Sierra Leone. In January, the government decided to ban timber exports for the time being. Chinese and other foreign companies have been accused of deforestation, especially since the logging ban in Guinea and Ivory Coast drove them to Sierra Leone.
Local elections were conducted in July in orderly form. Like the 2007 parliamentary elections, it was a success for the General People’s Congress (APC), followed closely by the previous ruling party of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
In August, the UN Security Council decided to set up a new peace-building organization for Sierra Leone, named UNIPSIL. The organization, with 60-70 employees, will help the government to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law and to fight corruption. UNIPSIL replaces the larger civilian organization UNIOSIL that has been operating in the country since the unarmed UNAMSIL peacekeeping force was wound down in 2005.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of SL in general and in geography as Sierra Leone in particular.
About 20,000 senior civil servants are forced to report their personal assets. President Ernest Bai Koroma became the first to report on his property after signing a law to intensify the fight against corruption.
Security forces shot and killed a protester in March 2017, injuring at least 2 others during student protests in Bo. Students at Njala University demonstrated courage for not receiving tuition since October. The teachers had then gone on strike in protest of the government’s failure to pay their wages. Acc. the police had the students build barricades, burnt car tires and were not allowed to demonstrate. There were also student demonstrations in Freetown. There they were met with tear gas from the police.
After 3 days of cloudburst in August 2017, landslides in residential areas around Freetown came. Somewhere between 500 and 1,000 people were killed. The disaster was a consequence of unusually heavy and prolonged rain, and extensive forest felling, so that there was no longer anything to hold on the ground.
In September, Nigerian priest Victor Ajisafe was jailed in Freetown after preaching extreme religious intolerance and fanatical hate speech against Islam and Sierra Leone’s Muslims. His Pentecostal unity and his religious license were temporarily closed and revoked. The incident created religious tensions in the otherwise religiously tolerant country. Muslims demanded Ajisafe be deported back to Nigeria. During his detention, Ajisafe apologized to the Muslims and the government of Sierra Leone. After a few days in jail, he was then released, allowed to reopen his congregation and got his license again, but was put on the government watch list.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Sierra Leone in 2008 was 6,415,523, ranking number 105 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.590% yearly, and the population density was 88.8838 people per km2.
The struggle for control of the diamond mines, a wealth that has historically attracted European attention to the country and has favored exports since the 1960s, has been one of the focal points of the armed conflict and still today, alongside the official production certified by the state, there is still a clandestine activity that is difficult to crush. The production of diamonds (360,000 carats in 2007) is managed by foreign companies and mainly concentrated in the centers of Kono, Kenema, Bo and Tongo. The production of rutile minerals (mines of Shenge and Gbangbana), from which titanium dioxide is obtained, is becoming increasingly important. The extraction of iron from the Lunsar and Koinadugu-Farangbaya deposits is modest. Other underground resources include platinum, chromite and bauxite. The manufacturing industry is mainly oriented to the processing of agricultural products (oil mills and mills) and forestry products. In the vicinity of the capital, in Kissy, an oil refining center operates. Furthermore, in the city of Freetown, in addition to the diamond processing plants, there are cement factories and chemical industries. The secondary sector contributes 31% to GDP, a share largely due to the extractive industry. The trade balance is structurally passive; exports are largely represented by diamonds, followed by rutile, cocoa and coffee. The country mainly imports food, machinery, fuel and chemicals. Main trading partners are China, the United States, Belgium and India.
The road network (11,300 km in 2002) is less than 10% asphalted, while the railway network consists of a single section that connects the capital to the main diamond centers. River and coastal navigation, which can use about 800 km of waterways, is hampered by the natural features of the hydrographic network. Freetown is the country’s main port and airport.