Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2006

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2005 > Chapter 2 Details about Japan's ODA > Section 4. Operational Status of the Principle of ODA Implementation > 2. Sierra Leone

2. Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone armed clashes occurred between anti-government forces and the government forces in 1991, and subsequently the country remained in a state of intermittent civil war. As a result of mediation by the international community, from October 1999 the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was deployed in Sierra Leone with 6000 staff (maximum 17,500) and began to implement a plan for the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR). Following that, full-scale reconstruction assistance from international institutions and some bilateral donors commenced, aimed at encouraging the resettlement of people of Sierra Leone. At the end of 2005 UNAMSIL pulled out of the country, and in January 2006 the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) began its operations, shifting the focus from the consolidation of peace to the reconstruction and development process. There were concerns about the security in Sierra Leone after the peacekeepers withdrew, but until today the situation remains stable.

    The National Census was conducted after the conclusion of the civil war showed that approximately 70% of the people of Sierra Leone were in a state of extreme poverty in which they were forced to live on less than one dollar a day. Aiming to improve this situation, the Government of Sierra Leone formulated a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and began efforts toward the consolidation of peace, economic development, and poverty reduction.

    Thus, Sierra Leone has been steadily advancing in the peace consolidation process, and it is hoped that it will become a model nation for the successful consolidation of peace in the West African region, which contains countries dealing with instable situations. Taking into account the recovery of security in Sierra Leone, Japan opened a JICA field office in January 2005, and held a policy dialogue with Sierra Leone in May of this year to discuss the future direction of Japan's ODA in order to support the efforts toward reconstruction and development of Sierra Leone. Based on the results of those consultations, bilateral economic cooperation was resumed in July 2005. As elements creating instability still remain, Japan will provide support primarily to projects in Freetown, the capital, and the Kambia District in the northwest of the country, which are relatively stable.

    The residents of the Kambia District suffered the most in the civil war and it is said that 25,000 people, or more than 10% of the district's population, ended up as refugees or internally displaced persons. Currently Japan is implementing Cross-Sectoral Community Development Support with the active participation of the local residents. Specifically, from the end of October 2005 Japan has expanded and enhanced assistance for facilities and teaching materials, vocational training, and school vegetable gardens through "the Children and Youth Development Project in Kambia District of the Republic of Sierra Leone (development study, three years)." In addition, in February 2006 Japan launched "the Agricultural Development Project in Kambia," a technical cooperation project designed to increase agricultural production, particularly rice cultivation, in the Kambia District which used to be a major rice production district. The objectives of this project are to strengthen the agricultural technical support structure targeting mainly farmers (rice, cassava, nuts, sweet potato, etc.) and to establish a technical package designed to increase agricultural productivity (through increases in production volume and reduction in post-harvest loss). Japan intends to study possibilities of supporting other sectors such as water supply and health.

    Japan has been promoting the African Village Initiative, which comprehensively supports sectors such as education, health, and agriculture that are directly related to improving the living environments of residents in a single community. In Sierra Leone, Japan is aiming for the reintegration into society of children and youth who will be the leaders of the community in the future, the realization of self-reliant and sustainable development, and the consolidation of peace. It intends to gradually introduce this initiative in other African countries.