogenous shocks: the Ebola epidemic and collapse of iron ore prices and associated loss of production in 2014-2015. Since the last quarter of 2015, economic growth has resumed, and it remains on an upward trend, supported by new investments in mining, agriculture and fisheries. The recovery underway, according to International Monetary Fund projections, is expected to remain sustainable over the medium term.

Real Gross Domestic Growth (GDP) is projected to recover from -21.1% in 2015 to 4.3% in 2016.

However, Consumer Price Inflation continues to rise on account of exchange rate pass-through and accommodative monetary stance. Rising from a base of 9.5% (year-on-year) in December 2015, inflation has reached 10.9% in July 2016. Exchange rate pressures remain unabated. The local currency (the Leone) depreciated by 20.4 percent (year-on-year) in June 2016.

The overall fiscal balance (excluding grants) is projected to recover slightly from -9.6% of non-iron ore GDP in 2015 to -8.1% in 2016. Total domestic revenue collection amounted to Le1.32 trillion, slightly above the program target of Le1.31 trillion for end-June.

The medium-term outlook is expected to improve given that the twin shocks have now largely dissipated. Under the baseline scenario, the IMF projects the medium-term growth to gradually pick up to around 6.5% by 2020 from 4.3% in 2016. Inflation is projected to decline to 7.5% by 2020 from the current level in 2016.

Political Context

Sierra Leone conducted its third democratic elections in 2012 since the end of the 11 years civil war in 2002 that claimed the lives of over 50,000 Sierra Leoneans. The current President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, is serving his second and final term, which ends in 2017. ; Elections for president, government and Parliament will be held in early2018..

The 1991 Constitution is being reviewed and a draft is expected to be presented to the President by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) in the second week of October. A referendum to vote on the new Constitution follows in 2017. A national population and housing census was conducted in 2015 and provisional results released early this year by Statistics Sierra Leone.

Development Challenges

Until the outbreak of Ebola in May 2014, Sierra Leone was seeking to become a transformed nation with middle-income status, but the country still carries its post-conflict attributes of high youth unemployment, corruption and weak national cohesion. The country continues to face the daunting challenge of enhancing transparency in managing its natural resources and fiscal policy. Problems of poor infrastructure and widespread rural and urban impoverishment still persist in spite of remarkable strides and reforms.

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2016

Because of the EVD outbreak the World Bank Group (WBG) continues to engage and operate in the country in the frame of its Joint Country Assistance Strategy (JCAS) with the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). WBG continues to work closely with other development partners to support Sierra Leone in fighting poverty, promoting economic development and improving living standards. The JCAS is building on ongoing reforms in the economy, the energy sector, rural and private sector development, decentralization, infrastructure, public financial management and the social sectors.

WBG also supports policy reforms and macroeconomic management through budget sustenance (provided in harmonization with other budget support donors), and in the areas of human development, infrastructure & productive sectors, and governance. WBG is also focused on strengthening country systems, and helping to build the demand for good governance. A new CAS/CPS to support Sierra Leone's Poverty Reduction Strategy III (20013 - 2018), "Agenda for Prosperity” is being prepared and it is expected to be delivered to the WBG Board by end of 2015 or early 2016. In line with the Government’s Agenda for Prosperity (A4P) and its post Ebola Recovery Programme, the WBG will be delivering its three-year International Development Association (IDA) program in two years. This will contain agriculture ($40 million), health ($30 million), budget support ($20 million); social protection ($10 million); resilient cities ($30 million); energy ($30 million). 

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2016

Economic Governance

International Development Association (IDA) resources have been used directly in funding policy and institutional reforms. Higher spending in these areas helped to secure improvements in service delivery and sector outcomes. Significant improvements were also made to public finance management. The Multi-Donor Budget Support dialogue had contributed to maintaining a positive trajectory of change on governance issues.

