Sierra Leone reviews mining licenses

9augThe government of Sierra Leone is reviewing mining licences and contracts, aimed at ensuring investments into extractives are in line with development needs

This is part of a pledge to clean up the sector by President Julius Maada Bio, who has criticised an “extreme lack of transparency” under his predecessor Ernest Bai Koroma.

Despite having significant reserves of diamonds, iron ore, titanium and other resources, Sierra Leone is a typical example of an African country failing to benefit from its natural wealth. Mining accounts for 80 per cent of exports but generates just 15 per cent of total revenues.

It’s a familiar scenario in resource exporting African economies, with a mix of poor governance and corruption resulting in dodgy deals with mining companies. This is often seen as an inevitable consequence of the ‘resource curse’ - the paradox of natural wealth undermining, rather than contributing to national development.

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