Neoliberal peace and the development deficit in post‐conflict Sierra Leone

Ngambouk Vitalis Pemunta (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Publication date: 14 September 2012



The purpose of this paper is to examine the structural factors responsible for why “donor darling” has not changed the pitfalls of stagnation and lifted post‐conflict Sierra Leone out of poverty.


The study adopts a bottom‐up approach (“through the eyes of the poor”) and a combination of primary and secondary research methods – substantial desk research to investigate and review documentation related to the project and field interviews with development stakeholders at the national, district, and community levels with humanitarian aid workers, local civil society organisations, international non‐governmental organizations (NGOs) and national government officials.


It is argued that aid without the necessary local institutional structure for effective coordination and stringent aid conditionality – and therefore narrow focus – has stifled sustainable socio‐economic development initiatives. The international community's narrow definition and support for liberal peace, in tandem with the overarching neoliberal economic paradigm and failure to embrace an inclusivist approach to peacebuilding, has further stonewalled effective reconstruction, growth and development.


The paper calls the attention of development NGOs to be self‐reflexive, “wear native spectacles”, coordinate their actions and avoid “development as dependence”, by prioritizing what matters most to the beneficiaries of development. The basis of effective and sustainable socio‐economic development is institutional building.



Vitalis Pemunta, N. (2012), "Neoliberal peace and the development deficit in post‐conflict Sierra Leone", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 192-207.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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