In November 2012, Sierra Leone successfully held free, fair and transparent elections, widely hailed as a landmark moment in the nation’s journey towards democracy.
However, over a decade after Sierra Leone emerged from a brutal civil war, it still faces huge challenges in lifting people out of poverty; more than 60% of the people still live below the poverty line.
Power and governance
Despite Sierra Leone’s move towards democracy, the political landscape remains divided along south-eastern and north-western regional lines.
There has however, been some progress in opening up political space for citizens to engage in their own development. There has also been some success in the fight against corruption and government accountability.
More than 70% of the population – mainly women – depend on the land for their livelihoods. The rush for farmland by foreign investors engaged in industrial-scale plantation agriculture in Sierra Leone has increased poverty and food shortages among communities who have lost their access to land.
Sierra Leone is a patriarchal society in which women are disadvantaged and under-represented in both the traditional and formal governance systems. Cultural norms and practices discriminate against women, hampering their access to power and resources.