Freetown: Tuesday 14 May, 2019 —The Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Nabeela Farida Tunis, has launched the Sierra Leone Multidimensional Poverty Profile 2019 on Tuesday, 14th May, 2019 at the Ministry’s Conference Hall, Tower Hill, Freetown.
Hon. Tunis underscored the critical nature of the technical analysis of the report and its contribution to national decision making. Taking a holistic approach to measuring poverty, she noted, that the report is vital to accurately count and respond to the needs of each and every Sierra Leonean.
The Hon. Minister disclosed to Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Partners, the Media, Academic and Research Institutions present, that the Multidimensional Poverty Profile accounts for five key dimensions of well-being in the country: Education, Health, Living Standards, Energy, and Housing. This analysis demonstrates the importance of taking a multi-sectoral approach to improving service delivery for the people of which thoughts and solutions cannot be limited to just a sector.
Hon. Nabeela Tunis affirmed that Government has demonstrated its commitment to using this evidence in the recently launched Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP), 2019-2023, which is entitled ‘Education for Development’. She added that the MTNDP previewed some of the results of this Multidimensional Poverty Profile, in order to lay a strong foundation for development planning in the country.
The Minister stated that the Medium Term National Development Plan is clearly aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Government of Sierra Leone under the leadership of His Excellency, The President, Julius Maada Bio, will utilise the Poverty Profile to fully implement the SDGs.
She highlighted that the results of this study will be incorporated into the Voluntary National Review (VNR) on SDGs implementation for the 2019 UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York.
She expressed the Governments’ commitment to the principle of “Leaving No One Behind” emphasising the Multidimensional Poverty Profile assistance in targeting those in need whether they be youth, women, persons with disabilities or those living in remote communities.
Launching the report, Hon. Tunis acknowledged the fantastic contributions of those that made this national document possible. Firstly, the unwavering support of UNDP is greatly appreciated. The commitment of Statistics Sierra Leone to creating credible data to inform policy decisions is highly noted. Finally, the work of Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) is laudable and much appreciated.
In his contribution, the Hon. Deputy Minister, MoPED, Dr. Robert T.M. Chakanda, spoke about how far we have come, given the history of Sierra Leone, including the civil war and use of traditional healers. He said all sectors are important to the development of this nation.
Making his statement, the United Nations Development Programme, Resident Representative, Samuel G. Doe said that the report clearly demonstrates that poverty is not just the lack of income, but it’s a complex challenge.
He said that the report is of great importance to the implementation of the Government’s Medium-Term National Development Plan (2019-2023). Mr. Doe disclosed that the UNDP has aligned its Vision (an inclusive and resilient Sierra Leone with no poverty) to the Government’s MTNDP through their next Country Programme Document.
He further expressed the UNDP’s commitment to ensuring that their programmes have direct impact on the lives of Sierra Leoneans with special attention to women, children, youth and persons living with disabilities.
Prof. Osman Sankoh, Statistician General, Statistic Sierra Leone, in his statement noted that Sierra Leone, like most African Countries, has seen both progress and reversal in the fight against poverty. He stated that poverty has indeed declined from 90 percent of the population living on less than $ 1.90 per day in the 1990s to 66.4 percent in 2003 and further down to 52.9 percent in 2011. However, the total number of people living in poverty has risen.
The Statistician General pointed out that the lack of comprehensive and credible data is a key constraint to measuring poverty especially in many low-income countries, where data and data gaps pose a serious challenge. However, he said that considerable progress has been made in the areas of data collection and dissemination.
A technical presentation was delivered by Dr. Monica Pinilla (OPHI) and Dr. Sheka Bangura (MoPED). The methodology for Sierra Leone’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is composed of 5 dimensions and 14 indicators: Health (nutrition, child mortality, vaccination), Education (years of schooling, school attendance), Living Standards (clean water, sanitation, bank account), Housing (housing materials, overcrowding, asset ownership), and Energy (internet, electricity, cooking fuel).The report is based upon MICS 2017 data provided by Stats SL.
Overall, the incidence of multidimensional poverty is 64.8 percent (almost two-thirds). Average intensity of poverty, which reflects the share of deprivations each poor person experiences on average, is 57.9 percent. The National MPI, which is the product of the incidence and intensity of poverty, has a value of 0.375. Some of the policy recommendations highlighted include: i) multidimensional poor individuals face high levels of deprivation in access to electricity, sanitation, internet services, and bank accounts; ii) rural areas are more multidimensionally improvised than urban areas; iii) district targeting: Pujehun, Koinadugu, and Tonkolili present the highest incidence of multidimensional poverty; and iv) regional targeting: the north and the south face higher levels of deprivation.
The presentations were followed by a Question and Answer session. The event climaxed with the launching ceremony for Sierra Leone’s Multidimensional Poverty Profile 2019.