15 August 2010

Sierra Leone 2050 ~ Challenges & Opportunities

I'm fascinated by the long-term future prospects for Sierra Leone, an impoverished but beautiful and resource-rich West African country on the mend after a destructive civil war. Opportunities come from developing the mineral resources in such a way that the people participate in the upside, perhaps via some percapitization method, and certainly drawing on the lessons-learned by Paul Collier and colleagues, as well as Paul Romer and his Charter Cities movement. This means seeking better pathways for sustainably developing Freetown, the capital city, an intriguing emerging entrepot, and potentially the Hong Kong of West Africa. This certainly includes seeking slum solutions and transforming the lives of people in locales such as Kroo Bay for the better... Further bridge-building with neighbors, both Liberia and the historically Francophonic, are important, including, for instance, accelerating connective infrastructure, especially railways and upgrading the roadways, and turning Gola Forest into a transfrontier peace park. And certainly boosting openness, supporting the UN's deep engagement, resolving land disputes, minimizing corruption, and seeking a measure of justice for the injured and aggrieved. As TIME just noted in a tragic photoessay, maternal and other healthcare services need investment and support. While there's tremendous challenges and room for progress, Sierra Leone has many positives... As a final note, here in a very cool move, UNICEF goodwill ambassador and ultra-famous football star, David Beckham, stops at a roadside pitch in Sierra Leone and totally surprises the local players!-)

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