6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are


PUPILS FROM THE METHODIST GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL in FREETOWN STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR the ERADICATION OF POVERTY (undp/ c. thomas)

Poverty reduction is the linchpin for achieving all of the other MDGs. Poverty levels in Sierra Leone are still very high despite continued Government efforts to reduce the proportion of people whose incomes are below the national poverty line. Government efforts to reduce poverty include formulating and implementing development strategies and policies for accelerating growth and investment in areas important to the poor such as agriculture, essential social services, employment and industry, mitigating rising income inequalities and data collection for poverty monitoring and evaluation.

Absolute poverty fell to 60% by 2007 from around 70% following the war, but in order for MDG 1 to be met poverty would need to fall to below 40% to reach the target. The employment to population ratio has remained constant at 40% to 45%, indicating that the absorptive capacity of labour by the labour market in Sierra Leone is very limited due to low investment levels in labour-intensive economic activities and the fact that many of the people seeking jobs lack relevant education and/or skills that are in high demand.

To achieve the target of halving poverty by 2015, Sierra Leone needs to focus on instituting pro-poor macro-economic policies and scaling up investment in agriculture and infrastructure to ensure sustainable economic growth. Such a framework should emphasize economic diversification so that while opportunities in the extractive industries sector continue to be exploited, the huge potential of agriculture, fishing and value-added manufacturing capitalized on to spur inclusive economic growth and human development, helping to arrest a situation of widespread and escalating poverty and hunger in the immediate and long-term. The agricultural sector is crucial in addressing issues of food security, poverty reduction and economic growth through employment creation and provides opportunities for individual income growth in a country where there is abundant natural endowment for agricultural productivity.

UNDP's work in Sierra Leone

1.02 years
remaining
until 2015

1990 2015
Targets for MDG1
  1. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
    • Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
    • Growth rate of GDP per person employed
    • Employment-to-population ratio
    • Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
    • Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
    • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption