As Sierra Leone prepares for its third postwar presidential and parliamentary elections, what is at stake for the country?
On Saturday, Sierra Leone will hold its third presidential, parliamentary and local elections since civil war ended a decade ago. The outcome is expected to hinge on a close-fought contest between the ruling All People's Congress (APC), for whom President Ernest Bai Koroma is seeking a second term, and the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), led by Julius Maada Bio.
What's at stake?
A decade of postwar peacebuilding and development. Sierra Leone has made huge strides over the past decade, but major challenges remain. Once styled "the Athens of west Africa", it is now one of the world's poorest states, ranking 180th of the 187 countries in the UN's human development index. According to the UN, more than 70% of the population still lives on less than $1.25 a day, while rural poverty was recently estimated at 78% (pdf). A cholera outbreak this year claimed at least 259 lives (pdf), highlighting the shortcomings of a health system that has the world's 12th-highest infant mortality rate and in which [view whole blog post ]