"It is now two years since Sierra Leone’s war formally ended. Fuelled largely by diamonds and corruption – the two were very closely linked – the decade-long conflict drew much-needed international attention to the processes of diamond mining and trading. Since their commercial exploitation began in the 1930s, diamonds have influenced Sierra Leone’s fortunes in ways that no other economic activity has. Accounting for more than two-thirds of the nation’s export earnings and a quarter of GDP for the early years of the post-colonial period, diamonds have been profoundly influential in shaping Sierra Leone’s history and its social and political life, for good and ill.This first Annual Review of Sierra Leone’s diamond industry attempts to describe the country’s most important asset within the context of its history and its potential. It describes the diamond industry as it is today – warts and all – and it outlines what needs to be done to convert diamonds from a liability to a tool for development."