Majority of Sierra Leoneans want the country to finance its own development even if this
means they have to pay more in taxes, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.
Majority of the respondents say that if the country receives external loans or development assistance, these should be tied to strict requirements about how the resources are used and to the promotion of democracy and human rights, a majority of citizens say.
The government established the Sierra Leone Local Content Agency to promote local
businesses and entrepreneurship. However, the survey shows that citizens are divided on whether to shield domestic producers from foreign competition, and most want foreign owned retail shops that will ensure a wide choice of low-cost consumer goods.
Key findings of the survey were that majority (61%) of Sierra Leoneans want the country to finance its development from its own resources, even if it means they have to pay more taxes (including 40% who “agree very strongly” with this approach).
Only about a quarter (24%) prefer the use of loans from foreign countries and institutions to develop the country.
Only about four in 10 (38%) say foreign donors or lenders should allow our government
to make its own decisions about how to use the resources.
A slight majority (52%) want donors or lenders to enforce strict requirements on how resources are spent. Nearly six in 10 respondents (57%) say that donors should make sure the government promotes democracy and human rights, while only one-third (33%) want the government to be free to make its own decisions on democracy and human rights.
Half (51%) of Sierra Leoneans say that in order to develop, the country must rely on trade with the rest of the world, including by opening its borders to foreign imports. But almost the same proportion (45%) want the country to rely on local production and protect local producers from foreign competition. Seven in 10 Sierra Leoneans (71%) say the government should continue to permit foreigners to set up shops in the country to ensure a wide choice of low-cost consumer goods.
The Afrobarometer team in Sierra Leone, led by the Institute for Governance Reform,
interviewed 1,200 adult Sierra Leoneans in March 2020. A sample of this size yields country level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.
Previous surveys were conducted in Sierra Leone in 2012, 2015, and 2018.