Who are we?
The Centre for Alternative Policy Research and Innovation (CAPRI)Sierra Leone, is an autonomous Think Tank, whose research based focus is on providing policy advice, ideas, insights and solutions to local and national politicians, policy makers, development partners and other interested institutions and persons working in, and on Sierra Leone in relation to matters of public policy.
Our Aims ||| Results we hope to achieve and maintain
Promoting a Sierra Leone where national planning and policy making processes are informed by evidence-based approaches to development.
Socio-Economic & Political Research
Promote a research based culture that will encourage the development and implementation of contextually suitable policies.
Implementation of Solutions
Foster a participatory based approach to policy identification, formulation and implementation involving the relevant stakeholders.
Objectives of Capri SL ||| Problems we are solving
Our experts research into current and emerging policy questions and challenges with a view to using evidence to inform public policy formulation and implementation.
We identify and generate debate among policy stakeholders around current or emerging policy issues, requiring consistent and coherent policy frameworks and actions.
Facilitate Policy Formulation
Facilitate the provision of public policy formulation and implementation capacity building programmes.
Contribute to the development and transformation of policy ideas and options from their conception stage, to implementation.
Serve as a critical, well informed and autonomous policy based think tank in critical national policy debates and discourses.
Serve as a technical and professional resource for the training of public policy and development practitioners
Sierra Leone is a relatively small Western African state that has undergone rapid and sometimes destructive social and political changes. At independence in 1961, the country compared favourably economically and socially with the Asian Tigers such as Malaysia and Singapore. Such economic and social context inspired high hopes that the newly independent country will flourish, given its natural resources as well as critical mass of highly educated citizens who had excelled in diverse fields at home and abroad.
As an indication of the country’s healthy economic base, between 1950 and 1972 Sierra Leone had an average annual growth rate of 7%, largely propelled by mining, which however precipitated the demise of Agriculture. The 1980s witnessed a rapid decline in the country’s economic infrastructure leading to the near collapse of social service provision. Economic growth rates dropped drastically to an average of 1.5% and -4.5%. The downward trend in the country’s economic fortunes was accelerated in the 1980s by the unrestrained public spending on unviable projects, as well as the near capture of the state’s economic structures by powerful vested interests in what became known as the “Shadow State”.
The decline in the economic fortunes of the country, was accompanied by a worsening violation of the civic and political rights of citizens, in what became a one-party state; and the failure of the elite to reform and stabilize the economy resulted in widespread alienation of large sections of society, leading to the 10 year civil war. By the end of the civil war in 2002, Sierra Leone was essentially a failed state, necessitating one of the world’s biggest UN Peacekeeping forces, with the governance of the state almost taken over by outsiders. In the immediate post-war period extreme poverty increased drastically. Whereas extreme poverty stood at 57% in 1990, it increased rapidly to 89% in 2002; and by 2004, 70% of the population lived below the poverty line (SLIHS 2004).
However, extreme poverty distribution remained uneven, as poverty levels were considerably higher outside Freetown the capital. The proportion of extreme poverty in Freetown was estimated at 15% compared to 79% in rural areas, and 70% in urban areas outside the capital. However, between 2004 and 2009 the macroeconomic environment improved considerably, with the country registering an average of 6.5% growth rate. Nonetheless, by 2009 real GDP grew growth was only 4.4 percent registering about 0.1 percentage points above that of 2008 which was 4.3 percent, a slowdown that was partly attributed to the global financial crisis of 2008. Although the economy improved rapidly between 2009 and 2014, it was not enough to reduce the country’s dependence on donors. This trend did not only necessitate the government’s dependence on donor support, it also limited its policy leverage, while increasing that of donors who continue to emphasize policies that promote their own socio-economic and political agendas rather than that of the government and people of Sierra Leone. It is largely within this context that development and economic policies have been articulated, formulated and implemented over the past decades. While the current government has sought to reduce the country’s dependence on donors, the 2014 – 2015 Ebola epidemic that devastated the economies of countries in the Mano River Union, and the drop in the price of iron ore, adversely affected its plans.