Sierra Leone continues to pursue its development path amidst continued vulnerability to shocks and still fragile institutions. Despite a decisive health and economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, less than one in five Sierra Leoneans is vaccinated, and urgent challenges, such as food insecurity, persist. The authorities’ ambitious National Development Plan is showing first results in the education sector, but human development outcomes remain among the weakest worldwide. The COVID-19 crisis and the war in Ukraine has stoked inflation and exacerbated an exceptionally tight fiscal situation in the context of high risk of debt distress, severely limiting the authorities’ room to maneuver.
Following two emergency Rapid Credit Facility disbursements in June 2020 and March 2021 to assist in addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sierra Leonean authorities are committed to resuming the program supported by the Extended Credit Facility arrangement. The program is an important policy anchor for the authorities, and its main objectives—revenue mobilization, safeguarding financial stability, and addressing external vulnerabilities—remain valid. While an economic recovery is underway, driven by the mining sector, risks to the outlook are considerable and, the risk of debt distress is high but remains sustainable. This is predicated on the authorities’ ambitious fiscal adjustment and continued reliance on concessional financing and grants. External vulnerabilities are expected to persist over the medium term.
Sierra Leone has made significant strides to rebuild its public infrastructure after the devastating civil war, but the desperate infrastructure needs remain. At the end of the conflict in 2002, the country was left with virtually no infrastructure. Redevelopment of public infrastructure was ignited by the mining boom, which started in the late 2000s. Over the period 2008−18, public investment averaged 6.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), which has translated into an estimated capital stock of about 65 percent in constant 2011 GDP. However, a level of public investment is still lower than neighboring countries by about one percentage point. The level of capital stock per capita is one of the lowest in the region, only slightly above that of Liberia. Some districts still have no paved roads, no electricity, and no water systems, almost 20 years after the war.
Ali Compaoré, Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Rasmané Ouedraogo, and Sandrine Sourouema
While there is an extensive literature examining the economic impact of conflict and political instability, surprisingly there have been few studies on their impact on the probability of banking crises. This paper therefore investigates whether rising conflict and political instability globally over the past several decades led to increased occurrence of banking crises in developing countries. The paper provides strong evidence that conflicts and political instability are indeed associated with higher probability of systemic banking crises. Unsurprisingly, the duration of a conflict is positively associated with rising probability of a banking crisis. Interestingly, the paper also finds that conflicts and political instability in one country can have negative spillover effects on neighboring countries’ banking systems. The paper provides evidence that the primary channel of transmission is the occurrence of fiscal crises following a conflict or political instability.
The sharp decline in oil and other commodity prices have adversely impacted sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, the region is projected to register another year of solid economic performance. In South Africa, however, growth is expected to remain lackluster, while in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone the Ebola outbreak continues to exact a heavy economic and social toll. This report also considers how sub-Saharan Africa can harness the demographic dividend from an unprecedented increase in the working age population, as well as the strength of the region's integration into global value chains.
Mr. Joong S Kang, Mr. Alessandro Prati, and Mr. Alessandro Rebucci
We use a heterogeneous panel VAR model identified through factor analysis to study the dynamic response of exports, imports, and per capita GDP growth to a “global” aid shock. We find that a global aid shock can affect exports, imports, and growth either positively or negatively. As a result, the relation between aid and growth is mixed, consistent with the ambiguous results in the existing literature. For most countries in the sample, when aid reduces exports and imports, it also reduces growth; and, when aid increases exports and imports, it also increases growth. This evidence is consistent with a DD hypothesis, but also shows that aid-receiving countries are not “doomed” to catch DD.
This paper provides a semi-annual review of the status of financing for PRGF-ESF lending, subsidization of emergency assistance, and HIPC and MDRI debt relief. The last review was completed by the Executive Board on September 24, 2008. The paper does not address the G-20’s recent call for additional concessional resources, which is discussed in a separate paper.
This paper provides a semi-annual review of the status of financing for PRGFESF lending, HIPC and MDRI debt relief, and an update on the mobilization of resources for the subsidization of emergency assistance to PRGF-eligible countries. The last review was completed by the Executive Board on September 26, 2007.