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.
According to 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 accounts.