Since the end the civil war (1991-2002), the situation in Sierra Leone, in West Africa, 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:
lack of justice
high youth unemployment
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.
The overarching strategic objective of the EU's relationship with Sierra Leone is to support the country's transition from a post-conflict situation characterised by structural poverty, lack of basic services and governance challenges towards a sustainable and inclusive development path.
The consolidation of democracy and human rights combined with job creation and employment opportunities in the productive sector and improved business climate are key priorities.
We support access to basic services and better-quality education as well as better access to food through increased agricultural production. On governance, we are continuing our dialogue with the government in the context of the ongoing State Building Contract, which aims mainly at improved public finance management and macroeconomic stability and ensuring basic social services in parallel. In the agriculture sector we focus on improved quality of production of both food and cash crops. The agriculture sector has a large potential for job creation and exports.
The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme (NIP) allocated €376 million for the 2014-2020 funding period. The focal sectors are:
Governance – supporting the overall improvement of public sector management both in terms of finance management including revenue generation, and improved capacity to deliver key basic services.
Education – aiming to make education more equitable and accessible; to improve student learning and make it more relevant; to reform Technical Vocation and Educational Training (TVET) and skills development; to strengthen the overall education governance.
Agriculture – contributing to the preparation and implementation of a comprehensive National Food Security Strategy, in the framework of the protection and restoration of critical ecosystems.
Transport – completing the last segment of the EU-funded Conakry-Freetown-Monrovia highway (Bandajuma to Mano River Bridge).