Fact CheckSierra Leone

Sierra Leone is not considered first in women  empowerment in the world as claimed by President Bio

Claim: Mr Bio claimed that if you go around the world, Sierra Leone comes first when you talk about gender empowerment.

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President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, has reiterated his government’s commitment to fulfil promises made to the people of Moyamba.

One of such promises was the reconstruction of the Mabang Bridge which has been in a deplorable state for years.

The bridge has since been reconstructed and a ceremony was held to commission it. During the commissioning, President Bio applauded the spirit of cooperation between his government and the European Union, which both parties claim have resulted in several infrastructure projects across the country. 

The 231-metre double-lane Mabang bridge connects Ribbi Chiefdom, Moyamba District in the south of the country and Koya Chiefdom Port Loko in the North and it’s a significant route for economic activities. The bridge collapsed about nine years ago and has just been reconstructed for use. 

Photo Credit: Office of the President State House, Freetown.

During the commissioning, President Bio expanded the conversation to the recently concluded UNESCO conference on Education in Paris where he boasted that his government has been recognised around the world as a leader in education. His regime’s contribution to education in four years, he stated, got him invited to co-chair the UNESCO meeting on education and would see him co-chair September’s UN General Assembly. 

In his words “I am not someone that loves to blush but I was pleasantly happy when a UNICEF boss told me he wants to come over to Sierra Leone to not teach but learn from us how we have been able to undertake what we have done in the middle of COVID.”

He also claimed Sierra Leone was ranked first in the world as far as women empowerment is concerned. 


The claim about gender empowerment was made in the 0.13- 0.20 seconds of the president’s speech. He spoke in the country’s popular lingua franca- Krio during the commissioning.  The ceremony was also widely transmitted across the country.

The claim by the president on Sierra Leone’s position on the global stage when it comes to women empowerment was huge and DUBAWA saw the need to check the veracity of the claim by looking at the recent Global Gender Gap report of 2022.   The July edition which is the most recent publication has been shared through the World Economic Forum platform.

The Global Gender Gap index benchmarked the current state and evolution of gender parity across four key dimensions as expressed by the managing director Saaida Zahidi in the report. These four dimensions are key criteria taken into account when advancing gender empowerment and the criteria are: Economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

According to the findings of the report, 146 nations were represented in the global gender gap closed by 68.1%. However,  it will take an estimated 132 years to reach full global parity. The report also categorised the gains made in closing the gender gap in the four areas with the health and survival gender gap closed by 95.8%, educational attainment by 94%, economic opportunity and participation by 60% and political empowerment by 22%.

According to Page 5 of the report even though none of the countries met the gender parity status, there are however top ranked countries with the most improved records on gender empowerment and Sierra Leone is not the first as claimed by President Bio. Three Scandinavian nations lead the global rankings.  Iceland comes first with a percentage of 90.8%, followed by Finland at 86%, Norway at 84.5%. Only two African nations ranked in the top ten; Rwanda and Namibia. 

Sierra Leone ranks 109(0.672) in the global ranking and 22nd in Africa in terms of bridging the gender gap and empowerment. Africa’s top five ranked nations are Rwanda 0.811, Namibia 0.87, Burundi 0.782, Mozambique 0.752 and Cape Verde 0.736. With these data, the claim by  President Bio that Sierra Leone comes first in gender and women empowerment is totally untrue.


As much as Sierra Leone continues to make commendable strides in gender empowerment, it has not reached the peak of leading the global ranks as the first country in terms of gender and women empowerment. Therefore, the claim by Mr Bio is false. 

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