ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CRISES IN SIERRA LEONE: The Role of Small-scale Entrepreneurs in Petty Trading as a Strategy for Survival 1960-1996

University dissertation from Deparment of Sociology Lund University, P.O.BOX 114, Paradisg.5, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Sierra Leone is a small country with rich mineral resources such as diamonds, bauxite, gold and iron ore. Other resources include fishing, forestry and fertile agricultural land, which enable people to farm without any sophisticated methods of mechanization. Nevertheless, with all its wealth in resources, the country is relatively poor and is one of the least developed countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa. This has led to an economic and social crisis as well as other complex problems, from political instability and patronage to corruption and economic mismanagement. This study is an effort to understand and discuss these problems and their impact on the lives of people of Sierra Leone. The author discusses the economic and social problems in Sierra Leone, and the role the small-scale entrepreneurs in petty trading as a strategy for socio-economic survival in the country. The people of Sierra Leone have succeeded in surviving the growing economic chaos. The study is based on a number of interviews conducted in the country as well as related literature. Social networks, which expanded during this period, have become the hallmark for small-scale entrepreneurs and petty trading within the institutional framework of the country, both in the public and private sectors.

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