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Who decides for Sierra Leone? The ICSID, ICC, or the People of Lunsar?

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In case you missed it, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) tribunal has announced that the ICSID, a World Bank Group, has refused to restrain the west African country from pursuing criminal proceedings against several employees of the claimant’s local subsidiary.

According to Global Arbitration Review, a business law website, the subsidiary had "been accused of inciting a deadly riot before the case was dropped without charge."In October 2019, a subsidiary of a London-based commodity trader applied to a court in the United States of America to confirm an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) emergency arbitrator order that directedSierra Leone to lift measures prohibiting the export of high-grade iron ore – a dispute that has also given rise to the threat of an ICSID claim.

ICC is the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 100 countries. According to their website, their "mission is to make business work…

IMF African Department backs Freetown mayor, responds to Property Tax Reform

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The International Monetary Fund's African Department has called Freetown's City Council (FCC) Property Tax Reform "good reform" in a statement released this weekend. According to Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the rate for 80% of residents in Freetown, #SierraLeone, is still less than 500,000 Leones ($52) per year. Or 42,000 Leones ($4.50) per month, so the FCC can deliver services they couldn’t deliver before.

The African Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) oversees the IMF’s operations and engagement with 45 countries across Africa, spanning the three main pillars of IMF work—policy advice, lending operations, and technical assistance. Their responsibilities also include building strategic partnerships and dialogue with senior policymakers and institutions across the region.

"We fully support the reform that appears to be in line with the best regional practice," they said of the Freetown City Council's Property Tax Reform. "While the…

TAKE ACTION to #FreeSheikhUmarrKamarah in Sierra Leone

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Dr. Sheikh Umarr Kamarah is an American citizen of Sierra Leonean descent who needs your support. He has been unfairly accused of and detained for crimes in Sierra Leone that he did not commit. Dr. Kamarah’s family, friends, and broad community demand his immediate release. He is scheduled to return to the US with a repatriation flight on June 9 that he must be allowed to board. His arrest appears to be highly politically motivated though he is not a politician.

Dr. Kamarah cares deeply about his native country, his American home, and his family. He is a devoted husband, father, brother, and uncle. In the US, he is a linguistics professor at Virginia State University, but he currently works in community relations and development for SL Mining in Sierra Leone. When he found out he was wanted, he righteously turned himself in to police, but we are demanding all charges against Dr. Kamarah be dropped.

To support Dr. Kamarah, please call the following offices and assert that Dr. Kamarah mus…

'Sierra Leone should not be left to the whims of political combatants alone'

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“It’s very difficult to reflect this neglect through photography, In Sierra Leone, a prisoner is nobody, and a young prisoner is nothing.” ~ Fernando Moleres© Fernando Moleres

Since the resident coordinator of the United Nations in Sierra Leone released a statement condemning the violence in the post-war country,  President Julius Maada Bio has accused the main opposition party of orchestrating the violence while refusing to allow human rights sources to identify those who were killed by security forces on April 29, or addressing the arbitrary arrest of Sylvia Blyden and others. Amnesty International Sierra Leone has called for their release. 

Reaction to the president's speech has been swift.
“It is shocking, the claims the president is making,” said party spokesman Sidi Yayah Tunis.
Representatives of the Christian community comprising the Catholic Mission, the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone, the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Sierra Lon…

U.N. watchdog in Sierra Leone condemns violence and extrajudicial killings in Freetown

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The resident coordinator of the United Nations in Sierra Leone has released a statement condemning the recent violence in Freetown. Brutal killings have sent shockwaves around the post-war nation, which marked its 59th Independence anniversary on April 27 as COVID-19 infections spike.  Read the full text below:

Freetown, 1 May 2020. The United Nations in Sierra Leone expresses serious concern over the violent incidents, which occurred on 29 April 2020 in the Central Correctional Facility at Pademba Road in Freetown. The United Nations regrets the resultant loss of life, injury and damage to property, and further condemns all forms of violence. The United Nations extends its sincere condolences to the bereaved families and wishes the injured speedy recovery.
The United Nations in Sierra Leone recalls the commitment made by the Government of Sierra Leone, under international conventions and treaties, including the Nelson Mandela Rules, to protect and respect the human rights of all perso…

Ethnicity, Development, and Democracy on Independence Day

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A month before Sierra Leone marked 59 years of independence on April 27, the Smallholder Commercialization Program or SCP quietly closed its doors on March 31. According to the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program website, the program with a $50 million price tag was a success.

The project reached 377,412 poor Sierra Leoneans, of whom about 47 percent are women. All told, the SCP is expected to benefit a total of 500,000 people, one-half of them women.

The project improved drainage services on 1,150 hectares for a total of 5,256 water users and aims to reduce the supply-demand gap in rice as well increase incomes for 100,000 farm households.

The SCP also rehabilitated 6,300 hectares of tree crops: 2,800 hectares of cocoa, 3,000 hectares of new oil palm, and 500 hectares of cashew. The project is piloting climate change technologies, such as rainwater harvesting.

In addition, the project established financial services associations and community banks resulting in 34,025 cl…

Abou Whyte, one of Sierra Leone's greatest folk music artists, dies at 76

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Abou Whyte, popular folk artist and lead vocalist for Muyei Power, died in New Jersey, USA, this week from complications related to the coronavirus disease. He was 76 years old. According to AYV Newspaper, the veteran Sierra Leonean musician has been laid to rest.

Whyte was born in the Fourah Bay community in Freetown, said VertexMedia SL, who shared one the last images of the singer on stage. Click here to watch a biopic of the late singer.

Whyte belongs to the generation of big bands like Afro National, Sabanoh 75, and Super Combo. He is fondly remembered for songs like 'Good Morning Sierra Leone,' 'Jakitomboi,' 'Yamba Sowe,' and 'Wali Bena'

The musician's career reportedly started with the Merry-Go Jazz Band in 1964, after which he joined the Orchestra Muyei Power Dance Band, formed by music promoter Abu Sillah in 1971.
In February 2018, Soundway Records, founded by label owner Miles Cleret, posted a full album stream of "Muyei Power - Sierra …