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Social Sciences
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English (U.S.)
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Mining Undermines Development Possibility in Sierra Leone (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

- Address the following question: How does agriculture in the country shape development possibilities? Examine an environmental issue and its impact on development in your country (e.g., agriculture, land grabs, mining or fossil fuel extraction, environmental services, climate change, resource exploitation).
- No more than 25% of the bibliography can be web sites.
- start with the colonial history of Sierra Leone: how its resources were exploited back then
- issue of "blood diamond": black market/enslaved labor/warlord/corrupted government
- GDP relies too much on mining and exporting raw materials
- When trade with non-western countries(ie. China) recently its trade strategy does not change: still exporting irons

source..
Content:

How Does Mining Undermine Development Possibility in Sierra Leone
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Introduction
Natural resources are any country’s greatest source of riches and platform for economic growth. Most countries that are well endowed with natural resources such as minerals have a good footing for economic development compared to the countries that do not have. For example, South Africa is very rich in the gold mineral. As a result, the country has enjoyed exponential economic growth over the years. Today, South Africa ranks among the top countries in Africa in terms of economic growth. The growth of the economy in South Africa has allowed the rising to the ranks of top strong economies worldwide. While things are looking up for South Africa, the same cannot be said of Sierra Leone despite the fact that the latter is equally endowed with the diamond mineral. It still remains puzzling as to why the Sierra Leone’s economy does not seem to benefit from the presence of the diamond mineral. Although the country is rich with diamonds, the economy still remains down with extremely slow growth experienced over the years. The focus of this paper is the effect of mining on the economy and consequent development in Sierra Leone.
Background Information
Despite having mined diamond for many years, it is concerning to note that Sierra Leone’s population largely remains in poverty. It is the expectation of the international community that countries with natural resources will benefit their population and that the economy will grow as is the case with South Africa. That has not been the case with the Sierra Leone, whose economy continues to struggle despite the huge diamond exported to the global market. Instead, the mining of diamond in Sierra Leone appears to be depressing the economy further while causing adverse environmental impacts. Diamond mining in Sierra Leone began in the 1930s and yet, the majority of the people in the country live below a dollar a day.
The last three decades have seen the country experience a continuous decline in the economic performance. The growth rate in the country’s GDP has been on the decline and export of diamond has made nil contribution to helping the economy back on its feet. Human Development Index for Sierra Leona remains at an all time low and indication that a large portion of the country’s population continues to live in abject poverty.
Despite the negative connotation associated with the mining sector, economists believe that this is the only sector that has the capability of injecting income that could significantly push the economy forward. For many years, diamond in Sierra Leone remains the largest earner of export income. However, lack of proper policies in the country’s mining sector has resulted to exploitation of the mineral and as result, the income is not ploughed back to help the growth of the economy.
The Collapse of the Mining Sector
In the 1960s and 70s, mining of diamonds played a central role in contributing to economic growth. The government collected huge revenues from the export of diamond and with proper management of the revenues, the economy of the country moved up. However, with successive governments and bad politics, the revenues were mismanaged and the income from the export of diamonds was no longer pumped into the economy. This would begin the downward trend of the Sierra Leone economy, which is yet to recover close to four decades after. The rebel war in the country between 1991 and 2002 was the main contributor to the collapse of the economy of the country. With the war, it was no longer possible to have proper structures that could ensure that the revenues were channeled in the right d...

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