Sierra Leone

$name - General

Background:
 
Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about a third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country's stability. The armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 and 2012 national elections, and over the past year have deployed over 850 peacekeepers in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). As of January 2014, Sierra Leone also fielded 122 staff for five UN peacekeeping missions. In March 2014, the closure of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) marked the end of more than 15 years of peacekeeping and political operations in Sierra Leone. The government's priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.


Government

Country name:
 
conventional long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
conventional short form: Sierra Leone
local long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
local short form: Sierra Leone
 

Government type:

constitutional democracy
 

Capital:

name: Freetown
geographic coordinates: 8 29 N, 13 14 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
 

Administrative divisions:

3 provinces and 1 area*; Eastern, Northern, Southern, Western*
 

Independence:

27 April 1961 (from the UK)
 

National holiday:

Independence Day, 27 April (1961)
 

Constitution:

several previous; latest in effect 1 October 1991; amended several times, last in 2010; note - in mid-2013 a committee was formed to review the constitution (2013)
 

Legal system:

mixed legal system of English common law and customary law
 

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 

Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal
 

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007)
cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president with the approval of the House of Representatives; the cabinet is responsible to the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 November 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
election results: Ernest Bai KOROMA re-elected president; percent of vote - Ernest Bai KOROMA 58.7%, Julius Maada BIO 37.4%, other 3.9%
 

Legislative branch:

unicameral Parliament (124 seats; 112 members elected by popular vote, 12 filled by paramount chiefs elected in separate elections; members to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 17 November 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 69, SLPP 43
 

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Superior Court of Judicature (consists of the Supreme Court - at the apex - with the chief justice and 4 other judges, the Court of Appeal with the chief justice and 7 other judges, and the High Court of Justice with the chief justice and 9 other judges; note – the Judicature has jurisdiction in all civil, criminal, and constitutional matters
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice and other judges of the Judicature appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (a 7-member independent body of judges, presidential appointees, and the Commission chairman) and subject to the approval of Parliament; all Judicature judges appointed until retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; District Appeals Court; local courts
 

Political parties and leaders:

All People's Congress or APC [Ernest Bai KOROMA]
Peace and Liberation Party or PLP [Kandeh Baba CONTEH]
People's Movement for Democratic Change or PMDC [Charles MARGAI]
Sierra Leone People's Party or SLPP [Sumanu KAPEN]
United Democratic Movement or UDM [Mohamed BANGURA]
numerous others
 

Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: student unions; trade unions
 

International organization participation:

ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMIT, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Bockari Kortu STEVENS (since 28 March 2008)
chancery: 1701 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9261 through 9263
FAX: [1] (202) 483-1793
 

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Kathleen FITZGIBBON (since 2 October 2013)
embassy: Southridge-Hill Station, Freetown
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [232] (76) 515 000 or (76) 515 000
FAX: [232] (76) 515 355
 

Flag description:

three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and blue; green symbolizes agriculture, mountains, and natural resources, white represents unity and justice, and blue the sea and the natural harbor in Freetown
 

National symbol(s):

lion
 

National anthem:

name: 'High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free'


lyrics/music: Clifford Nelson FYLE/John Joseph AKA
note: adopted 1961

Geography

Location:
 
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia
 

coordinates:

8 30 N, 11 30 W
 

Map references:

Africa
 

Area:

total: 71,740 sq km
country comparison to the world: 119
land: 71,620 sq km
water: 120 sq km
 

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than South Carolina
 

Land boundaries:

total: 958 km
border countries: Guinea 652 km, Liberia 306 km
 

Coastline:

402 km
 

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
 

Climate:

tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)
 

Terrain:

coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
 

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m
 

Natural resources:

diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
 

Land use:

arable land: 15.33%
permanent crops: 1.88%
other: 82.79% (2011)
 

Irrigated land:

293.6 sq km (2003)
 

Total renewable water resources:

160 cu km (2011)
 

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.21 cu km/yr (52%/26%/22%)
per capita: 38.74 cu m/yr (2005)
 

