The government of Sierra Leone through policies is charged to control trade barriers and ensure an enabling environment within which residents and private sector at large can thrive and build capacities to produce quality goods and services competitively and on sustainable basis. This study assesses the role of trade on economic growth in Sierra Leone using both primary data acquired from 15 participants’ interviews and secondary data sourced from published literature ranging from 2016 to 2020. This study employs the absolute advantage, mercantilism, and comparative advantage analytical frameworks to ascertain the effects of domestic and international trade approaches on economic growth and the Sierra Leoneans in general. Results show that trade has positive effects on economic growth of the country through improved infra-structure, systems, and trade policies that have seen the economy grow from 0.8% to 1.4%, although marred with challenges. Precisely, agricultural products related trade contributes approximately 45% of the country’s GDP. Consequently, the findings revealed that Sierra Leoneans have benefited through trade on job opportunities since 6.5% of working-age population are on wages with the rest involved in trade-related activities, thus directly reflecting in poverty reduction. Finally, the government and private sector are the vital drivers of trade in the country through creation of enabling environment for direct investments and value addition, and the approach of trade in regional blocs and international market. However, corruption and importation stood as huge obstacles to realizing the full potential of trade in the country. Therefore, addressing the obstacles and productively controlling import levels will boost the economic growth through trade.

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Wagner, Natascha
Economics of Development (ECD)
International Institute of Social Studies

Sam-Kpakra, Kema. (2020, December 18). Trade and economic growth of Sierra Leone. Economics of Development (ECD). Retrieved from