View of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Progress and reform under very difficult circumstances

Sierra Leone is on an encouraging path towards political stability and democratic rule. Since the end of the civil war in 2002, fair and peaceful elections have taken place regularly. Julius Maada Bio’s government, which has been in office since 2018, is pursuing development-oriented reform policies that actively involve civil society.

Sierra Leone is considered an excellent example of conflict resolution with international support and the successful restoration of governmental and societal structures. The highly challenging societal context, recurring famine, precarious food security and widespread poverty remain a risk to political stability and social peace, however.

Straight to
Advertising sign at the border of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s recent history has been marked by huge suffering and distress. Between 1991 and 2002, the country experienced one of the most brutal and violent civil wars Africa has seen in recent decades. Tens of thousands were killed or seriously injured, children were abducted and forced into combat, women and girls were subjected to sexual violence, and 60 per cent of the population was displaced. Much of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed.

In 2014, just 12 years after the end of the civil war, an Ebola epidemic broke out in Sierra Leone, with disastrous consequences for the economy and society. The country has yet to fully recover, and its development has been further set back by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) ranks Sierra Leone 181st out of 191 countries.

German development cooperation with Sierra Leone

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has been supporting Sierra Leone since 2006 as part of its regional “Fragile States of West Africa” programme. The focus areas of this bilateral cooperation are:

  • the core area “Sustainable economic development, training and employment”, and
  • the initiative area “Health, pandemics and One Health”.

Germany has supported rehabilitation and reconstruction in Sierra Leone with a total of 136.31 million euros since 2010. The latest commitment of ten million euros was made in the course of a visit by the former German Development Minister Gerd Müller to Sierra Leone in June 2021. In the wake of the 2014/15 Ebola epidemic, Sierra Leone received additional funding from the special programme “Health in Africa”.

The BMZ is also promoting responsible natural resources policies in fragile West African states as part of a regional project. The members of the Mano River Union – which include Guinea, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire alongside Sierra Leone – receive support with the aim of helping to increase government revenue from natural resources, improve working and production conditions in the extractive sector, monitor the activities of mining companies more effectively, and increase the transparency of payment flows.

Germany also supports numerous NGOs working in Sierra Leone, in particular in the areas of training and education, health, land rights and the rights of women and girls.

Coconut seller at Lakka Beach ferry terminal

Core area “Sustainable economic development, training and employment” Developing infrastructure and promoting the local economy Internal link

Germany’s support in this area aims to generate employment and income opportunities, particularly for young people in rural areas. In order to stimulate the local economy, German development cooperation measures promote selected value chains, such as cocoa/coffee, rice and livestock farming.

Patient at the Princess Christian Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Initiative area “Health, pandemics and One Health” Strengthening the healthcare system and preventing infections Internal link

The healthcare system in Sierra Leone has serious shortcomings. On behalf of the BMZ, KfW Development Bank is funding projects that aim to prevent and stop the spread of HIV infections. A further goal is to improve the status of women in society in order to prevent gender-based violence – including female genital mutilation – and enable rights-based family planning.

Current situation

The president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio
Street scene in Freetown
Advertising sign at the border of Sierra Leone

As at: 03/02/2022