Freetown — A mission of the International Growth Centre (IGC) recently visited the country to conduct a study on implementation issues in Sierra Leone's export promotion strategy, with the objective of uncovering challenges in the implementation of the 2010 National Export Strategy (NES) and advising on optimal ways to address those challenges, based on world-wide experience and frontier economic analysis.
The mission took place from May 16 - 24, 2011 and was led by Marianna Belloc, University of Rome, and Michele di Maio, University of Naples, with support from Claudius Thomas, IGC Resident Representative, Rebecca Simson, IGC In-Country Economist, and Tom Coward, also IGC In-Country Economist. The IGC Country Director for Sierra Leone, Dr. Omotunde E. G. Johnson, joined the mission in its last four days, as part of a two-week consultation process to discuss IGC ongoing work in the country.
The mission held discussions with the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA); the NES Implementation Committee; the ministries of Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Fisheries, Mineral Resources, and Tourism and Culture; the Bank of Sierra Leone; the Commodity Monitoring and Marketing Unit; the First Step Special Economic Zone; Sierra Fisheries; the Chamber of Commerce; and several prominent business leaders and business enterprises in Freetown and the provinces.
The mission will prepare a full report in the next few weeks.
In an interview, Dr. Omotunde Johnson stated that in its preliminary discussions during the wrap-up session at SLIEPA, the mission noted, among other things, that to facilitate implementation of the NES, there was a need to improve certain capabilities in government and the private sector; the responsibilities of several institutions needed to be clearly defined; and the objectives of different programmes clearly identified and quantified.
There was also a need to increase the involvement of the private sector in informing policy design, thereby facilitating implementation and improving the effectiveness of the policies. There is therefore benefit to finding appropriate instruments to strengthen private sector participation. In addition, cooperation within the private sector needs improvement, as does the role of the universities in policy design and implementation.
The International Growth Centre offers independent advice on economic growth to governments of developing countries. Based at the London School of Economics and in partnership with Oxford University, the IGC is initiated and funded by DFID. The IGC-Sierra Leone programme focuses on private sector development and export diversification, the financial sector, and agriculture.
Specific areas of policy advice include improving the investment climate, intervention policies for export promotion, technical and vocational education and training reform, fostering effective cooperation among private sector firms, developing a coherent approach to nurturing a national innovation system, strategy to encourage commercial farming, and risk management in banking sector supervision.