Since the end the civil war (1991-2002), the situation in Sierra Leone has progressively improved and the economy has started to grow. The country is still, however, one of the poorest in the world and its full economic potential is untapped.
The main development challenges are:
- Economic challenges of stagnation, unemployment and low productivity;
- Social challenges of poverty, inequality, precariat combined with population growth;
- Weak governance and fragile democracy;
- Environmental challenges of biodiversity loss, degrading ecosystems and climate change.
The Government has neglected education since the end of the civil war resulting in, among other things, a lack of skills at all levels, which was revealed during the Ebola epidemic. Corruption remains widespread, directly affecting the poor.
EU interests and priorities focus on socio-economic development not only for the prosperity of Sierra Leone’s citizens but also as a critical ingredient for national stability and security.
The key challenges for the EU’s engagement are to address the social, economic, democratic, and ecological development challenges, and deep gender imbalances, strengthen democracy and improve the accountability of institutions, reduce inequalities and poverty, and enhance domestic resources mobilization to provide social protection.
EU's prospects for a resilient, prosperous, and peaceful Sierra Leone have led to the following priority areas which aim to achieve the necessary levels of growth and development.
We are promoting the bases for a green and resilient economy to provide decent jobs and a sustainable, inclusive green economic transformation. The focus will be on access to modern energy, increasing sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy for jobs and growth, and strengthening sustainable food systems consisting of employment-oriented agriculture and fisheries for better health and nutrition. Finally, ecosystems & biodiversity include restoring, managing, and protecting terrestrial and marine biodiversity and ecosystems.
This priority area will focus on basic, technical, and vocational education and training while improving the quality of literacy and numeracy. It will enhance the skills and qualifications of the population which will expand comprehensive social protection in order to reduce vulnerabilities and generate growth.
For a just, inclusive and safe society, we strive to ensure democratic institutions, voice and accountability, and checks and balances that will strengthen democracy, peace, and social cohesion. Better government effectiveness and public service delivery at the national and local level shall leave no one behind while enhanced economic governance will underpin sustainable economic and social policies, advancing public finance management, transparency, and domestic resources mobilization.
The Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Sierra Leone for 2021-2024 amounts to €245 million.
Priority area 1: ‘Green Economy’ aims to increase access to sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy for productive use, households, and communities, expanding green entrepreneurship, business development, and broadened use of technologies and digitalization. It also aims to more economic, social, and environmentally sustainable food value chains that increase employment, food security, nutrition, and gender equality with a focus on improving sustainable livelihood for people and the community to reduce threats to biodiversity and ecosystems.
Priority area 2: ‘Human Development’ advocates for improved access, attendance, retention, completion, and learning outcomes of inclusive and equitable quality early childhood, primary and secondary education and increased efficiency, effectiveness, and resilience of the education system in order to provide quality education.
Priority area 3: ‘Governance’supportselectoral reform and a consolidated democracy where elections are conducted efficiently with improved accountability as well as enhanced gender-sensitive legislative and budgetary processes. Moreover, there is a need for an improved social, economic and political participation of women, girls, youths, and vulnerable groups. Finally, fair and efficient taxation is promoted for accountable, transparent, efficient, and gender-sensitive public spending.