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IMANIFESTO Report: How Sierra Leonean Politicians Plan to Fix Country’s Challenges, IMANI’s Analysis and Recommendations Ahead of the March 7 Presidential Elections

Executive Summary

Several developmental challenges have emerged in Sierra Leone following the civil war of 1991 and the Ebola crisis in 2014. In the run-up to the 2018 election, the two major political parties have both launched manifestos that highlight their plans to address the current developmental issues. This report seeks to assess the extent to which the manifesto promises of the All People’s Congress (APC) and Sierra Leone’s People’s Party (SLPP) deal with these challenges. It also identifies dissonance between the policy directions proffered by the parties and the developmental challenges of the country and offers some suggestions on the effective implementation of the promises. The analysis covers 8 sectors: Economy, Job creation, Agriculture, Governance, Education, Health, Energy and Infrastructure. Data sources for the assessment include, 2018 Manifestos of the APC and the SLPP, Budget and Economic Statements, the Agenda for Prosperity, World Bank reports, project and news reports among others.


The Sierra Leonean economy appears to be on a recovery trajectory following the Ebola epidemic and the collapse of commodity prices. GDP growth rate, which decreased by 20.5% in 2015, has since increased to 6.1% in 2016 and is estimated to have grown by 6% in 2017. Though the World Bank projects a positive economic outlook in the medium-term, several developmental challenges exist. The economy is characterized by weak domestic revenue mobilisation and public financial management, high rate of youth unemployment, food insecurity, a very huge infrastructural deficit and only 13% of the urban population having access to electricity. In addition, only 13.3% of the population have access to improved sanitary conditions which may seriously impact health. The educational system also faces significant
cost barriers despite the introduction of free basic education.


In the run-up to the 2018 election, several promises have been made by the two major political parties to address these challenges. In some instances, both parties had a similar approach to address a particular challenge while in other cases the proposed solutions were different. Some gaps were also identified in the proposed solutions. The IMANI assessment admonishes the winning party to focus on the following: initiate steps to widen the tax net through formalization and efficient addressing systems; provide an enabling environment through a continuous and deliberate reform agenda; increase agricultural productivity and adopting a robust rural electrification strategy that exploits the renewable energy potential of Sierra Leone. To combat corruption, the winning party should comply with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act by declaring assets and liabilities publicly. Finally, to improve on gains made in the health sector, the sanitation sector must be given adequate attention.

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