#Reporters: Beauty queens to the rescue in Sierra Leone

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In January 2016, Sierra Leone, a small West African country torn apart by war and ranked among the poorest in the world, created a sensation at the Miss Universe event. For the first time, a Miss Sierra Leone, Hawa Kamara, took part in the prestigious beauty contest. Now, the country wants to build on the new-found raised profile that that created to restore the country’s image and make it a flagship African tourist destination once more.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Sierra Leone, with its coconut trees and white sandy beaches, was a choice destination for French people who wanted to spend their holidays in West Africa. Celebrities like French rocker Johnny Hallyday made it their African base camp. But that was before the war broke out.
During the 11 years from 1991 to 2002, Sierra Leone was ravaged by civil war. 120,000 people were killed. The war also plunged the already fragile country into poverty. Today, in the annual rankings of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sierra Leone comes in at only 180th out of 186 countries. The conflict brought the financial windfall of tourism to a sudden halt.
Today, although the scenery is postcard-perfect again, the country still scares off visitors. Since the end of the war, and with a recent Ebola epidemic, tourists have not returned.
So in order to improve Sierra Leone’s image and bring back visitors, the authorities plan to rely on what they consider to be one of the country’s key assets: the beauty of its women. The idea emerged during the Miss Universe contest of 2016, in the Philippines. For the first time, Sierra Leone sent a representative, Hawa Kamara. The 25-year-old did not win a prize, but that did not matter: of all the African contestants, she attracted the most interest from the international media. Hawa Kamara provides new visibility to Sierra Leone and a glamorous image of the country. Above all, she embodies the hopes of a whole nation for a brighter future.

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28 Responses

  1. lol …Loraine , from sandwich girl LONDON , to Head Housekeeping Hotel Tokeh Beach …to now Hotel Manager ?????…..I hoped Sierra leone would get out the trouble ….not going deeper in the barn CRAP …….

  2. I found out from an ancestor DNA test that I’m part Sierra Leonean so I want to know as much information as possible about the country. I’m so happy I found this video. Great job on the content. Peace love and Aloha from Hawaii!

  3. Why doesn’t this girl just go to school instead of doing this pageant thing which a lot of these women will be slept with.

  4. Love Natasha. I’m from US and it’s hard to respect beauty pageants most of the time but I find it’s different in Sierra Leone it’s nice to see. Very encouraging if you share the same views as Natasha

  5. they should teach teens how to work and be productive, not sell those girls as sex toys.

  6. So many beautiful women in Sierra Leone and then we get to the feminist… I can see why she is a feminist.

  7. With a country larger in size than many european countries, a young population, rich in natural resources, and yet so much poverty, you know that politics are the reason, despite the war and subjugated past.

  8. Freetown is not Sierra Leone to me Go to Bo City the second Capital of Sierra Leone And See how beautiful it’s

  9. This woman has incredible beauty. Anyone who can’t see that is either blind and just a hater. Melanated beauty!

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