Sierra Leone recently attracted significant inflows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in export-oriented mining and agribusiness. These investments have usually involved large-scale land deals with local communities that have been facilitated and brokered by government officials, local politicians, and paramount chiefs. Affected people and communities were supposed to receive compensations for lost land and, in addition, they expected to find gainful employment opportunities with multinational companies. But they have often seen little of the FDI-driven development that they had expected and that had been promised to them. Based on available studies and my own field research, this paper will describe and discuss impacts, conflicts, and security concerns related to foreign investment in mining and agribusiness in Sierra Leone. Through these descriptions and discussions I hope to offer a disconcerting perspective into the uncertainties and ambiguities of FDI-driven development in Sierra Leone ‒ a “development” that has often brought no tangible betterment for affected people and communities but rather confirmed and even escalated experiences of marginalization and disappointment.
Authors and Publishers
Center for Conflict Studies