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).

Abstract

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).

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).

Figure 13.
Figure 13.

Measures of Infrastructure Access1 (Most recent year)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Figure 14.
Figure 14.

Measures of Infrastructure Access

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Source: Staff estimates based on various official reports.1/ Data for Sierra Leone data are derived from various sectoral strategies and official reports. Other countries’ data are derived from the World Bank development indicators database.

The Returns to Investment in Thermal Power Plants

The Government of Sierra Leone has invested heavily in thermal power plants since 2010. Capacity worth 60 MW has been added to the network, at a cost exceeding USD 100 million. Some are designed to back up the reduction in power generation by the Bumbuna hydro dam during the dry period; others are used as primary sources of electricity generation in various districts. All are operated by the state-owned Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGTC)

In recent years, due to the lack of maintenance, several power plants—a third of installed capacity—have fallen into disrepair (see table below). Of the remaining two-thirds, only 15 percent are being currently utilized. The rest have ground to a halt—due to extreme cash shortage, EGTC is unable to purchase fuel to maintain them in operation. The electricity distribution and supply authority, EDSA is instead buying electricity from Independent Power Producers (IPPs). In December 2019, two privately owned power generating ships were supplying power to Freetown and its outskirts.

Condition and Utilization of Thermal Power Plans (Excluding IPPs)

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Source: EGTC.Note: This table shows thermal power plants for which data on utilized capacity are available.

9. Outcomes are also low in health and sanitation, with significant regional disparities. A 2017 study by Statistics Sierra Leone on household drinking water shows that half of the population is at very high of faecal contamination with Escherichia coli (i.e. >100 E. coli per 100 mL). This risk is about 30 percent in the Western Rural Area of Freetown, but exceeds 60 percent in many districts (Figure 15). The same study finds that around 18 percent of pregnant women do not receive access to key tests (blood pressure measured, and urine sample and blood sample taken) during their pregnancies. This proportion exceeds 25 percent in some districts (Figure 16).

Figure 15.
Figure 15.

Households at Risk of Very High Contamination with E. Coli

(percent of total)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Source: Sierra Leone Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2017, Statistics Office
Figure 16.
Figure 16.

No Test Check During Pregnancy

(percent of women with live birth)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Source: Sierra Leone Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2017, Statistics Office

10. The quality of roads varies significantly, with some at the lower end of the spectrum. Using a vibration accelerometer, the FAD team assessed the quality of roads in and around Freetown, on the major Freetown-Bo highway, and the Moyamba junction. On some unpaved roads (e.g. Moyamba Junction), large vibrations were registered equivalent to those experienced during a roller coaster ride (Figure 17). Along portions of the paved Freetown-Bo highway, conditions were still deemed suboptimal, with vibrations reaching those registered on unpaved roads, such as the Congo Town-Ascension-Kroo street in Freetown.

Figure 17.
Figure 17.

Maximum Shocks from Roads to Vehicles (m/s2)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Source: Mission estimates using a vibration accelerometer (Extech Model VB300) placed on a vehicle driving on the respective roads

11. Perception of infrastructure quality also remains below peers, and the gap has risen since 2012. This indicator, scaled 1 to 7, is drawn from the World Economic Forum’s infrastructure quality surveys. While, the gap with peers was narrowing in 2011 and 2012, it widened significantly until 2015, improving slightly since (Figure 18).

Figure 18.
Figure 18.

Perception of Infrastructure Quality

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Source: World Economic Forum

12. Sierra Leone has 48 percent of efficiency gaps in public investments, larger than the average of sub-Saharan African countries. A hybrid indicator approach to efficiency is used (Box 2). This combines the set of access indicators shown in Figure 13 with the perception surveys shown in Figure 18 into one single indicator for each country. This indicator is compared against the measured per capita stock of capital of the country, and countries that perform best on the index for a given level of stock of capital make the “efficiency frontier”. Sierra Leone’s efficiency gap measured by the physical outputs is 48 percent (Figure 19). This means that a half of public investments in Sierra Leone are not producing intended outputs. The efficiency gap measured by the quality indicator is also sizable (25 percent), at the same level as the average of sub-Sahara African countries (Figure 20). The existence of large efficiency gaps implies inefficiencies in public investment management, which have failed to generate intended outputs or maintain the infrastructure quality, as discussed in the following sections.

Measuring Efficiency

The IMF methodology uses a hybrid indicator approach to efficiency. This combines the set of access indicators shown in Figure 13 with the perception surveys shown in Figure 18 into one single indicator for each country. This indicator is compared against the measured per capita stock of capital of the country, and countries that perform best on the index for a given level of stock of capital make the “efficiency frontier.” The higher the gap, the larger the efficiency gains in terms of better access to infrastructure, and perception of its quality, can be made if resources were deployed more efficiently.

Figure 19.
Figure 19.

Efficiency Frontier and Gap – Physical Output Indicators

(a) Efficiency Frontier

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Source: Staff estimates
d10022574e964

(b) Efficiency Gap

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Source: Staff estimates
Figure 20.
Figure 20.

Efficiency Frontier and Gap – Quality Indicators

(a) Efficiency Frontier

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Source: Staff estimates
d10022574e992

(b) Efficiency Gap

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2021, 090; 10.5089/9781513572963.002.A003

Source: Staff estimates
1

An IMF Board Paper identifies four indicators to proxy the impact of public infrastructure: (i) the number of secondary school teachers per 1,000 population; (ii) the electricity production per capita; (iii) the number of hospital beds per 1,000 population; (iv) the access to treated water as measured by percentage of dwellings equipped with water pipes. See “Making Public Investment More Efficient,” June 2015, IMF

Sierra Leone: Technical Assistance Report-Public Investment Management Assessment
Author: International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.