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Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

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Governance

Sierra Leone

Following its brutal civil war, which ended in 2002, Sierra Leone was one of the poorest countries in the world, with an average life expectancy of just 41 years. During the decade that followed, the country took major strides to improve governance and was one of the most improved countries in the Mo Ibrahim Index over the period.

However, progress remains fragile, as the social and economic consequences of the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak and the collapse in demand for the country’s principal mineral exports have shown. The speed and resilience of Sierra Leone’s development and poverty reduction journey will be determined in major part by the effectiveness of its government.

Working together to run the Ebola 117 call centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone. 

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Tony Blair is an old friend to us in Sierra Leone dating back to the days when he was Prime Minister. Indeed, he helped us at a time when we needed it most. It is gratifying to note that he and his team are still with us providing advice to deal with the many challenges that we face.”

Ernest Bai Koroma President of Sierra Leone

Our team helped President Koroma’s government to introduce a Free Healthcare Initiative for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children. Before the Ebola crisis, this programme doubled the number of women giving birth in hospital, and saw recorded deaths among children treated for malaria fall by more than 80%.

Our work with the Ministry of Agriculture helped the government to push through agricultural reforms, which doubled rice yields in parts of the country and built 900km of new roads to provide farmers with better access to markets.

When Sierra Leone’s deepest crisis for years struck in 2014, our team supported the Government’s efforts to fight the Ebola outbreak. To deal with this shock, as well as the collapse in mineral exports, in the aftermath, we supported the government to develop a Recovery Plan to restore basic services and stimulate economic growth.

Our team of embedded advisors is also working shoulder to shoulder within a range of line ministries supporting the delivery of government priorities.

From 2015, we have helped the Delivery Unit coordinate and monitor the implementation of this plan with the Chief of Staff to the President, applying lessons learned from the crisis to assist the recovery.

We are now working at the centre of government, supporting the Office of the President to strengthen cross-government coordination and performance management. Our team of embedded advisors is also working shoulder to shoulder within a range of line ministries, including:

  • The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, on its internal reform process, improving prudent fiscal policy and financial reform of the energy sector;
  • The Ministry of Energy, on increasing Sierra Leoneans’ access to electricity by improving distribution networks and sustainably increasing on- and off-grid generation capacity;
  • The Ministries of Trade and Agriculture, on improving the competitiveness of 1,000 small and medium sized businesses and creating 10,000 jobs by mid-2017 in key agricultural value chains; and
  • The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, on rolling out a national programme to improve maternal and child health through training and deploying 15,000 Community Health Workers nationwide.

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