Imagine starting a country from scratch. That’s what it feels like everyone is doing in Sierra Leone, a country now 10 years out of a civil war, but still struggling to restore infrastructure to pre-war levels.
It’s not a disaster zone and it’s not like countries such as Brazil or Nigeria with extremes of wealth and poverty, luxury living and slums. Almost everyone – eight out of 10 – in Sierra Leone is poor according to the UN development index.
That said, the country is bursting with energy and optimism. “Sierra Leone is not going backwards,” says Dr Mohamed Yilla, an obstetrician and country director for Evidence 4 Action, a programme funded by British aid aimed at reducing maternal and baby mortality.
“With the windfall taxes coming from the mines, the potential for improvement is enormous,” he says...