Briefing Paper

Exposed to Civil War as Children, Sierra Leone’s Young Adults Suffer in the Labour Market

The violent civil conflict in Sierra Leone that lasted from 1991 to 2002 destroyed most of the country’s social, economic, and physical infrastructures. By the end of the war, almost half the country’s population was displaced (2.1 million people), 50,000 people had died, and more than 40,000 human rights violations had been committed. The violence began in the east, spreading to the north and south almost four years later. It only reached Freetown, the capital city, in the west in 1998. A peace agreement signed in January 2002 marked the end of the war and the beginning of the transition to peace. The government of Sierra Leone implemented a range of post-conflict policies. These policies included economic measures to encourage economic growth and employment opportunities, and active labour-market policies—particularly skills development training—to increase youth employability.