Sierra Leone came to the Fair with all
of the pride, hope and confidence of a new nation, typical of
a number of newly independent African states who were participating
in their first international exposition by exhibiting at the
New York World's Fair. Sadly, the story of Sierra Leone since
1964 has been a tragic one.
Political instability over the following
decades, in which the country wavered between civilian and military
rule, eventually led to the Sierra Leone Civil War that began
in 1991 and was resolved with the assistance of United Nations
Peacekeeping Forces in 2002. Since then, almost 72,500 former
combatants have disarmed and the country has reestablished a
functioning democracy. The Special Court for Sierra Leone was
set up in 2002 to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity
committed since 1996.
As of 2008, Sierra Leone is the lowest
ranked country on the Human Development Index and seventh lowest
on the Human Poverty Index, suffering from endemic corruption,
suppression of the press and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.