An offshore free-for-all

The Africa Report
Accra, Freetown and Monrovia

Brightly painted wooden fishing canoes are as much a feature of West Africa’s coastline as its crashing waves, sandy beaches and palm trees. Millions of people depend on fishing for their livelihoods and for food. National economies and foreign-exchange earnings are given a boost by vibrant fisheries industries. Yet at least one fifth of the catch is lost to illegal fishing, a problem that has been assessed by the Marine Resources Assessment Group as costing up to $9bn worldwide and $1bn in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Continue reading An offshore free-for-all

Private sector approach to solving the problems of Sierra Leone

The Times of London
Freetown, Sierra Leone

Like many of the foreigners in Freetown, Niall O’Cathasaigh came here to do good.

Aged 28 and with an accountancy background, he spent 12 months running the finances of an Irish aid agency. It was a good year, spent helping Sierra Leone to emerge from the ruins of a decade-long civil war. Continue reading Private sector approach to solving the problems of Sierra Leone

‘Make-or-break’ time as impoverished, war-ravaged nation goes to the polls

Sunday Herald
Freetown, Sierra Leone

For the first time since the end of a bloody civil war in Sierra Leone five years ago, elections were held yesterday without the presence of thousands of international peacekeepers. Instead it was the task of the reformed national police force to maintain security in presidential and parliamentary elections organised by the equally untested electoral commission. Continue reading ‘Make-or-break’ time as impoverished, war-ravaged nation goes to the polls

Rappers blast out their message of peace

The Times of London
Freetown, Sierra Leone

In his spotless trainers, baggy jeans and tight white T-shirt, Haroun Dumbuya, aka Wahid, is every inch a modern rap star. But rather than rapping about drugs and violence Wahid is drawing the crowds with his message of peace and democracy in the run-up to crucial elections today. Continue reading Rappers blast out their message of peace

Sierra Leone vote a test of self-rule

Christian Science Monitor
Freetown, Sierra Leone

The last time residents of Sierra Leone were asked to choose their president, the tiny West African country was just coming out of a brutal 11-year civil war fueled by the illicit trade of “blood diamonds.” There were 17,000 international peacekeepers in the country and the process was run by the United Nations. Continue reading Sierra Leone vote a test of self-rule

Peace but no prosperity in mining towns

Sunday Herald
Koidu, Sierra Leone

Mohamed Sano gave up farming three years ago and came to seek his fortune in the muddy pits of Koidu, the capital of Sierra Leone’s diamond industry. He hasn’t found it. Nor have most of the 200,000 other miners in Sierra Leone who search for diamonds with a bucket, a spade and a sieve. Continue reading Peace but no prosperity in mining towns