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Sierra Leone has established a unique track record for a
post-conflict country. Less than a year after the war ended, the
country has achieved a growth rate of six percent while inflation
has fallen to zero percent. These accomplishments have been
achieved after ten years of devastating civil conflict, the
resettlement in the past year of 300,000 displaced people and
refugees and the disarmament and demobilization of more than 70,000
combatants. On the basis of this impressive performance,
development partners gathered in Paris sent a favorable message to
the country this week. At this first post-war consultative group
meeting, the government with its partners agreed to a results
framework for 2003-2004, and the donors pledged their financial and
technical support to achieve these results.
The government of Sierra Leone, led by Vice President Solomon
Berewa, concluded the two-day consultative group meeting with
development partners in Paris at the weekend. The meeting was
co-chaired by the World Bank and the United Nations Development
In his opening speech, Sierra Leone Vice President Solomon Berewa,
said "The terrible experiences of the last decade have taught us
that we must listen to our people and take heed of their rightful
demands. We must deliver on our promises of a better future."
World Bank Country Director for Sierra Leone Mats Karlsson added
"As Sierra Leone moves further from its civil war past, there is an
increasing need for a fundamental shift in the kind of assistance
we provide—from humanitarian to development assistance."
Development partners also stressed the importance of planning for
this fundamental shift in their support.
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and UNDP
Resident Coordinator Alan Doss also noted "As the United
Nations’ mission to Sierra Leone draws down its troop
strength, it is important that the donor partners provide
assistance to help consolidate the peace process including the
reintegration of ex-combatants and the resettlement of refugees and
other displaced persons."
Sierra Leone outlined its recovery and development agenda,
stressing the need to make peace durable and addressing those
factors that caused the ten-year civil war. Successful completion
of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program,
long-term support in building the country’s army and police
force, and support for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and
Special Court are seen as essential to the country’s
Participants reviewed and congratulated the country on its
successful record of economic performance during the past two
years, but noted that while growth figures are impressive, they
were starting from a very low base. This highlighted the importance
of the government’s continued strict fiscal discipline and
implementation of its structural reform agenda.
The government identified and committed itself to addressing major
development challenges, particularly inclusion, good governance,
decentralization, equity, and sustainable growth. In addition, the
government expressed its intention to focus on basic education and
primary health care. To spur economic growth, the Sierra Leone
government highlighted five areas of focus: (i) private sector
development, (ii) stimulating agriculture, (iii) reviving the
mining industry, (iv) improving infrastructure, and (v) building
human capital with community-driven programs in education, health
and HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness.
In closing, the partners encouraged Sierra Leone to maintain the
high level of commitment that had brought it successfully to this
point. Development partners concluded by emphasizing their
continued financial and technical support to promote the
consolidation of peace and to help Sierra Leone meet the
considerable challenges in reaching their development objectives -