“The situation in Sierra Leone is serious, the country faces a number of social and economic difficulties,” said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative Alvin Hilaire at a recently held news conference, at the Finance Ministry.
He said, “although you have growth of about 6.9% over the last three years Sierra Leone still ranked unfortunately at the bottom of the human development index 177.”
“78% of the population is living below the poverty line half of the population is under nourished and adult literacy is about 35%” underscored the IMF rep.
Mr Hilaire continued, “on the other side I should say the infrastructures still remains very weak, we still [see] the legacy of the war, the electricity, water and transportation system are all in need of serious repair. This is a fact [and] it is something that is quite evident,” stressed the IMF rep.
Underscoring Sierra Leone’s relationship with the IMF, he said, “Sierra Leone and the IMF, we have enjoyed a really long lasting engagement. Sierra Leone became a member of the fund in 1962, and has had a lot of financial arrangement with us. In the last decade alone there was five such arrangements- three from countries that are emerging from conflict and two Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) to all the low income members of the fund,” he explained.
Another aspect that does not often make the headlines, Mr Hilaire said, was “technical assistance.”
“There has been a lot of technical assistance that comes to Sierra Leone to discuss a number of items such as fiscal management, monetary policy, supervision, statistics etc. This is another important component,” he emphasized.
He urged the government of Sierra Leone to work hard in order to nudge the country from its deep rooted economic quagmire.