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The Frontier Markets’ Resurgence

Freetown, Sierra Leone
Freetown, Sierra LeonePhotograph by Caroline Thomas/Demotix/Corbis

As far as investing goes, the economic battlefronts of Europe, China, and the U.S. seem like the only concern.

Meanwhile, as if it could not care less about all that, Sierra Leone, the West African nation still shellshocked from years of truly horrific bloodshed, is building a stock market. Sitting on the corner of the edge of what they call the investing frontier—tiny, illiquid markets aspiring to graduate to emerging-market status and someday developed markets—the fledgling bourse in the capital of Freetown trades a single ticker for a total of four hours across two days every week. It wants to add another pair of listings and perhaps increase its hours as the economy grows a continent-leading 35 percent.