Friday, July 28, 2006

Diamonds in Kono: I wish they were not Kono district is often referred to as the "rich diamond district" or "the breadbasket" of Sierra Leone. Ironically this diamondiferous district is said to have the poorest people in the country. This is according to the Diamond Industry Annual Review 2006. This Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) paper found out that poverty in diamond mining areas is particularly striking. Rural Kono for example, has a poverty level of 79.6% compared to rural Pujehun’s 59.6%, while urban Kono has a rate of 56.3% poverty as compared to Freetown’s 17.1 %. The opinion of most people who hear about Kono’s diamonds and are yet to visit the district is that Kono is the finest city and the most suitable place for human existence not on in Sierra Leone, but in the whole of the sub-region. There have been too many questions or criticisms over the years about Kono district wallowing state of poverty. There are many reasons why Kono, where the nation’s Star Diamond was found and has produced and still produces the large quantity of quality diamonds is still not even considered as developed. Even in the best of times, there had been no infrastructural development, no higher institution of learning, no public library, no good roads, and no better standard of living, that would commensurate its name as the "bread basket of Sierra Leone". All those so-called major settlements in the district; Koidu, the headquarter town of Kono district, Yengema and Tombodu, the Jaiamas (Sewafe & Nimikoro) have always been in states of disrepair, not to talk of now after the war has had a heavy toll on the district. (read more)