Country in Focus: Sierra Leone

When Sierra Leone gained its independence from Britain in 1961, the country entered a long and arduous process of nation-building after decades of civil war tearing the country apart. Through the actions of warring factions, Sierra Leoneans experienced the horrors and atrocities of warfare and severe human rights abuses on an unprecedented scale, resulting in hundreds of thousands of citizens having to flee from their homes.

With relative peace restored in the recent decade, Sierra Leone has been seeking to become a transformed nation with middle-income status. This has primarily been achieved through key reforms in infrastructure, energy, the private sector, development and job creation. However, under both past and present leaders, Sierra Leone has continued to face the challenge of enhancing transparency in managing the country’s vast natural resources. Furthermore, the country still suffers from high youth unemployment, corruption and weak national cohesion. Moreover, widespread rural and urban poverty still persists despite remarkable strides and reforms.

When the Ebola virus broke out in 2014, an already strained country was subjected to a severe crisis. It has been estimated that a total of 13,500 cases of Ebola were reported and 4,000 deaths have been documented. Experts believe the danger has not yet abated, and they caution against relaxing the safety and health precautions currently in place.

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