Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

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.

Sierra Leone's full economic potential is untapped. EU cooperation with Sierra Leone focuses on activities to improve basic services, bring about economic growth and reduce poverty.

EU assistance is helping Sierra Leone build broad-based economic growth to create jobs, raise incomes, improve food security and reduce inequality and poverty.

The National Indicative Programme for Sierra Leone outlines the main focal sectors of the EU cooperation with the country during the period 2014-20 under the 11th European Development Fund.

The Country Strategy Paper for Sierra Leone 2008-13 and a National Indicative Programme detail the areas for €266.2 million of EU funding to the country under the 10thEuropean Development Fund (EDF). The same priorities steered the cooperation spending – 2008-12 – of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). Sierra Leone is one of the countries where – to promote aid effectiveness among donors – the EU has programmed its cooperation assistance jointly with another member state.

The joint priorities are:

  • good governance,
  • institutional support and
  • rehabilitation of priority infrastructure.

Out of the total 10th EDF funding, €90 million is disbursed in the form of budget support to help the government of Sierra Leone reform public finance management and implement its poverty reduction programmes e.g. getting children to school.

The government has received an additional €24.2 million under the EU’s Millennium Development Goals Initiative MDG 4 (reduce child mortality) and MDG 5 (improve maternal health).

Cross-cutting issues such as human rights, the rights of children, youth and indigenous peoples, gender equality, environmental sustainability, disability and the fight against HIV/AIDS have been integrated into the majority of EU-funded programmes in Sierra Leone.

Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 6 453 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 50 years (male), 51 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - Low human development (2014): 0.413
  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2011): 52.3%
  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2011): 19.9%
  • Low income country - Gross National Income per capita (2010): 372 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2009-2013): 10%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015


  • In 2015, 81% of women in Bonthe District with children aged 0-23 months gave birth at a health facility (up from 38% in 2013)
  • During 2014 and 2015 all mothers had access to ante-natal care in Bonthe District during their pregnancy (up from 94% in 2013)
  • 11 000 pregnant women accessed health care in Kailahun District
  • 4 health facilities were upgraded to deliver basic emergency obstetric and newborn care in Tonkolili
  • 10 health facilities were upgraded to deliver basic emergency obstetric and newborn care in Koinadugu

Trade and Private sector development

  • Sierra Leone scored 54.87 on the World Bank Doing Business Report in 2014, which measures how business-friendly the environment is (up from 44.22 in 2011). Scores run from 0 (bad) to 100 (good)
  • A Trade Information Centre has been established and is running

Employment and Social Protection

  • 389 people with disabilities benefit from improved social inclusion through participation in new voluntary savings and loans associations
  • 2 500 family members of people with disabilities have benefitting from increased income generating capacity they have received training in life and  business skills, advice on employment, self-employment and start-up funding

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