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Thursday, September 15, 2011

COUNTRY #189: Sierra Leone

Welcome Country #189:


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Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one-third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country's stability. The armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 presidential election, but still look to the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) - a civilian UN mission - to support efforts to consolidate peace. The new government's priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.

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That's the Google account above.  According to another, Sierra Leone has 7 million people and is among the 10 poorest countries in the UNDP human development index.  More than half don't have drinking water.  Even though the country is blessed with diamonds, gold, bauxite and other minerals, corruption and bad management has stifled progress.

The State Department, is neutral to positive and has a comprehensive report on the country, indicating that the country is slightly smaller than South Carolina, has 20 ethnic groups, and is noted for educational achievements and entrepreneurial skills  The first slaves to North American came from here, and 400 of their descendants in 1787 were returned home by the British.

You can visit the country.  The country speaks English and it is relatively safe to visit Freetown.  Outside the city can be an adventure, perhaps the wrong kind.


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