Until this month, Sierra Leone had not seen a real traffic light in more than 14 years. They were all stolen and sold for scrap during a civil war that lasted, off and on, from 1991 to 2002. During that period rebel armies rampaged through the country, terrorising civilians and sometimes chopping off their hands. Hungry for booty, they grabbed whatever they could carry off, from livestock to diamonds, aid shipments, televisions, cars—and traffic lights.
So Sierra Leone’s first post-war traffic light, which now stands proudly at a busy crossroads in downtown Freetown, is more than just a tool to ease congestion. The president’s spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay, says it represents “a transformation. ..."