Essay on Governance in Sierra Leone


The policymaking has played an important role in different countries ranging from its level of adoption. There are many functions which are depended on the policymaking process of an organization or department in an economy. The governance in a country is very important for understanding these policies in depth and ensuring a proper attainment of the goals and objectives by any government across the globe (Williams and Tunde 2006).
Sierra Leone, also known as the Republic of Sierra, serves to be a country in the west of Africa. It has Guinea towards its north, Liberia towards the south-east direction and towards the south-west direction, it has the Atlantic Ocean. Its population as per the 2011 United Nations census was around 6 million. It has its economic and political center at Freetown, which also serves to be its capital. It is the largest city in the country which is followed by the Bo city. For the purpose and ease of administration, Sierra Leone has been divided into 4 major regions on the basis of its geography and these four regions are the:
• Eastern Province,
• Western Province,
• Northern Province,
• Southern Province.
These provinces are further divided into 14 sub provinces, also known as districts. This helps in smooth functioning of the economy and proper administration can be carried out throughout the country. The framework of law and policy making would be developed accordingly, considering the welfare and overall development of the sub provinces and districts.

There are more than 16 different ethnic groups in Sierra Leone and this leads to huge diversity in the customs, traditions, the ways of living and life style of the people. These 16 inherited ethnic groups in Sierra Leone have their own languages and hence, it makes it very difficult to bind them through a firm law developed in one specific language among the 16 languages which are being used by the ethnic groups. The most widely used language in the country which is highest spoken in Sierra Leone is the Krio language. English is the language which has been accepted officially in the schools, governance and policy management by the government. At the same time, the main focus of the government is to make their citizens ready for a global exposure and hence, English has been gaining importance and respect in these regions.
Among these 16 ethnic groups in Sierra Leone, Temne and Mende are the two ethnic groups which occupy the highest area in the country. Among them, Temne people mostly occupy the northern region of the country, whereas the Mende people occupy the south-east region of the country. This advantages have been used for the handling of the government and political affairs of the country throughout the different regions and policies related to the law, international and national trade, governance and administration framework. It has a majority of its population following Islam and are Muslims and the contribution of such population in the economy of Sierra Leone is about 60% of the total contribution. 30% of the population follows different religious beliefs and traditions which are obtained through the inhabitation of different civilizations in the country. The main function of the selection and adoption of these languages is to develop a strong legal and policies framework which would help in developing appropriate international trade relations with other countries across the globe. This would help in smooth handling of the governance and would maintain a prosperous and peace in the country.

Thus, on the basis of the above description, a thesis has been developed which revolves around evaluating and analyzing the governance systems in Sierra Leone, political structures and legal framework which binds its administration. It also involves developing and identifying the important elements for the development of trade and international relations with other countries across the globe (Cartwright 1970). This is described through a statement which has been developed as follows:
Thesis statement:
The local governance in the Sierra Leone region of West Africa is self-sufficient and efficient.
Identification of the main challenges
There are many challenges posed before the country due to its poverty. It has an extremely low Human Development Index as compared to the other countries of the world and this can be seen by its HDI (Human Development Index) rankings, where it stands at 180th position among 187 countries. The high levels of poverty and unemployment along with illiteracy poses a great problem and challenge to the development of Sierra Leone. It has been found that more than 60% of its total population is living below the National Poverty Line. It has a great challenge to channelize its population in productive tasks like manufacturing and other related processes which requires large capital investments from other countries. There are many International banks like the World Bank and other globally commercial banks which are ready to provide finance to Sierra Leone for uplifting its economy and develop the quality of life among the people living in this region. At the same time, the biggest challenge is to develop potential projects which would help absorb these money and help in achieving employment for the youth in Sierra Leone. This would be very important as there are high levels of unemployment in the country and this would help them to get a suitable job for themselves.

The high rates of illiteracy is also one of the biggest challenge in developing the country and establishing a suitable framework on the shoulders of highly efficient and educated personnel. Thus, the main problem leading to illiteracy is poverty only as it leads to utilization of the finance earned by the individuals for the fulfilment of their daily needs. It has been struggling to find financial resources that would help in overcoming the effects of these disasters and regenerate the livelihood of the people which has been lost due to the disaster. The main issue is of illiteracy which leads to inefficient youth in the later ages and then leads to unavailability of jobs for such illiterate population. Hence, obtaining a solution for the problem of poverty serves to be one of the most important tasks of the government. Government has to develop many schemes and programs to provide the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities which are required for leading a healthy life. This has to be done through getting proper financial resources from the financial institutions across the world (Jackson 2007).
There was a civil war that had broken in 2002 where the youth had adopted violent means to oppose the government and demand their basic rights and employment opportunities from the government. The civil war was an outrage of the youth which had developed due to the increasing levels of poverty. Illiteracy and unemployment where the people were not able to meet even their basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, electricity and other basic amenities. There were serious negative influences of this war. The people had to change their houses constantly which led to instability and inappropriate environment in the country. There were many cases of sexual violence and other forms of violence where the people who had shifted from one to province to another under the effects of the war for earning their livelihood. This people were subjected to exploitation and violence (De Jong, et al. 2000).

