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Sierra Leone: Forging Ahead into the Future in Spite of all Odds – Part II

Sierra Leone: Forging Ahead into the Future in Spite of all Odds – Part II

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), I should mention, gives out their grants under two programs: The Threshold Grant (worth tens of millions) and the Compact Award (worth hundreds of millions of dollars). In order to be eligible for compact status, a country has to pass the Control of Corruption indicator (the most troublesome indicator) which Sierra Leone had passed this since 2011, either the Political Rights or Civil Liberties indicators (we passed both) and has to pass half of the 20 indicators. I am pleased to announce that we can now tick the box that asks if a given country is passing more than half by passing 12 indicators this year. This means Sierra Leone passed all 3 of the required criteria to be eligible for an MCC compact – which is a fantastic achievement. And are we hopeful that we will get a compact award worth hundreds of millions of dollars? Why not?

This year, Sierra Leone passed half of the indicators in the Economic Freedom category (4/8), half of the indicators in the Investing in People category (3/6) and almost all, 5/6 in the Ruling Justly category. This is a very strong, all-round performance, indicative of a country that is developing and progressing in all areas. Also, a balanced governance approach is exemplified.

SL’s scores increased in: fiscal policy, regulatory quality, trade policy, gender in the economy, access to credit, health expenditures, natural resource protection, girls’ primary education completion rate, child health, political rights, civil liberties, freedom of information, rule of law and control of corruption in all three major categories.

All of this means that the country’s scores increased in 12/20 indicators. Very positive news!

But even before this year, the MCC has been very impressed with the progress happening in Sierra Leone. In fact, earlier this year they wrote a blog posting applauding Sierra Leone. This can be found here: http://www.mcc.gov/pages/povertyreductionblog/entry/defining-data

I think it is important to point out that the driving force behind the successful MCC scorecard this year has been His Excellency the President. He has been personally committed and involved.

Throughout this year, Ms. Thomas ensured the Government of Sierra Leone took a new approach to the MCC. She was committed to making sure ministries engaged in a new way with the MCC scorecard, and ensured updated and accurate data was recorded for every indicator. This year’s successful scorecard is a reflection of Sierra Leone’s progress in all policy areas, and also a reflection of this positive, active approach to the MCC, which had been a missing link.

In previous years, data used by the MCC has been out-of-date. This year’s scorecard, however, contains up to date data and hence more accurately portrays the positive trajectory the country is on. For some indicators, it was simply a case of making sure that data was sent to the right assessors.

Comparative analysis with other countries, this is how we stand:

There is a strong story to tell about Sierra Leone’s remarkable performance this year, including:

  • Sierra Leone passed more indicators than 38 out of the 56 countries
  • Ranked by indicators passed, Sierra Leone is in joint 16th position, out of 56 countries
  • Sierra Leone passes more indicators than the following (amongst others): Benin (passed 11), Burundi (passed 7), Cameroon (passed 6), Cote d’Ivoire (passed 5), Ethiopia (passed 10), Gambia (passed 11), Guinea (passed 1), Guinea-Bissau (passed 7), Liberia (passed 10), Madagascar (passed 10), Mali (passed 11), Mauritania (passed 7), Nigeria (passed 9), Togo (passed 8) and Uganda (passed 9).
  • There are 15 West African Low Income Countries (LICs) included in the MCC’s ranking. Out of these 15, Sierra Leone is ranked joint 4th (in terms of indicators passed)

So, well-meaning compatriots of Sierra Leone this is the true story. This government of Sierra Leonean has worked too hard for a credible and objective international organization not to notice the good work and reward them with the unprecedented passing of five indicators in only one year. Now, we should lobby Washington so that a compact award worth hundreds of millions of dollars be awarded to this country to work on developmental plans that we create for ourselves.

What a future that this country holds if only we can get a guy like President Koroma to continue to lead us out of the state of nothingness into something ALL Sierra Leoneans should be proud of? So we appeal to the people of Sierra Leone that it is in their best interest that we grant continuation to President Koroma in the November 17 2012 elections, because it is the best thing for you, for me, and for our unborn children. Party politics aside!

By Amadu Massally

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