Project Case Study
Assessing local content in Sierra Leone
Assessing current and optimal local content utilisation in Sierra Leone
Whilst economic growth in Sierra Leone was in 2012 estimated at over 20% by the World Bank, a major challenge to date had been ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of benefits derived from the extractives sector.
In order to make sure the economic and social benefits of major extractive investment into Sierra Leone reached and helped local people, the Government of Sierra Leone approved its first Local Content Policy in May 2012, in keeping with its ultimate aim of reducing the country’s 70% poverty rate. This reflected a regional desire to focus on local content development, promoting the transfer of skills to Sierra Leoneans, generate jobs, increase the use of locally produced goods and improve rates of local ownership. However, the policy was not perceived to have yet fully benefitted the local economy, not having reached its modest targets of, for example, 20% of managerial posts and 50% of intermediary positions across all industries being filled by Sierra Leoneans.
As such, in September 2012 we were invited by the Department for International Development to undertake an assessment of local content in light of the policy, including the current level of utilisation of local supply.
We considered the estimated market size, the percentage of the Sierra Leonean workforce employed by the extractives industry, which was estimated to be around 6.6%, the Sierra Leonean presence in the supply chain, as well as constraints and needs for further optimisation.
We then identified challenges and recommendations for the development of local supply in Sierra Leone.
Our analysis confirmed both the fact that local content utilisation is relatively low, and that there is significant potential to increase it and thus contribute to equitable economic growth in Sierra Leone. The report made clear recommendations for addressing the issues and challenges identified, in particular recommending the widely supported establishment of a Local Content Support Programme, which is still actively working to promote a fair exchange of benefit for Sierra Leoneans and foreign investors.