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 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.