On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Sierra Leone Business: Diversify the economy, create poverty-alleviating jobs- World Bank

In its report on Priorities for Sustainable Growth and Poverty Reduction, Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) 2018, the World Bank has called on the Government to limit volatility of economic growth, must diversify its economy and create poverty-alleviating non¬farm jobs outside the mineral sector.
Employment growth in the formal sector it says is held back by a myriad of con¬straints, including low access to electricity, high transportation and communication costs, significant competition from imports and state-owned enterprises, lack of access to credit, an unfavorable regulatory environment, and low productivity in the informal sector limits income generation.
The Bank highlighted few targeted interventions that could yield quick results in terms of inclusive economic growth and job creation while also improving the overall business envi¬ronment.
Current efforts to improve the business environment will only yield effects in the medium- to long- term. In the meantime, the country it says could implement targeted interventions to increase the productivity of the informal sector and to encourage private investment in select value chains, such as food processing for rice and fish.
Facilitating access to credit and training programs for a targeted number of informal entrepreneurs could have sig¬nificant productivity spillover effects and to improve the overall business environment is to create conditions for the emergence of new enterprises.
“Sierra Leone should also tap into its potential for vertical diversifi¬cation by promoting development food value chains, especially rice and fisheries. Given, the country’s natural com¬parative advantage in rice production, developing the rice value chain is a plausible policy” it says.
Pursuing import substi¬tution policies can benefit both rice producers and consumers, improve food security, and save the country’s scarce foreign exchange (more than US$100 million per year since 2012, or one-fifth of the international foreign reserves).
For this to happen, the Bank says there is need to improve the productivity and the competitiveness of domestic rice, including reforming the regulatory framework that would attract strong private sector investment in rice milling and trading.
With the country’s valuable marine ecosystem it will be able to support populations of demersal fish, crus¬taceans and attract large and small pelagic stocks shared with regional countries. There is potential for increasing profitability in artisanal fishing.
Promoting artisanal fishing the report says offers an attractive path for economic development since the sector is labor intensive and therefore able to generate much-needed jobs. Effective environmental protections need to be put in place to safeguard the long-term health of the fisheries industry.
Noting that post-catch facilities should be improved to offset any reduction in total catch both onboard fishing vessels and after docking.
For this to yield dividend, it added that the government needs to provide the populace with access to affordable, reliable, and high-quality energy, and to the Internet, through infrastructure development in collaboration with the private sector, and should also advocate for a policy of open access and competition.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
Monday August 27, 2018.

Comments are closed.