Workshop: Book Launch of ‘Economic Challenges and Policy Issues in Early Twenty-First-Century Sierra Leone’

In cooperation with the Bank of Sierra Leone, a two-day workshop was held in Freetown to launch the book Economic Challenges and Policy Issues in Early Twenty-First-Century Sierra Leone. The book was the result of collaboration between the International Growth Centre (IGC) and the Bank of Sierra Leone. The idea originated from Professor Paul Collier of Oxford University and Dr. Samura Kamara, the then Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone. The IGC Country Director, Dr. Omotunde E. G. Johnson, managed the project, is the editor of the book, and wrote three of the fourteen chapters in the book. The event was an opportunity for the eighteen contributors to the book to present some of the core ideas in the book and motivate discussion of the topics among all those participating in the Workshop. The expectation is that not only will the book contribute to the current policy discussions in Sierra Leone but also help guide future work of the IGC in its cooperation with economic policy makers in the country.

The overriding message of the book is that rapid economic growth in Sierra Leone will require tremendous improvement in economic management and governance. In that context, Sierra Leone must focus on raising the investment level in physical and human capital relative to gross domestic product, enhancing the efficiency of investment, and accelerating technological change and innovation. To achieve these goals the chapters discussed several desirable policy reforms to address neutral fundamentals, an important element of which will involve a strategy to build the capacity of firms in the economy to perform their tasks well, and to design appropriate policies of selective intervention altering production incentives through deliberate action of the authorities.

Following the presentation of each of the fourteen chapters, there were many questions and comments from the more than sixty participants in each of the sessions. The workshop participants welcomed the idea of the book, especially given the importance and currency of the topics covered in the book. The participants included representatives from the various tertiary educational institutions of the country, non-governmental organizations, commercial banks and other financial institutions, the central bank, parliament, government ministries, and international organizations, including the IMF, World Bank, and UNIDO.

Presentations from the event are available to download below.
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