Sierra Leone. The prospects for an economic upswing
continued to look pretty bright in 2011. For the first time
since the civil war broke out two decades ago, the cocoa
cultivations went off with a profit, albeit insignificant,
and tourism increased strongly. In the first half of the
year alone, tourists pumped in almost twice as much money in
the country, about US $ 19 million, as in the whole of 2010.
Sierra Leone's mile-long sandy beaches are among the finest
in the world and tourism employs about 5,000 people.
Countryaah official site, an investigation into the country's known oil deposits
also suggested that production, once it gets underway, could
yield over US $ 100 million per year.
However, Sierra Leone's major problem is that much of the
development is slowed down by the extensive corruption. The
head of the Maritime Administration was prosecuted on 194
points and several other senior officials also ended up in
windy weather for shady business. According to a report by
the anti-corruption authority, just over 85% of the
country's traffic police are prone to take bribes, while
corruption among customs officials is estimated at just over
77%, among court officials close to 73% and among employees
at the tax authorities over 64%. It was not clear how these
figures were obtained.
A serious consequence of the corruption was shown in a
report by Amnesty International on the free care program for
pregnant and lactating women and children under five, which
started in 2010 with the support of UNICEF, the World Bank,
the WHO and the British state. A year later, there were
certainly more women who could give birth to their children
in real clinics, but many were still forced to pay for the
care and the poor had limited access to maternal care.
Medicines and other medical equipment intended for the
state-free clinics often ended up in private clinics. Port
officials in Freetown were reported to refuse to pass on
incoming loads of drugs unless they were paid extra.
During the preparations for the general elections in
2012, 27 parties were deregistered - all but four. They were
removed from the lists because they had not presented their