Through the Decentralized Services Delivery Project 2 (DSDP 2) project, grants have been provided to local councils (LCs) to complement inter-government fiscal transfers and flow in the areas of health and sanitation; education; rural water; solid waste management; and social assistance services for the disabled and other vulnerable groups. Achievements in this area include organizing capacity building training for LCs, Ward Committees and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs); organizing seminars and a devolution forum to strengthen the links between LC staff and national key stakeholders; effective joint monitoring of LCs by DecSec, Local Government Finance Department (LGFD) and the Integrated Project Administration Unit (IPAU); and the organization of orientation workshops for newly elected Councilors, Gender/Social Welfare Officers, and Information, Education and Communication Officers. Salaries and grades for core staff across LCs have been harmonized. Findings from the most recent CLoGPAS have been used to tailor capacity building programs for LCs and to strengthen their ability to undertake their mandate more efficiently. Civil society monitoring teams have been recruited and trained across the country in an effort to monitor LC service delivery.

Human Development

Through concerted efforts by government and its partners, the country is now on a ‘bumpy ride’ to zero Ebola infection cases with a countdown to 42 days starting last weekend. Delivered goods and services under the Ebola Emergency Response Project include vehicles -ambulances; motorbikes; food; medical supplies; water storage facilities; hazard payment; contact tracers; social mobilization activities; international responders etc. The Reproductive and Child Health Project 2 (RCHP2) has provided utilization of essential health services by pregnant and lactating women and under-five children. PHU facilities have been rehabilitated and some upgraded to BEMONCs. Staff in many facilities are receiving Performance Based Financing as incentive on top of their salaries. The RCHP2 also supported the Ebola response in the areas of PPEs and medical supplies etc. 

Around 46,000 against the target of 29,500 benefited from the Youth Employment Support Project. 45% were females against the target of 30%. Beneficiaries of the Cash for work program include 36,393 against the target of 23,500. Of those temporarily employed, 16054 were women against the target of 7,050. The Beneficiaries of the skills development and employment support programs stood at 9600 against the target of 6,000 youth. Of those trained, 4,864 were women against the target of 2,400. The project had positive impacts on women’s empowerment, by reducing the incidence of domestic violence and increasing their control over contraceptive use. It also increased utilization of health services, and accumulation of asset and income levels of beneficiaries improved. The project also supports the information and communication activities for youth and social mobilization in four targeted districts to help contain the spread of the EVD disease. This measure benefited 11600 households.

Revitalizing Education Development Project:  In order to address the main challenges of the education sector caused by the EVD outbreak, the Bank through the Revitalizing Education Development Project, has helped the Government delivered its emergency radio broadcasting programs during school closures; procure and distribute over 46,000 of the 70,000 hand washing stations covering about 60% of the country’s 9000 schools; disinfect schools previously used as holding centers and clean other schools prior to reopening; launched a grassroots social mobilization campaign aimed at parents and communities to help disseminate information about returning to school; provide school feeding to encourage the most vulnerable of children to return to school. 

Infrastructure and the Productive sectors

The Rural and Private Sector Development Project has established working relationships with all 13 elected district councils of the country, approved matching grants to 75 Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs) with a total membership of nearly 5,000. These grants have provided storage sheds, drying floors and processing equipment for the FBOs. The project supported the creation of cocoa cooperatives with a membership of nearly 13,000 people; the rehabilitation, financial and post contract management of nearly 530 kilometers of feeder roads, (excluding over 500km rehabilitated under phase 1), providing capacity building in procurement of contractors for rehabilitation and routine maintenance; the establishment of seed nurseries and distributed over 1.2 million cocoa seedlings and other planting materials for rice, cassava and cocoa to farmers, which is helping improve productivity and rural incomes; and the establishment of a market information system and initiated studies to support the creation of food safety standards to boost exports. 

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2016

Under the Multi-Donor Budget Support (MDBS) Framework involving the World Bank Group (WBG), the African Development Bank AfDB), International Development Association (IDA), European Union (EU), and Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID), coordination among members and with the government has improved over the past few years. The Bank also enjoys close collaboration with United Nations (UN) institutions and other development partners.

The WBG will continue to utilize IDA resources and make use of IDA fiduciary and safeguard systems to leverage additional resources from Trust Fund partners to support Sierra Leone in pursuing key priorities in its Post Ebola Recovery Plan and PRSP III (Agenda for Prosperity). 

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2016


LENDING

Sierra Leone : Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments