News / Africa

    Sierra Leone Government Targets Economic Transformation

    Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.
    Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.
    Peter Clottey
    Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma’s government has drawn up a 30-year plan to transform the country from a fragile low income state into a middle income nation.

    “As a way of doing that, we have developed what we now call our agenda for prosperity, which is a five-year cascading plan that will lead into an eventual 30-year posterity plan,” said Richard Konteh, the president’s chief of staff. “We are setting up a transformational development plan that will ensure that the returns from our natural resources are not overspent, but to reserve some for posterity, and that we will be able to invest to take care of the people going forward.”

    The prosperity plan, Konteh says, consists of eight main programs to stimulate economic growth. The eight include economic diversification, managing the country’s natural resources, accelerating human development, international competitiveness, labor and employment, social protection and women’s empowerment.

    Public records show that the youth make up about 60 percent of the country’s population. But a majority of them are unemployed and there are fears this could undermine the administration’s economic transformation efforts.

    Konteh says the government is moving to create employment opportunities for the youth.

    “We have set up the National Youth Commission and a separate ministry for youth affairs charged with the responsibility of ensuring that jobs are created for the youth and the interests and concerns of the youth are addressed,” said Konteh.

    He also said the government has plans to build a youth village to train young people how to develop skills needed in the job market.

    “What will happen in the youth village is that we will equip it with all types of possibilities for training so that you can go there get trained so that when you come out you get jobs immediately, either in the mines or on the oil rigs,” said Konteh.

    Some critics have said the government has not been effective in maintaining law and order especially, in the capital, Freetown, and that this has harmed the climate for business investment from both local and international investors. But, Konteh said situation is improving.

    “We have seen the restructuring of the entire security set up of this country and [are] setting up of the office of national security. We also have the intelligence unit set up to ensure that we are getting intelligence information useful for us to be able to take proactive decisions where actions are necessary and we are building the capacity of the police and building other security apparatuses across the country,” said Konteh.
    Clottey interview with Dr.Richard Konteh, the president’s chief of staff
    Clottey interview with Dr.Richard Konteh, the president’s chief of staffi
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    Comments
         
    by: Abdulai from: USA
    June 14, 2013 10:01 AM
    It’s a shame that after 6 years in power, this president and his gang of thugs have witnessed the scrapping of existing youth programs and the haphazard implementation of development programs handed down from the previous administration. This president has risen from a poor insurance broker to one of the richest West African leaders with all the behind the screens selling of the Sierra Leone natural resources. While the nation has slipped back into massive foreign debt; How does that feature in his 30 year plan?

    For a balanced view on progress made in Sierra Leone, VOA should endeavor to interview the opposition and some average street folks.
    In Response

    by: Tarawali from: USA
    June 19, 2013 1:28 PM
    I agree with you. The leadership of EBK is not one to write home about. no structured program or plan and after enriching himself he now wants to act or look like he cares for the people.

    by: Rev Patrick Wager-Felix from: USA
    June 14, 2013 9:15 AM
    A great plan, indeed. The President is a real Servant of the citizens of Sierra Leone. He seems unselfish. He cares a lot about his people. We will continue to pray for this leader and, for his country.
    God bless Sierra Leone!

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