Working Paper
Diamonds, Foreign Aid, and the Uncertain Prospects for Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Sierra Leone

This article examines the external and internal dimensions of post-conflict reconstruction in Sierra Leone. The United Nations, bilateral donors such as the United Kingdom, and transnational non-governmental organizations and aid agencies have been instrumental in providing much-needed external assistance to Sierra Leone during the latter stages of its civil war and in the immediate post-war period. Although foreign aid is a welcome source of external support for reconstruction efforts, it is finite like any other resource. Reconstruction must also address intangible issues such as corruption as well as the healing of society through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Diamond exports hold potential as an internal source to spur economic growth and reconstruction. However, as the article illustrates, many obstacles remain, ranging from governance weaknesses in terms of capacity and domestic regulatory schemes on diamonds to the existence of illicit mining and smuggling of diamonds to regional instability.