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Settling for a future in Sierra Leone

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Settling for a future in Sierra Leone

There is an English phrase "all that glitters is not gold". But, for Sierra Leone, a better phrase may be "all that sparkles does not bring peace and prosperity"; for years, the world's most precious mineral mined from Sierra Leona has become known as so-called 'blood diamonds', as conflict over the diamond fields resulted in over a decade of civil war and destruction.

Sierra Leone is a country with much potential - it has a long rainy season and fertile soil - but it currently flounders as the second poorest nation in the world. During the years of war, research into natural resources stopped, expertise and information were lost, supply chains were destroyed, livestock killed, tools required to farm or fish were stolen, and few inputs were available. Household surveys conducted two years after the end of conflict revealed that 70 per cent of the population lived below the national poverty line - and a quarter in extreme poverty.

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