Sierra Leone
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Country Overview

Sierra Leone is a Democratic Republic located in West Africa 8°north of the equator. It has an area of approximately 29,000 sq/mi (the size of Scotland) and a population of 6,000,000 people.

In 2002 following the revolutionary war, the country held its first democratic elections supervised by the United Nations (UN). The elected incumbent government has a mandate through 2007 when the next elections are due to be held. Following the war, UN forces from a variety of countries re-established security and stability within the country with the transitional hand over of internal security to local military and police forces planned to be completed prior to the next national elections in 2007.

Since the elections in 2002, Sierra Leone has seen a large resurgence in economic development with European, Asian and North American corporations establishing or re-establishing their presence in the Industrial, Finance, Resource and Technology sectors of business. From a resource point of view, the country is rich in iron ore, gold, diamonds, bauxite, titanium and chromite ore. Companies such as Godwana Exploration, Sierra Rutile, Stanton Mining, Branch Energy, Rex Mining, Mano River Resources, Pacific-Betts and African Diamonds to name a few have spent millions dollars in exploration and development in the resource sector. As well, Sierra Leone has a rich forestry and fishing industry and recently the government has issued off shore oil exploration licenses to a number of corporations. Prior to the war Sierra Leone had a vibrant tourist industry based on 400 km of shoreline with pristine beaches, dive sites, off and onshore fishing and animal reserves. The government is actively encouraging the redevelopment of this sector of the economy.

Since the democratic election of the current government in 2002, The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have provided significant funding to rebuild the infrastructure in areas of power and water, sanitation, roads, and housing to name a few. As well many non-government organizations (NGO's) from US Europe and around the world have been providing a multitude of services including but not limited to medical support, education, water and sewage improvement, housing development and small business support among others. Recently the EU Union has built a large complex in Freetown and the US government is in the process of completing and relocating It's new Embassy for West Africa in Freetown.

The governments current position is “We’re open for Business” and it is encouraging foreign investment in all sectors of the economy. (From a personal point of view based on experience over the past 36 months, the people are friendly, helpful and happy to see you and personal safety is equal to or better than many European or North American locales contrary to depictions on some web sites),