There are many challenges and threats which are faced by the country due to its proximity to the sea and other problems which are constantly persistent in the regions of Africa. The outbreak of the Ebola disease in the country as well as its neighbors tends to be serious problem for the government. Government had to manage appropriate medicines and treatment at a high cost for the patients of Ebola. The outbreak of the Ebola disease hugely damaged the efforts of the government which were carried to develop Sierra Leone’s economy and uplift the people from the extreme levels of poverty. This disastrous outbreak has led to the inefficiency of the government in taking measures for the development of the country as they had to solely focus on providing treatment to the patients of Ebola and also prevent it from spreading further in the society. Due to this, the government lost its track of development and the after effects of the Ebola outbreak resulted in increasing the efforts of the government. The outbreak had its effects and images left for over a decade and many more coming years and this would hugely affect the productivity and efficiency of the people to work and overcome their financial conditions. Hence, there would be a great challenge posed in front of the government to generate the high levels of employment and development in Sierra Leone and bring its position above the other countries on a global level (Adesina and Zinnah. 1993).
There were many problems created as most of the plans and schemes which were developed by the government were devastated due to the civil war as well as the outbreak of Ebola disease in Sierra Leone. This posed a great threat of development of the country and bringing its people to a general level of Human Development Index (HDI) and above the national poverty line. This challenges have been significantly creating huge pressures on the government in Sierra Leone (Williams and Tunde 2006).

Literature review
There has been a great struggle in the Sierra Leone country of West Africa since its independence from the British rule. The discussion regarding its freedom started between the British delegates and the political leaders from Sierra Leone on 20th April 1960 at London. This carried on for about one year, where there were many alternative plans and programs developed for the country to sustain on its own and execute the administration of its people on its own. Then, finally on 27th April 1961, Sierra Leone got its independence from the United Kingdom and it emerged as a separate country (Amowitz, et al. 2002).
However, since its independence, the country has been struggling to manage its poverty and maintain the required levels of development. The government has been constantly engaged in reducing the poverty through improving the literacy rates and generating employment opportunities for the people. But, due to the other problems and disasters which have struck Sierra Leone, the government has not been able to develop the required amount of financial sources and revenues that would be required for overcoming the problems faced by them (Jackson 2007). The problems faced by them are such that the root cause of most of them is poverty. Poverty and unemployment are interrelated. Many researchers have tried to establish this relationship for Sierra Leone and they have been considering various factors and variables which would help in contributing to the development of its economy (Adesina and Zinnah. 1993). The main functions of the government in uplifting an economy involves providing employment, eradicating poverty, obtaining high literacy rates and developing a general standard of living for all the people in the society.
According to Williams and Tunde, there should be no pressure on the children of the society regarding the security of their land and country (Williams and Tunde 2006). This would turns them into soldiers at a very young age and this has drastic effects on the overall development of the economy. There were many children and adolescents who had to join military and start training at a very early age, thereby compromising on their childhood, education and other necessities which they have to enjoy in their lives. The loss of a young soldier would draw huge poverty on his family as the family would be dependent on the soldier’s income for their livelihood. The incapability of the government to provide the required amounts of pensions and financial securities to the family of the soldiers who have died or severely injured during their service has led to the increasing level of poverty in the country. As a result of it, there was increasing level of discontent among the youth and other populations of the country regarding the government (Williams and Tunde 2006).
There were hardly any scope for employment due to the limited number of industries and plants that could absorb laborers and other technical personnel. This led to the decrease in the interest of the people towards education and this led to higher levels of illiteracy. This led to increase in the anger of the youth and resulted in an outbreak of a civil war in 2002 in Sierra Leone, Liberia and other disturbed countries in the neighborhood (Jackson 2007). There was an increasing discontent regarding the working of the economy, where the unicameral legislature which has been adopted by the government helped to overcome the problems after the civil war ended since 2002.
With the increasing technology and high levels of globalization seen across the world, there are many countries and financial bodies and institutions which have been coming forward to provide finance to Sierra Leone and help them in uplifting its economy. The United Nations and the World Bank have contributed immensely to the development of Sierra Leone. The other developed countries like USA and UK have also been providing considerable help in terms of technology, manpower and other resources which would help in overcoming the poverty that is existing in the society of Sierra Leone and they would considerably help in the development of its economy (Datzberger, Dittrich and Enria 2014).

