Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises in Sierra Leone

What has been done:

The enabling environment for sustainable enterprises in Sierra Leone was assessed through a careful review of secondary data, findings from a large national enterprise survey, in-depth interviews and supplementary information from published and unpublished materials. The assessment produced a detailed identification of barriers that discourage investment, entrepreneurship, job creation and firm competitiveness.

Within the framework of its ongoing support to the promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and in line with its mandate to contribute to a conducive environment for sustainable enterprises, the ILO collaborated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the social partners to undertake an assessment of the business environment. This was done using the ILO methodology, with the objective of identifying possible constraints and areas needing improvement. This report is the outcome of the assessment and is designed to stimulate debate and to provide evidence for policy reforms towards putting in place an environment more conducive to the promotion of sustainable enterprises in Sierra Leone. In particular, this report has been used to identify priority areas for legal, policy and institutional reforms.

The Survey and its sample:

The EESE Enterprise Survey of Sierra Leone was conducted with the objective to identify and assess business environment factors that affect business development and job creation in the country. The survey was carried out to investigate ten key factors that affect the business environment.
A perception survey was administered using the ILO EESE methodology. A total of 497 questionnaires were administered to business owners/managers, and distributed proportional to the size of the district. Interviewed enterprises operate in agribusiness and fishing, wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing and mining. Overall, 84% of these businesses are formal businesses, with 16% being informal. 96% of all surveyed enterprises are small enterprises, although medium and large enterprises were also interviewed. Data among enterprises was collected in the Western Area, Bo, Bombali, Kenema, and Kono districts. A perception survey among 100 employees was conducted in the Western Area.


The EESE assessment has identified that despite various efforts that have taken place to promote a sustainable business environment in Sierra Leone, several issues have been identified as major constraints for a business-friendly environment. Chapter 6 of the EESE assessment report outlines the key findings.
Against this background, constituents have developed an action plan towards reforms in the following areas:
  • A conducive legal and regulatory environment;
  • Access to finance;
  • Education, training and life-long learning.