Sierra Leone Facts

The situation in Sierra Leone today is so much different than the situation ten years ago when the country was in the grip of a savage and brutal civil war.

Today, Sierra Leone is a fledgling democracy and the war years are fading, for some at least, into an horrific memory. Yet, even now, many of the factors that led to the decade long civil war in a small country with a population of just over five million people, remain just as real.

Certainly the civil war has now been over for a number of years, however some facts have not changed.

The precipitating factors for the civil war were an underlying sense of injustice that the ruling classes were benefiting from the income generated from alluvial diamond mining whilst the poor remained poor. Today the poor are still poor with boys in particular, as they mature into adulthood, still having the scars of their child soldier years. The country's infrastructure is still weak and many are under educated, most un or under employed as well with high unemployment particularly affecting young people (60%), the very young people who were so brutalised as those child soldiers. As such, many attempt to cross illegally in Europe in the hope of finding a better life only for them to die at sea or end up in detention centres once arriving in the EU, mainly via Spain and Italy.

The fight against unemployment and poverty especially for young of Sierra Leone has been described as "the most urgent political and social challenge" facing the country, for without addressing those concerns within an age group who lived through and were scarred by one of the bloodiest civil wars in history, stability for the country cannot be guaranteed and without that stability little hope for rebuilding a still fractured society and damaged economy. When looking at Sierra Leone facts, the concerns speak for themselves. 40% of children under the age of five will die from Malaria; 70% of the population live in poverty rising to 80% in areas most affected by the war; life expectancy is just 48yrs, 7.7% of all children die at birth; there are just 1.6 doctors for every 100,000 people and over one in five of all children under the age of five are underweight. Just over a third of the population can read and write, dropping to just 25% for females.




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Sierra Leone Facts: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Sierra Leone Facts

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Facts about Sierra LeoneOther facts about Sierra include it has sixteen ethnic groups; the Krio language is spoken by 90% of the population despite English being the official country language; a third of the population, some two million, were displaced during the war that left 50,000 dead; although a small country its one of Africa's largest diamond producers and has 40,480 Facebook subscribers despite just 0.8% of the population having internet access!

In an already poor country struggling to buy food, inflation is at over 11%. Given the above, its of no surprise that Sierra Leone is highly dependent on foreign aid however this aid is hindered not only by a lack of structure within government to ensure it is delivered effectively but also a fragmentation within the services provided by aid agencies who often end up running parallel support programs.

The video above concludes that the country faces an uncertain future with the decision makers of tomorrow being those who were most scarred by the civil war of yesteryear whilst the video opposite takes a more upbeat and positive outlook of the country and it's future, however it is one that plays more to how the country could and perhaps should be be rather than it is; a country still tortured and suffering from its recent past.

Yet the video is worth watching for all its faults, as this may be the Sierra Leone familiar to all in ten, twenty years time after the generation of children today become the decision makers of tomorrow and deliver on their own hopes and aspirations that have eluded older generations for so many decades.



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