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Development Effectiveness Review on Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is one of the success stories among countries emerging from conflict. After 10 years of civil war, its economy, infrastructure and institutions were heavily degraded, and its human development indicators were some of the worst in the world. However, with a series of peaceful elections and the closure of the UN Peacebuilding Office, Sierra Leone has succeeded in restoring political stability and has launched an ambitious process of national reconstruction and development.

In recent years, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has strengthened its capacity to work effectively in countries affected by conflict and fragility. In 2008, it established a Fragile States Facility to channel an additional US $2.5 billion to countries in transition from conflict to sustainable development. In 2014, it adopted a new strategy, Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa 2014–2019, which aims to make the Bank a leading actor in helping African countries address the root causes of conflict and fragility and achieve more resilient and inclusive development.

This Development Effectiveness Review (DER) reviews the Bank’s performance in supporting Sierra Leone’s post-conflict recovery from 2005 to 2014. It shows the practical results of our commitment to working more effectively in countries in fragile situations. It also demonstrates how the Bank helps its partner countries weather shocks and setbacks, such as the Ebola crisis. Throughout the document, we present results data from the Bank’s Results Measurement Framework, using traffic-light indicators to show how we performed against our targets. We also tell the story behind the numbers by presenting examples of our operations at work and testimony by beneficiaries.

Like other DERs, this Review is written in a straightforward and non-technical manner, so as to share the AfDB’s objectives, operations and results with partners and stakeholders in Sierra Leone and beyond. In addition to supporting our commitment to transparency, it serves as a useful management tool for our purposes, as we continue to adapt our support to a complex and rapidly evolving context.

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Level 1: Development in Sierra Leone

The first chapter looks at Sierra Leone’s progress in the 12 years since conflict ended in 2002. Following a long period of conflict and political instability, Sierra Leone has made remarkable progress in its efforts to promote peace and stability. Since 2002, the country has disarmed and reintegrated ex-combatants, resettled refugees and internally displaced people and conducted three peaceful elections, transferring power peacefully between political parties. It has restored basic services and rebuilt essential infrastructure, creating the foundations for a return to prosperity. These achievements were marked by the closure of the UN Peacebuilding Mission in March 2014 and its replacement by a development mission.

The legacy of conflict and fragility is by no means overcome. Over half of Sierra Leoneans still remain below the poverty line, and levels of health and education remain low. However, until the Ebola crisis, the country was making better economic progress than most countries in fragile situations, with higher-than-average growth rates.

In 2014, the Ebola epidemic caused extensive disruption to national social and economic life. The full impact of the crisis is yet to be seen, but it has certainly affected the real economy and private sector activity. It is crucial that the country emerge quickly from this setback and return to its path of national development. 

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Level 2: How AfDB contributes to Sierra Leone’s development

This chapter sets out how the Bank has supported Sierra Leone’s national priorities of promoting peace, stability and economic development in the years since the civil war. The country programme was put on hold during the conflict from 1991 to 2002, but since the end of the conflict, the Bank has supported Sierra Leone in its journey of recovery, helping to rebuild state institutions, restore basic services and promote growth and employment. Overall, we have contributed US $350 million in grants and concessional lending between 2005 and 2014. This year, the Bank responded quickly and flexibly to the Ebola crisis, providing $60 million as part of a wider regional package of $223 million. 

This chapter is organised according to the three main phases of our work in Sierra Leone, as set out in the three national poverty reduction strategies, which form the foundation of our various Country Strategy Papers (CSPs). It assesses whether our operations have delivered on their targets and contributed to rebuilding state institutions and promoting national development goals. We aggregate the results from individual projects that closed between 2005 and 2014 for which we have results data, to build up a picture of the Bank’s contribution to Sierra Leone’s development. We also present a number of examples of our more innovative work in Sierra Leone. 

Throughout the post-war period, we have sought to be a strategic partner to Sierra Leone, providing investment finance, policy dialogue, capacity building and technical support. Under the Government’s leadership, the Bank has worked closely with other development partners to support Sierra Leone’s transition from post-conflict recovery to sustainable development.

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Level 3 How well AfDB manages its operations in Sierra Leone

This chapter examines how well the Bank is managing its operations in Sierra Leone. We take stock of how well the Bank has responded to the challenges of working in a fragile, post-conflict environment through flexible funding, robust programme designs and appropriate delivery arrangements. We also review the policy advice to the Government and joint work with other development partners to promote aid effectiveness, in line with the Bank’s commitment to the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States.

To measure progress in Sierra Leone, we have 19 indicators in Level 3 of our results framework, together with targets for 2015. These indicators help us monitor our performance in strengthening results, designing quality operations and delivering efficiently. We also assess our progress on promoting gender equality.

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Level 4: How efficient AfDB is as an organization in in Sierra Leone

This chapter assesses how well the Bank manages its own organisation in Sierra Leone. It looks at the three main themes that the Bank has identified as key to its organisational capacity: decentralisation, high-quality human resource management, and efficient business processes. Each of these has associated indicators and targets.

Part of the Bank’s approach to building its capacity in fragile states is to increase its physical presence in-country through decentralisation. Since we established our Sierra Leone country office in 2007, the country team has been progressively strengthened and given more management responsibility. This has helped to deepen the quality of our dialogue with the Government and our collaboration with development partners. It has also resulted in improved management and supervision of our operations.

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