In This Review

Development Strategy and the Economy of Sierra Leone
Development Strategy and the Economy of Sierra Leone
By John Weeks
St. Martins Press, 1992, 191 pp

This angry book argues that the World Bank and the IMF misdiagnosed the development problems of Sierra Leone, imposed ideologically motivated and misdirected policy prescriptions, then blamed the victims for the poor results instead of admitting their own share of responsibility. Unlike some polemics against lender-imposed structural adjustment programs in Africa, this one is by a competent economist, and it takes a close-up look at evidence drawn from one country over an extended period. Among the author's findings: factors in the world economy external to Sierra Leone are the principal source of the country's decline, not domestic mismanagement; Sierra Leone's post-independence economy did not have an urban bias; its currency was not particularly overvalued, nor was its agricultural pricing particularly wrong. Nor is it true that no better alternatives existed to the failed policies prescribed for the country by the multilateral lenders.