Sierra Leone: Kono District Profile (19 December 2015)

Context:

Kono district is in the Eastern Province, and borders with Kenema district to the southwest, the Republic of Guinea to the east, Koinadugu district to the northeast and Kailahun district to the southeast. Its capital and the largest city is Koidu town. The other major towns in the district are Motema, Yengema, Tombodu, Jaiama Nimikoro and Sewafe. This district is divided into fourteen chiefdoms namely Fiama, Gbane, Gbane Kandor, Gbense, Gorama Kono, Kamara, Lei, Mafindor, Nimikoro, Nimiyama, Sandor, Soa, Tankoro, and Toli. The population is religiously mixed between Muslim and Christians and home to many ethnic groups. During the decade long civil war (1991-2002), heavy fighting caused many people to flee their homes and there was widespread looting. The rich reserves of diamonds in the area were one of the main reasons for the fighting.

Population distribution: As indicated in the projected population for 2014, some 53% of the residents are among the active workforce between the age group 15-64 years, while 26% fall between 5-14 years of age group and 17% are under the age of 5 years (see table aside). Nearly 67% of the district population resides in rural areas. The average family size is 5.6.

Livelihood and Economy: Kono district is the largest diamond producer in Sierra Leone, gold and alluvial diamond mining are important economic activities of the residents. Although agriculture has not been the main source of livelihood of the majority (less than 30% rely on farming), in some areas rice, cassava, corn, and beans are grown and small groups of residents grow coffee, cacao and palm oil. The diamond mining industry has attracted many people from other parts of the country to settle down in Kono, making the district a cosmopolitan one. Diamonds were first discovered in the area during the 1930s, local residents work as employees for the large foreign owned mining companies. 12% of the population8 are in poorest category and 30% fall into the medium poor category. Gini coefficient is 0.27 which is on the lower side (scale from 0-1).

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