21 JULY 2007
Piecing together a brighter future
THIS SUPPLEMENT WAS PRODUCED BY WORLD REPORT INTERNATIONAL LTD, WHO ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENT
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PORTS COMMERCE INFRASTRUCTURE CONSTRUCTION TOURISM MAURITIUS
SIERRA LEONE PROJECT TEAM: Project Director: Claudia LlinasEditorial Director: Julien Drolon Project Assistant: Muriel Touati MAURITIUS PROJECT TEAM: Project Director: Erika Garcia Mignaton Editorial Director: David Assad COVER ILLUSTRATION: Carmelo Aunion This supplement was produced for The Independent by World Report International Ltd, who are solely responsible for the content. World Report International Ltd is not connected or associated with any companyregistered in the United Kingdom bearing the same or similar name. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: World Report International Ltd, 2 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London SW7 3DQ Tel: +44 20 76296213
Sierra Leone was left in ruins by a decade of civil war. As it holds its first elections since the UN peacekeepers left, the small West African state is in far better shape than when PresidentKabbah was re-elected five years ago, but his successor will still face major challenges
Moving towards a brighter future
“We have come a long way. We also recognise that we have a long way to go.” Outgoing President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s reflection on Sierra Leone’s progress in the five years since the end of its brutal civil conflict would be hard to better as the country prepares for nextweek’s election. Voters can look back on a period in which considerable headway has been made towards consolidating peace, improving security and achieving macroeconomic stability – no small achievements considering the devastation in which the country was left by a decade of war. While it remains low in the United Nations Human Development Index, Salone, as it is known, has become one of the fastestgrowing economies in Africa. GDP growth last year was estimated at 7.1 per cent, inflation is down to around 6 per cent, the exchange rate has stabilised and national reserves stand at about $178 million, compared to $27 million in 2003. “The economy has turned around significantly,” says James Rogers, Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone. “The challenge we have now is to translate these gains intoquality of life for our population, into housing, electricity, education, health and infrastructure.” The government’s primary objectives have been to create the conditions for private sector-driven economic growth and to stimulate investment. “The way ahead is through private sector initiatives,” says Alpha Timbo, Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Social Security. “We need to make surewe attract outside investors for direct investment. There are a lot of opportunities here to make money.” Although blessed with significant mineral, agricultural and fishery resources, Sierra Leone lacks the financial resources to exploit their full potential and create the employment and better living standards the country needs. For that, foreign investment is required. “The government can onlycreate a limited number of jobs, whereas in the private sector, companies such as Sierra Rutile can generate thousands,” says John Karimu, Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority. Tax levels have been reduced to attract international investors back to the country. Steps are also being taken to improve infrastructure, particularly in the power, transport and telecoms sectors. “Ourprivatisation strategy focuses on how these utilities can be efficiently managed and developed,” says AR Turay, Chairman of the National Commission for Privatisation. Serious attempts have also been made to tackle corruption and improve governance and accountability in the public sector. The reforms initiated by the government won recognition last year when the World Bank and the IMF announced...
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