Natural resources and energy
Sierra Leone has great natural resources,
such as high quality iron ore and diamonds. There is
also plenty of rutile, bauxite and gold. The diamonds
are often easily accessible in river deposits. Oil and
natural gas have been found offshore, but no recovery
has yet begun. Iron mining on a larger scale was
initiated in 2012, but almost all operations ceased as a
result of the Ebola outbreak in 2014 (see Finance).
In recent years, the US-based oil company Anadarko
Petroleum has announced that new, large oil discoveries
have been found. Several other companies, such as
Russian Lukoil, have also obtained licenses to search
for and extract oil. However, the Ebola crisis has set a
bar and with reduced demand and a record low world
market price of oil, it is uncertain whether a recovery
can pay off.
Major exports by Sierra Leone with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
From 2000 until June 2003, the UN Security Council
banned trade in Sierra Leonean diamonds, which was not
accompanied by an official certificate that they had
been legally broken. The intention was to prevent the
Ruf rebels from financing their warfare with the help of
"blood diamonds". The embargo was lifted when the
government managed to convince the Security Council that
it had taken power to gain control of the diamond
mining. Sierra Leone participates in the so-called
Kimberley Process, where upwards of 50 diamond-producing
and importing countries have committed to counteract the
illegal diamond trade that has fueled several African
wars. However, this does not mean that all diamond
smuggling has ceased.
All the electricity in the capital Freetown and other
major cities are still coming from oil-powered power
plants. Due to oil shortages, power outages are common.
Large parts of the hinterland have no electricity supply
at all. A large hydroelectric power plant at Bumbuna
Falls in the north was completed in 2009 after decades
of work. The project largely stopped during the
1991–2002 war, but then resumed and expedited the work.
The facility was financed to more than half by the World
Bank. However, an even bigger expansion is ongoing and
is expected to be completed in 2017.
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Renewable energy is also invested. Among other
things, Abu Dhabi has funded a solar energy investment.
Sierra Leone also participates in a collaborative
project financed by the African Development Bank in the
field of energy between several countries in West
Africa. The government's (optimistic) goal is to extract
1000 mW by 2017, which would then cover a large part of
the country's electricity needs.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
1 309 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.2 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
77.7 percent (2015)
Police Chief gets to go
President Koromo dismisses Chief of Police Francis Munu and appoints him new
ambassador to Liberia. Koromo does not say what motivated the decision, but the
dismissal comes after pressure from the SLPP, including since the party's
spokesman Lahai Lawrence Leema and several party activists were arrested.
"Peace Diamond" brings in just over $ 6 million
The sale of a 709 carat diamond, the size of an egg and the largest found in
Sierra Leone, brings in $ 6.5 million at a New York auction. The so-called peace
diamond was found by a Christian pastor, Emmanuel Momoh, who decided that it
should be sold and that the proceeds go to local development projects.
Ecowas Court: Failure to dismiss Vice President Sam-Sumana
President Koroma made mistakes that dismissed Vice President Samuel
Sam-Sumana after he was excluded from the APC government in March 2015. It
states an Ecowas court, citing that it had not followed the applicable
procedures and thus goes against the Supreme Court ruling in September 2015 It
states that the government must pay Sam-Sumana's salary and also bear the costs
of the trial. The Ecowas Court's decision is binding and cannot be appealed.
However, the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Justice claims that the Ecowas Court has
no mandate to decide the case. Samuel Sam-Sumana intends to run for office in
the March 2018 presidential election.
Ebola money disappeared into corruption
The Red Cross apologizes for the equivalent of $ 6 million in aid funds
disappeared through corruption and fraud during the Ebola crisis in West Africa
2014 to 2016. For Sierra Leone, it was about $ 2.1 million that disappeared in a
scam where former Red Cross employees cooperated with a Bank.
Kamara and Bio will be the main candidates in the 2018 presidential election
The country's two largest parties will announce their candidates in the March
2018 presidential election. The ruling party General People's Congress (APC)
appoints Foreign Minister Samura Kamara as its presidential candidate. Kamara is
an economist and has previously worked for the International Monetary Fund
(IMF). The Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), weakened by strong internal
contradictions, will, as in the 2012 elections, be represented by a former
military: Julius Maada Bio. So far, 13 parties have been registered to stand in
the parliamentary elections, while another seven are waiting for the go-ahead.
Tensions in the country are rising before the election, among other things,
death threats have been directed at two members of the election commission.
At least 400 dead in landslides
At least 400 people have died in connection with floods and landslides in
Freetown. Vice President Victor Foh warns that the death toll may rise as
another 600 people are missing. About 3,000 people are estimated to have lost
their homes. Those affected were residents of houses, often erected without
permission, along rock walls on the outskirts of the capital. According to a
national environmental organization Society 4 Climate Change Communication
(S4CCC), the disaster was triggered for several reasons: climate change, forest
harvesting, lack of urban planning.