The Hon. Resident Minister East William Juana Smith has formally launched the 2007 National Human Development Report titled Empowering local Government for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction: The District Focus approach to development’’. The regional launching of the report which took place at the Holy Trinity hall along Blama road in Kenema city attracted stakeholders from the region.
The report covers decentralization, economic situation, human development, education, and poverty in Sierra Leone, health, socio economic trends, water and sanitation, housing, agriculture among others.
Launching the report Hon. W. Juana Smith said decentralization has great potential in bringing about many gains to human development by allowing local government to formulate and implement policies that are conducive to local government and facilitating broad base participation in the decision-making concept.
The United Nations Development Programme Specialist Stephen Bainous Kargbo said in the 2007 Global Human Development Report (GHDR), Sierra Leone’s human development index based on 2005 data is 0.336, which is greater than the 2004 index of 0.333. Life expectancy at birth increased by around three years over the last fifteen years (1990-2005), GDP Per capita declined by 13% to 806 dollars, and the gross enrolment ratio grew by 16 percentage points to 44.6%. Because of lack of adult literacy trend data, the HDI trends for Sierra Leone were not calculated.
Let me take this opportunity through the chair he said to appeal to the government of Sierra Leone to put some emphasis on data management in the country. One of the reasons for Sierra Leone’s last position in the Human Development Index he said is the unavailability of (reliable) data on the country. However, we must all work harder to lift Sierra Leone from the bottom he urged.
Adding that the socio-economic indicators presented in the NHDR show Sierra Leone is much better picture, and this is because the latest (2006) national level data were used in the preparation of the report. The HDI, for instance is 0.384 (instead of 0.336 as in the GHDR), and life expectancy since 1990 has increased by nine (9) years (instead of only three years as contained in the GHDR).
In his contribution, the Director of Local Government Aiah Lebbie said local government and decentralization is the only way out and that is the reason for popularizing the report.
He however called on the selected representatives from the country to work towards the development of their communities.
The meeting attracted participants from the civil society movement countrywide.
Earlier the chairman of the occasion Mustapha Koroma who is also the chief administrator of the Kenema City Council said the country is among the under developed countries in the world, but expressed gratitude for the report which he said will help in the formation and implementation of policies for development of the country.