Natural hazards:

dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms
 

Environment - current issues:

rapid population growth pressuring the environment; overharvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion; civil war depleted natural resources; overfishing
 

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
 

Geography - note:

rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa

Demographics and Population Development

Nationality:
 
noun: Sierra Leonean(s)
adjective: Sierra Leonean
 

Ethnic groups:

Temne 35%, Mende 31%, Limba 8%, Kono 5%, Kriole 2% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century; also known as Krio), Mandingo 2%, Loko 2%, other 15% (includes refugees from Liberia's recent civil war, and small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians) (2008 census)
 

Languages:

English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)
 

Religions:

Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%
 

Population:

5,743,725 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 

Age structure:

0-14 years: 41.9% (male 1,198,553/female 1,208,775)
15-24 years: 18.8% (male 524,819/female 557,142)
25-54 years: 31.6% (male 872,284/female 943,626)
55-64 years: 3.9% (male 101,856/female 123,164)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 91,198/female 122,308) (2014 est.)
population pyramid:  
 

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 78.3 %
youth dependency ratio: 73.5 %
elderly dependency ratio: 4.8 %
potential support ratio: 21 (2014 est.)
 

Median age:

total: 19 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 19.6 years (2014 est.)
 

Population growth rate:

2.33% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
 

Birth rate:

37.4 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
 

Death rate:

11.03 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
 

Net migration rate:

-3.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 178
note: refugees currently in surrounding countries are slowly returning (2014 est.)
 

Urbanization:

urban population: 39.2% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 3.04% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 

Major urban areas - population:

FREETOWN (capital) 941,000 (2011)
 

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
 

Mother's mean age at first birth:

19
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008 est.)
 

Maternal mortality rate:

890 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 5
 

Infant mortality rate:

total: 73.29 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 11
male: 81.84 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 64.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
 

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 57.39 years
country comparison to the world: 201
male: 54.85 years
female: 60 years (2014 est.)
 

Total fertility rate:

4.83 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
 

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

11% (2010)
 

Health expenditures:

18.8% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 2
 

Physicians density:

0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
 

Hospital bed density:

0.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)
 

Drinking water source:

improved: 
urban: 87.1% of population
rural: 42.4% of population
total: 60.1% of population
unimproved: 
urban: 12.9% of population
rural: 57.6% of population
total: 39.9% of population (2012 est.)
 

Sanitation facility access:

improved: 
urban: 22.5% of population
rural: 6.8% of population
total: 13% of population
unimproved: 
urban: 77.5% of population
rural: 93.2% of population
total: 87% of population (2012 est.)
 

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

1.5% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
 

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

57,700 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
 

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

3,300 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
 

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies
aerosolized dust or soil contact disease: Lassa fever (2013)
 

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

6.8% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 144
 

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

18.6% (2010)
country comparison to the world: 35
 

Education expenditures:

2.9% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world: 141
 

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic
total population: 43.3%
male: 54.7%
female: 32.6% (2011 est.)
 

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 7 years
male: 8 years
female: 6 years (2001)
 

Child labor - children ages 5-14:

total number: 573,287
percentage: 48 % (2005 est.)

Economy

Economy - overview:
 
Sierra Leone is extremely poor. Nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture. The country possesses substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources, but it is still recovering from a civil war that ended in the early 2000s that destroyed most institutions. In recent years economic growth has been driven by mining - particularly of iron ore and oil exploration. The country exports rutile, diamonds, and bauxite, and is vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity prices. The country relies on external assistance to meet its budgetary needs; overseas grants make up one-fourth of total revenue. Corruption is a hindrance to foreign investment, although from 2011 to 2012 the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission increased convictions of high-level officials from nine to 22 and recovered millions of dollars. In December 2013, the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) did not hold a vote on the reselection of Sierra Leone because the country did not pass MCC’s Scorecard Corruption indicator; however, MCC continues compact development through a more limited engagement.
 

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$9.156 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
$8.079 billion (2012 est.)
$7.016 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
 

GDP (official exchange rate):

$4.607 billion (2013 est.)
 

GDP - real growth rate:

13.3% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
15.2% (2012 est.)
6% (2011 est.)
 

