Thursday, March 01, 2012

Good News from Africa: Sierra Leone Army is a Force for Peace

Peacekeeping at Home and Abroad

A decade after a long and horrendous civil war, Sierra's Leone's army is helping to keep the peace at home and also contributing to peace-keeping missions abroad. The army is small but professional, proud of its record in promoting peace and stability in a nation that boasts a democratically elected government and dramatic progress in socioeconomic development. Click here for a first-rate BBC report on the army; here, to read about a British general (l.) who is considered a hero in Sierra Leone because of his remarkable role in helping to end the civil war; and here, to read a recent AFP interview with Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Sierra Leone "has much to celebrate," Blair told AFP. The news agency reported Blair "is upbeat about the progress in the former British colony he visits often as part of his African Governance Initiative which advises troubled nations on reforms."

AFP via the Office of Tony Blair:
"It [Sierra Leone] has changed government through a proper process of democracy, people thought that was impossible in Sierra Leone some years ago but it has happened," said Blair.

And ahead of presidential polls this November, despite recent political tensions, "most people expect free elections."

Roads have been built, lights have gone on in Freetown and massive investments are pouring in.

In an address to the nation on New Years Eve, President Ernest Koroma said: "Our country is undergoing its greatest transformation since independence. Forecasts for our country becoming an oil-producing nation are great, we may soon become the largest per capita producer of iron ore in the world…"