Sierra Leone is OK now. A newly-elected government is in power and day-to-day activities of the administration are ongoing.
In the aftermath of the brutal civil war from 1991 to 2002 in Sierra Leone, tens of thousands lost their lives while one-third of the country's population was displaced. Today, however, Sierra Leone has enjoyed several years of peace and has strengthened its security sector, promoted human rights and rule of law, and prepared for upcoming elections. Now, the country is ready to rebuild its economy through new private investments.
Determined to make a fresh start, Sierra Leone’s new president, Ernest Bai Koroma, has promised to tackle the country's economy with a highly ambitious program of reforms aimed to encourage foreign and local investment, build basic public infrastructure and services, and improve government accountability. One such initiative by the Sierra Leonean government includes negotiating entry into the UK-based Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which would make corporations and government become more transparent — and more attractive to investors.
Sierra Leone’s government has also been working with the IFC World Bank Investment Climate team for Africa, which will advise them on how best to implement reforms “to improve the country’s investment environment and remove obstacles blocking private sector development.”
In addition to the agricultural and gold-mining industries, Sierra Leone’s tourism industry is also getting a makeover. According to The Independent, "London-based travel companies are now marketing the former British colony as an adventure holiday destination as well as the setting for off-season sun and surf vacations to compete with the Canary Islands.”
Sierra Leone has a long way to go. It still ranks near the bottom on the UN's Human Development Index, one popular indicator of a country's well-being. But even without private investment, Sierra Leone has a lot to celebrate. As the UN Peacebuilding Commission has noted, “Sierra Leone could take pride in having restored State authority throughout the country, disarmed former combatants, resettled over 1 million displaced people, held elections, re-established public and social institutions, rehabilitated government infrastructure and provided some basic services.”
For a country once torn by war, those are certainly signs of progress.