Sierra Leone - Economic development
The Sierra Leone government, in addition to stabilizing its balance-of-payment and budgetary deficits and meeting its debt obligations, seeks investors in its mining sector. A parallel economy, lawless conditions, and a crumbling infrastructure continue to constrain economic growth. The government in the early 2000s was working with foreign donors to undertake rural development and agricultural projects. In 2001, the government created a mining community development fund, to direct a portion of diamond export taxes to diamond mining communities. The government encourages foreign investment. Senegal formed the Mano River Union (MRU) customs union with Liberia and Guinea, to implement development projects and promote regional economic integration.
In 2001, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $169 million three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) Arrangement for Sierra Leone, to support the government's economic reform program. In 2002, Sierra Leone became eligible for nearly $950 million in debt service relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.