Discussion of the relevant theories
Development of an economy depends on the application of human development theories. The level of human development index that has to be achieved through coordinated efforts of the country, United Nations and financial institutions like Banks and Global funds. There are many levels of human development which have to be achieved through coordinated efforts and planning of the government. The theories for human development include the Freud’s Psychosexual theory, Erikson’s Psychological theory and Piaget’s theory of cognitive development (Jackson 2007).
In the Freud’s theory, there is a relationship developed between the levels of development and the sexual freedom in the society. He has explained that a coordinated and collective effort is required from across all the sections of the society. He has explained that development of an economy and its Human Development Index also includes the development of the feminine gender in the society (Amowitz, et al. 2002). In the Erikson’s Psychological theory, he has described the effects of the psychological theory
Political structure and governance
The political structure of Sierra Leone consists of a unicameral legislature which has been established and implemented through the Constitution since 1991. It consists of three main bodies on which the governance is carried out and they are:
• The Legislature,
• The Executive and
• The Judiciary
The President is the supreme head of the government, commander-in-chief of the armed forces as well as the Police forces in Sierra Leone. Currently, the President of Sierra Leone is Ernest Bai Koroma, who has been appointed since 17th September 2007. There are 124 seats in the Parliament of Sierra Leone. it represents all of the 14 districts which hare present in the state. The judiciary of the country is headed by the Chief Justice, where he presides over the Supreme Court, which has the highest authority among the courts. For the administrative purposes, the country is divided into the four divisions which we have seen earlier (Datzberger, Dittrich and Enria 2014).
The law enforcement and policies have been developed and maintained by the Sierra Leone Police forces. The Police was first established by the British rule in 1894. The economy of the country has been dropping severely till 1990. However, after that, the government has carried various measures and plans to improve the economic, financial, social conditions in the country. The Bank of Sierra Leone has played a crucial role in developing the financial sources. There has been an excessive dependence of about 2/3rd of its population on agriculture or activities related to agriculture. It has been observed that about 58% of the GDP of Sierra Leone comes from agricultural activities (Amowitz, et al. 2002).
The governance has not been successful in reducing the levels of poverty considerably and this has resulted in continuous discontent among the people of Sierra Leone. This was the main reason which led to the outbreak of a Civil War in 2002, where the dissatisfied and frustrated people showed their anger through violent means. After the outbreak and demolition of the war, the government has been very effective in developing various plans and schemes for the overall development of the country which includes the rural development as well as the optimum utilization of resources in the urban areas. The efforts have been gaining positive results and the poverty level has reduced and there are many employment opportunities generated in the country (Datzberger, Dittrich and Enria 2014).
Discussions of key recommendations
The theories of human development discussed in the above sections show that there is a need to understand and implement the different factors that greatly influence the economic, political, social and psychological conditions in Sierra Leone. The recommendations regarding the development of their economy includes the development of various resources which are available to them. There are many resources which have to be developed and generated for the establishment of a stable economy. This resources involve manpower and financial assets and resources which would be obtained from the international financial institutions and bodies (Jackson 2007).
The allocation and maintenance of the resources involves appropriate planning and implementation. There has to be high levels of literacy obtained by emphasizing on education of children and providing various studying opportunities to them like reduction in the educational expenses and providing special incentives and scholarship to the people in Sierra Leone. There are many designs and plans which could be developed to increase the level of infrastructure and industrialization in the country (Datzberger, Dittrich and Enria 2014).
The coordinated efforts of improving the employment opportunities, increasing the levels of employment, developing the financial resources and increasing their efficiency, stabilizing the political structure to inculcate high levels of content and respect among the people regarding the governance in the country.

Adesina, Akinwumi A., and Moses M. Zinnah. 1993. “Technology characteristics, farmers’ perceptions and adoption decisions: A Tobit model application in Sierra Leone.”.” Agricultural economics 297-311.
Amowitz, Lynn L., Chen Reis, Hare Lyons Kristina, Beth Vann, Mansaray Binta, M. Akinsulure-Smith Adyinka, Taylor Louise, and Iacopino. Vincent. 2002. “”Prevalence of war-related sexual violence and other human rights abuses among internally displaced persons in Sierra Leone.”.” Jama 287 (4): 513-521.
Cartwright, John R. 1970. Politics in Sierra Leone 1947-67. Toronto: University of Toronto Press,.
Datzberger, Simone, Viviane Dittrich, and Luisa Enria. 2014. “From Peace-building towards Development: Opportunities and Challenges for Sierra Leone’s Future.” The London School of Economics and Political Science.
De Jong, Kaz, Maureen Mulhern, Nathan Ford, Saskia Van Der Kam, and Rolf Kleber. 2000. “”The trauma of war in Sierra Leone.”.” The Lancet 355 (9220): 2067-2068.
Jackson, Paul. 2007. “Reshuffling an old deck of cards? The politics of local government reform in Sierra Leone.” African Affairs 106, (422): 95-111.
Williams, Zack, and B. Tunde. 2006. “”Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone and the problems of demobilisation, rehabilitation and reintegration into Society: Some Lessons for Social Workers in war‐torn societies.”.” Social Work Education 25, no. 2 119-128.


Posted on

March 10, 2018

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.