Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Tanzania investigates ferry disaster which killed at least 227

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential parody: the unofficial Elysée shop

Read more

THE DEBATE

Iran Under Pressure: Tehran Vows Retaliation After Ahvaz Attack

Read more

FOCUS

Germany: Where providing information on abortion remains a crime

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: ‘Big Brothers’ Winston McAnuff & Fixi

Read more

IN THE PRESS

'Back from golfing dead': Tiger Woods overcomes pain and scandal to win first tour in 5 years

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Julien Brave NoiseCat: ‘Pipelines a real threat to First Nations’ way of life’

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Austrian government spokesman: ‘Still possible to agree on Brexit deal before end of October’

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Playing fair and paying fair: Copyright law gets an internet-age overhaul

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2017-09-29

Video: Beauty queens to the rescue in Sierra Leone

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.

By Maïla MENDY , Marie DUBOIS

Archives

2018-09-21 Reporters

Colombia: Cursed by coca in Catatumbo

While the United Nations on Wednesday announced that Colombia remains the world’s largest cocaine producer, our reporters visited the northeastern region of Catatumbo - one of...

Read more

2018-09-14 Reporters

Nigeria: the fight against Boko Haram

As Nigeria’s army continues its offensive against Boko Haram extremists, our reporters Catherine Norris-Trent and Jonathan Walsh travelled to the northeast of the country, still...

Read more

2018-09-07 Reporters

Video: The North Korean gamble

As North Korea celebrates its 70th anniversary, FRANCE 24 brings you a unique report from inside the world’s most secretive nation. In an extremely rare move, the authorities in...

Read more

2018-08-31 Reporters

Forced disappearances in Mexico's drug war

Since 2006, when the Mexican military began to intervene in the country's war on drug trafficking, tens of thousands of people have gone missing. Have they been killed, sold to...

Read more

2018-08-03 Reporters

Video: Super Mama Djombo, Guinea-Bissau’s soundtrack

Today, if the small West African state of Guinea Bissau is famous—or, perhaps more correctly, infamous—for anything, it’s for frequent coups d’état. But that hasn’t always been...

Read more