In the latest edition of the WFP RAM Sierra Leone Market Prices Bulletin for Quarter 3, 2023, alarming economic trends have been highlighted.
Leone’s Drastic Depreciation: The Sierra Leonean Leone (SLe) faced a staggering 60% depreciation against the United States Dollar (USD) from September 2022 to September 2023. This decline stands out as one of the most significant drops in domestic currency value within West Africa.
Soaring Inflation Rates: The nation witnessed a surge in headline inflation, reaching a staggering 50.94% in August 2023. Food inflation followed suit, skyrocketing to 62.9% during the same period.
Rising Rice Prices: Prices for both imported and local rice experienced notable increases. Comparing the current quarter to the previous one, the cost of a kilogram of imported rice rose by 7.8%, while local rice saw an 8.7% hike. Year on year, the escalation was even more substantial, with imported and local rice prices surging by 41% and 40.8%, respectively.
Dwindling Purchasing Power: The average Sierra Leonean faced a diminishing purchasing power, primarily driven by escalating staple prices. The report reveals that a daily labor wage now buys only 1.7 kg of local rice, down from 1.8 kg during the same period last year.
These economic indicators underscore the challenges faced by Sierra Leoneans, emphasizing the need for strategic interventions to stabilize the economy and safeguard the livelihoods of the population.