Sierra Leone Economy and Culture
The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. It limits to the north with Guinea, to the southeast with Liberia and to the southwest with the Atlantic Ocean. Her name is an adaptation of the Portuguese version: Sera Lyoa, whose meaning was “Sierra / Montaña Leone”. During the 18th century it was an important slave trade center, inhabited by about six million residents. It is a country in which harsh conditions have been for many years one of the main problems when it comes to development.
According to Programingplease, Sierra Leone is the second poorest country in the world and also has a fairly uneven distribution of wealth. It has important mineral and fishing resources and agriculture to promote. However, the social and economic infrastructure is not highly developed, and various social problems continue to hamper economic development, after a 9-year civil war. About two-thirds of the working-age population lives from subsistence agriculture. The industry is reduced to the processing of raw materials and light industry aimed at the domestic market. The issuance of postage stamps, mainly intended for philatelic collecting, is also an important source of income for its economy.
There are plans to reopen the bauxite and rutile mines closed during the conflict. The largest source of foreign exchange for the country is the extraction of diamonds. In addition, as of August 2003, the country’s territorial waters, divided into seven blocks, were opened to hydrocarbon exploration. The future of the economy depends to a large extent on the success of these works, the maintenance of internal peace and the continued receipt of considerable foreign aid, which cannot be extended indefinitely.
In the primary sector, subsistence crops are distinguished, such as rice, cassava or corn; of those dedicated to export, coffee and cocoa stand out. Forest resources are large, allowing Sierra Leone to export high-quality timber. Livestock is scarce, unlike fishing, which occupies a large part of the population. The industry is based on the factories for the transformation of agricultural and forestry products, although there are also factories related to the resources of the subsoil, among which the iron and bauxite deposits stand out, and above all, those of diamonds and rutile (it is a titanium ore), of which Sierra Leone is the world’s leading producer.
The trade abroad is carried out with Western countries, especially the European Union, and has an unfavorable balance because of the need for food import, machinery and equipment, whose value can not be offset by the sale of coffee, wood, bauxite and diamonds. The national currency is the leone, whose contribution is approximately 40 per dollar in US. Communications are based on the 1,150 km of paved roads, of the more than 5,000 km that the road network has, and on the 600 km of navigable rivers throughout the year. There is an international airport in Freetown, which is also the main national seaport.
The culture of Sierra Leone has a mixture of African and English elements. The designation “Sierra Leone” dates back to 1462, when the Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra, sailing along the west coast of Africa, observed the prominent mountains that rose in what is now the Freetown Peninsula and the named “Serra Lyoa”. Later visits by English sailors and the English colonization changed the name to “Sierra Leone.” Despite a number of regional variations in language and traditions, current Sierra Leoneans are united by a number of factors, such as their lingua franca, Krio., the membership of men and women to various associations and societies and the practice of team sports.
It is currently in the reconstruction phase, after the end of a decade-long Civil War in 2002, one more in Africa, a continent punished by inequality and wars that is beginning to enjoy a situation of peace that does not last long. little by little by all their countries. This country was born from the seed of freed slaves from African colonies that in the 18th century settled after their freedom here, not in vain the name of its capital is Freetown, which was born as a free city, although it soon became a colony British until 1961 when it achieved its independence.