Occasional Paper

War and Peace in Sierra Leone : Diamonds, Corruption and the Lebanese Connection

“This report presents an overview and analysis of the situation in Sierra Leone with respect to the diamond industry since United Nations intervention in 2000. It evaluates efforts made by the Sierra Leone government to ensure greater transparency and probity in diamond mining, purchasing, valuation and oversight, and examines the effect of the diamond certification scheme. The report also examines a much discussed but rarely studied phenomenon: the role of Sierra Leone’s large Lebanese community, which dominates the diamond industry and presents major obstacles to meaningful reform. The scourge of Sierra Leone’s diamonds over the past decade has been the war and the RUF rebels; the wider historical and present-day scourge is corruption. The paper concludes that in the final analysis, Sierra Leone’s recovery from decades of economic meltdown and political and social turmoil will depend, to a very large extent, on how it manages its vitally important extractive sector, especially the diamond industry. “