Sierra Leone / by Michelle Ryan

Sierra Leonean President Koroma undertook a trip to China to thank the country for its help during the Ebola crisis, to discuss continued cooperation in areas like infrastructure and mining, and potential cooperation in areas like public health and tourism. Sylvia Blyden, the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs announced she would implement new standards for transparency, openness, and accountability by keeping a log of her daily activities. Successful trials for an Ebola vaccine were concluded and international organisations and scientists are optimistic this breakthrough will help protect against a future crisis. Sierra Leone’s dry season began in December, which marked the start of increased availability of food for households and employment opportunities for farm labourers. The National Nutrition Survey data showed that almost 30 per cent of children under the age of five have stunted growth and over 10 per cent of those children are underweight in Sierra Leone. Sylvia Blyden said that 60 per cent of Sierra Leone’s women live in rural areas and she announced plans she and President Koroma have to help alleviate the problems these women face in areas like education and agriculture. The International Monetary Fund finished its review of Sierra Leone’s economic performance and found that the country required additional funds, but that the economy performed reasonably well. Raymond Kai Gbekie, the Chief Executive Officer of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), won the CEO award for 2016. SLIEPA is responsible for promoting and creating foreign and domestic investment opportunities. Kaifala Marah, the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, launched the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion 2017-2020 with objectives of making financial services affordable and available to all Sierra Leoneans and businesses, to advance financial literacy, and more.

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