Sierra Leone has made significant strides to rebuild its public infrastructure after the devastating civil war, but the desperate infrastructure needs remain. At the end of the conflict in 2002, the country was left with virtually no infrastructure. Redevelopment of public infrastructure was ignited by the mining boom, which started in the late 2000s. Over the period 2008−18, public investment averaged 6.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), which has translated into an estimated capital stock of about 65 percent in constant 2011 GDP. However, a level of public investment is still lower than neighboring countries by about one percentage point. The level of capital stock per capita is one of the lowest in the region, only slightly above that of Liberia. Some districts still have no paved roads, no electricity, and no water systems, almost 20 years after the war.
8. On three out of four outcome indicators, Sierra Leone underperforms compared to comparator countries.1 There are still fewer teachers, and hospital beds per capita than in comparator countries (Figure 13). While the number of teachers per capita has improved, hospital beds briefly increased during the Ebola outbreak, but fell back after (Figure 14). Sierra Leone also generates only half of electricity per capita in comparator countries, despite the significant increase in investment in this sector (see Box 1).
1. Sierra Leone has made significant strides to rebuild its public infrastructure after a devastating civil war. At the end of the conflict in 2002, the country was left with virtually no power generation capacity (Freetown was known as the “darkest city in the world”), most of its roads were unpaved, two- thirds of its population had no access to a reliable source of water, and there were only two hospital beds remaining for every 10,000 inhabitants. Since then, the authorities have accelerated the development of basic infrastructure, with an emphasis on roads, energy, water, sanitation, and health. In the last ten years, public investment averaged 6.5 percent of GDP (Figure 2), the stock of public capital is estimated to have doubled in constant 2011 GDP, reaching at 65 percent in 2018 (Figure 3).