According to the World Bank’s website, the mission inscribed on the World Bank Group’s websi

According to the World Bank's website, the mission inscribed on the World Bank Group's website is “Our Dream is a World Free of Poverty” (Poverty overview, 2015). In 2012, the most recent estimates available, global poverty was down to 12.7 percent from 37 percent in 1990. One of the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations was to cut global poverty in half by 2015 – this goal was reached in 2010 as more than on billion people have been lifted out of poverty since 1990 (Goal 1, n.d.). But global poverty is still far from eradicated, and some countries and regions experience a disproportionate amount of that global poverty percentage. For example, in 2012 almost 78 percent of those in poverty were living in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.


In 1959 Walt Whitman Rostow published a paper outlining his explanation for the stages of modern economic growth. He offered five stages of economic development: the traditional society, preconditions for takeoff, takeoff, the drive to maturity, and the age of high mass consumption (Rostow, 1959). Sierra Leone, located in Sub-Saharan Africa, had 52 percent of its population living under the national poverty level as recently as 2011 (Poverty headcount, n.d.). It was ranked as 180 out of 187 countries by the Human Development Index in 2011 (About Sierra Leone, n.d.). In Rostow's stages of economic growth, Sierra Leone would be placed firmly within the traditional society stage. Traditional societies are largely agricultural, and 46 percent of Sierra Leone's annual GDP comes from agriculture. Rostow also argues that in a traditional society, food production accounts for 75 percent of the available labor force – in Sierra Leone, this number hovers right around 75 percent.

Sierra Leone will require a great amount of effort to move along the path towards economic development. Since the conclusion of a civil war lasting from 1990 to 2002, the country has made great strides towards government stability and improved economic performance. In fact, prior to the Ebola outbreak last year, the GDP growth rate in 2014 was 16.3 percent (Sierra Leone, n.d.). Thus far into 2015 the growth rate more than 13 percent. One of the major ways the government helped spur this growth is investment in industrial sectors, especially mining of both diamonds and iron ore. These industries were affected by the Ebola outbreak, but as the country recovers the government should continue to invest in those industries and also attempt to attract foreign investment.

A large percentage of Sierra Leone's GDP comes from exports. In 2010, the UN lifted sanctions against the country, and since then exports have climbed dramatically (Sierra Leone exports, n.d.). Diamonds account for the largest percentage of exports at 63 percent, followed by cocoa and coffee. Though this industry is rebuilding after the Ebola outbreak and is what contributed to the economic recovery following the civil war, it is important that the government attract foreign investment to diversify its industries. Sierra Leone's balance of trade in 2014 was almost at -$90MM, meaning that the country imported $90MM more than it exported. The country needs to expand and grow its exports to reverse this balance.


In order to continue to fight contraction from the Ebola outbreak and to improve the economy overall, the Sierra Leone government will have to maintain a strict budget while still supporting necessary social services, including Ebola recovery (Gbandia, 2015). Due to rising prices as the economy expanded and the decline of the currency against the dollar, inflation has been above 8 percent. The government has recently created a unit to raise taxes on mining revenue and to reduce fraud (Gbandia, 2015). Continued action like this will help bring the economy out of the post-Ebola slump, and spur the country towards economic development that can help reduce poverty.

The role of the United States in reducing global poverty is one of significant debate, and the debate extends to other elements of human crises as well. A good example of this debate is the recent Syrian refugee crisis. Refugee supporters want the US to allow more immigrants from Syria to help ease the crisis, while others argue that the United States should focus on internal affairs. As part of the United Nations, the US government has a responsibility to work towards reducing global poverty as this is a UN global goal. In September the White House stated that investment in these global goals is also investment in the US' prosperity and security (Pipa, 2015). I think it is important for the United States to help ease global poverty as we are part of humanity, and that humanity is a community. We are not as isolated as we might think. But at the same time, it is important that the US government also work to reduce the poverty that is present in the United States.








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