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President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone during the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP26. President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone speaks during the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 2, 2021 (Reuters pool photo by Hannah McKay via AP).

A Politicized Census Has Sierra Leone’s Opposition Crying Foul

Thursday, June 23, 2022

When Sierra Leone released the provisional figures of its population and housing census on May 31, the numbers suggested a population increase of 6.3 percent since the last count in 2015. That’s not an unexpected rise over a six-year period, given that the country’s estimated annual growth rate was 3.2 percent during the 10 years prior. Nevertheless, the way population growth was distributed across the country has sparked ongoing debate about the credibility of the census, particularly in anticipation of general elections next year.

The country’s southern and eastern districts saw significant population jumps, with the biggest increases in Kenema, with 26.7 percent; Bo, with 31.5 percent; and Bonthe, with 48.2 percent. Meanwhile, districts in the north and west saw important declines. Bombali’s population dropped by 36.1 percent, for instance, while Western Area Urban and Rural, which includes the capital city Freetown, declined by 45.8 percent and Koinadugu by 49.6 percent. ...

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