Freetown, 19 March 2019 – Private sector leaders, national and international policymakers, EU, UNIDO and ITC representatives have participated in the launch event of the project “Increasing Sierra Leone’s Competitiveness through Enhanced Productivity and Trade Compliance in Selected Value Chains” funded by EU and implemented by UNIDO jointly with International Trade Center (ITC).
The project is a part of 11th EDF West Africa Competitiveness Programme, which aims to stimulate Sierra Leone’s economic growth, boost the country’s private sector and generate new job opportunities, especially for youth and women. In addition to presenting the main objectives of the project, the launch event also served as the first meeting of its key stakeholders and beneficiaries.
Sierra Leone’s economy has recently suffered the twin shocks of an Ebola epidemic and the collapse of the iron ore commodity price, causing the GDP contraction of 21.1% in 2015. As farming is considered a bedrock of the national economy (accounting for 61.3% of GDP in 2015), efforts have been pursued through several programs to revitalise the sector in order to reduce poverty and inflation rates. However, due to the loss of lives of many master farmers during the Ebola epidemic, mass rural-urban migration and recurring unforeseen factors due to climate variability, Sierra Leone’s economic transformation of industrial agriculture and food sufficiency is under threat.
In alliance with the government strategies, UNIDO’s initiative aims at increasing farmers’ access to improved agricultural technology and practices to support quality improvement of selected commodities (cassava`a, cocoa and palm oil) as well as creating better access to markets.
For more information: Mr. Juan Pablo Diaz-Castillo (J.Diaz-Castillo [at] unido.org)