Over the past decade researchers and practitioners have documented the deterioration of state institutions and the rise of corruption in Sierra Leone. The decade-long civil war, during which the public sector suffered incalculable losses both in terms of human skills and infrastructure, clearly played a role in this declining trend as did the persistent economic downturn and political instability. Despite its abundant natural resources and highly educated human resources, Sierra Leone received the lowest value of the United Nations Human Development Index. Improving governance and combating corruption will play a key role in Sierra Leone’s economic development.
In an effort to seriously address the issue of poor governance, the Sierra Leone government created a National Strategy for Good Governance in 1997. This first step was thwarted however, by the onslaught of civil war. Still persistent in combating corruption, President Kabba passed the Anti-Corruption Act (ACA) in 1999 which established the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in 2000 with the mandate to investigate allegedly corrupt practices and prepare cases for prosecution. As a result of the ACC’s limited achievements and increased public skepticism about the government’s true commitment, Sierra Leone launched a Good Governance Program and sought WBI support.
This in-depth analysis of governance in Sierra Leone is based on detailed experiential information from three separate surveys of 1800 households, 600 enterprises and 590 public officials. Such comprehensive diagnostic analysis has often provided the much needed input for policy makers and civil society for related program formulation and implementation. Moreover, by focusing on institutions and their performance, it promotes open and constructive dialogue among key stakeholders from both the government and civil society.
The rich data collected from the diagnostic surveys is used to establish quantitative benchmarks for monitoring the success of the institutional reforms already underway and, if necessary, to redirect them to concentrate efforts on priority areas. The findings were summarized in a report with the aim of providing objective and experiential information to the government for the design of a holistic and integrated reform policy meant to improve government accountability and transparency and to reduce corruption.
Following the report, the Steering Committee, GRS, ACC, and WBI have and continue to disseminate the results so as to spread awareness about governance in Sierra Leone.
- National Workshop, October 28-29, 2003, Freetown
- First Regional Workshop, April 2-3, 2004, Bo
- Second Regional Workshop, April 5-6, 2004, Makeni
After the diagnostic work is complete, it is up to the Steering Committee to create a governance and anti-corruption strategy which the government will then implement accordingly. Below are links to the Sierra Leone Anti-corruption Strategy and the initiatives of the government to improve governance and combat corruption.
As stated earlier, the Sierra Leone government created a National Strategy for Good Governance in 1997 as part of a national effort to seriously address the issue of poor governance. While this Strategy was never implemented because of the onslaught of civil war, it is worth mentioning and can be found at the link below.
On October 28-29, 2003 the Governance Reform Secretariat (GRS), in collaboration with WBI, organized a National Action Planning Workshop. The main objectives of the National Workshops were to present the findings of the GAC report and to draft a governance and anti-corruption action plan based on the results of the diagnostic survey. After a plenary discussion on the key problem areas, the 130 participants broke into working groups to draft specific responses and actions to combat corruption and improve governance. The outcome of the working groups will be compiled by GRS into a draft National Governance Strategy and will be discussed in four Regional Workshops planned for next year.
L-R: Mr. Osho Coker, Chair of Governance Reform Secretariat (GRS);
Mr.S.E. Berewa, Sierra Leone Vice President; Mr. Val Collier and
Mr. Charles Annor-Frempong, World Bank Representative
Local Capacity Building
The Report on the results of the Governance and Anti-corruption Diagnostic Surveys was released at two Regional Workshops in the cities of Bo and Makeni on April 2-3 and April 5-6. The Regional Workshops, coordinated by the Anti-Corruption Commission, offered the opportunity to discuss the findings of the Diagnostic Surveys and to identify key areas for reform. During each Regional Workshop the participants drafted a local governance action plan. To review and compile the draft action plans into a comprehensive National Governance Strategy, the Government of Sierra Leone established the National Steering Committee chaired by the Minister of Finance. The regional and the national action plans are currently being reviewed by the National Steering Commission and will be integrated in the National Governance Action Plan in October 2003.
Emerging from the Good Governance Program, the Governance Reform Secretariat (GRS) has become the focal point for Sierra Leone public sector reforms. Before creating a strategy, the GRS (in collaboration with WBI) established a Steering Committee comprising representatives from the ACC, civil society, Statistics Sierra Leone, the media and the international community. The Steering Committee, chaired by Mr. B. Osho Coker, lead the diagnostic survey process.
Steering Committee for Sierra Leone
For additional information regarding WBI's diagnostic work in Sierra Leone, please contact:
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