entire generation leaving Sierra Leone today as
probably the world's poorest country where life expectancy is
around 56 years and over half the population illiterate.
About one half of the working population are engaged in
subsistence farming, and, apart from light industry for internal
markets, the country is dependent on foreign aid to meet the
needs of its people, supplemented to some extent by its largest
export of diamonds. Recent oil discoveries off the coast may help in the longer
term, but probably not for many years ahead. Most young people
are unemployed, or unemployable having been traumatised by the
war, a chilling reminder that the activating agents for the war
are still very evident.
in Sierra Leone in most evident in the north, south and east,
the areas most affected by the war where, in some areas, over
80% of the population live on less than 60p a day. This
financial poverty is compounded by poor access to adequate
healthcare, education and nutritious food.
One of the effects of poverty in Sierra Leone is an inability
to prevent the spread of malaria, as nets and insect repellents
are an unaffordable luxury. Its a sad fact that catching and
probably dying of malaria is an accepted fact of life in Sierra
Leone with 40% of all under 5s being killed by the disease.