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$1,400 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
$1,300 (2012 est.)
$1,200 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
 

Gross national saving:

27.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
17.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
-1% of GDP (2011 est.)
 

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 77.8%
government consumption: 6.8%
investment in fixed capital: 36.7%
investment in inventories: 0.8%
exports of goods and services: 9.7%
imports of goods and services: -31.8%
(2013 est.)
 

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 47.9%
industry: 18.6%
services: 33.5% (2013 est.)
 

Agriculture - products:

rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
 

Industries:

diamond mining; iron ore, rutile and bauxite mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining, small commercial ship repair
 

Industrial production growth rate:

42% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 

Labor force:

2.207 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
 

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
 

Unemployment rate:

NA%
 

Population below poverty line:

70.2% (2004)
 

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 33.6% (2003)
 

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

62.9 (1989)
country comparison to the world: 4
 

Budget:

revenues: $614.8 million
expenditures: $754.4 million (2013 est.)
 

Taxes and other revenues:

13.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
 

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-3% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
 

Public debt:

31.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
36.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
 

Fiscal year:

calendar year
 

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

11.1% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
12.9% (2012 est.)
 

Central bank discount rate:

NA%
 

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

20.5% (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
21% (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Stock of narrow money:

$355.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
$324.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Stock of broad money:

$1.001 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
$772.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Stock of domestic credit:

$567.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
$429.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$NA
 

account balance:

-$463.3 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
-$862.5 million (2012 est.)
 

Exports:

$1.563 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
$953.4 million (2012 est.)
 

Exports - commodities:

diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
 

Exports - partners:

China 51.1%, Belgium 18.2%, Japan 7.7%, Turkey 4.8% (2012)
 

Imports:

$1.637 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
$1.597 billion (2012 est.)
 

Imports - commodities:

foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals
 

Imports - partners:

China 16.5%, India 10.2%, South Africa 7.6%, US 6.7%, UK 6.7%, Belgium 4.6% (2012)
 

Debt - external:

$1.331 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
$1.172 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$2.394 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
$1.719 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Exchange rates:

leones (SLL) per US dollar -
4,320.8 (2013 est.)
4,344 (2012 est.)
3,978.1 (2010 est.)

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use:
 
18,000 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 190
 

Telephones - mobile cellular:

2.21 million (2012)
country comparison to the world: 143
 

Telephone system:

general assessment: marginal telephone service with poor infrastructure
domestic: the national microwave radio relay trunk system connects Freetown to Bo and Kenema; while mobile-cellular service is growing rapidly from a small base, service area coverage remains limited
international: country code - 232; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
 

Broadcast media:

1 government-owned TV station; 1 private TV station began operating in 2005; a pay-TV service began operations in late 2007; 1 government-owned national radio station; about two dozen private radio stations primarily clustered in major cities; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2007)
 

Internet country code:

.sl
 

Internet hosts:

282 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 191
 

Internet users:

14,900 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 199

Transportation

Airports:
 
8 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 164
 

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
 

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)
 

Heliports:

2 (2013)
 

Roadways:

total: 11,300 km
country comparison to the world: 131
paved: 904 km
unpaved: 10,396 km (2002)
 

Waterways:

800 km (600 km navigable year round) (2011)
country comparison to the world: 72
 

Merchant marine:

total: 215
country comparison to the world: 34
by type: bulk carrier 22, cargo 120, carrier 2, chemical tanker 19, container 6, liquefied gas 3, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 28, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 98 (Bangladesh 1, China 19, Cyprus 2, Egypt 3, Estonia 2, Hong Kong 7, Japan 4, Lebanon 2, North Korea 2, Romania 2, Russia 7, Singapore 9, Syria 13, Taiwan 7, Turkey 9, UAE 1, UK 1, Ukraine 5, Yemen 2) (2010)
 

Ports and terminals:

major seaport(s): Freetown, Pepel, Sherbro Islands

Energy

Electricity - production:
 
145 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
 

Electricity - consumption:

134.9 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
 

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
 

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
 

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

102,000 kW (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
 

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

47.1% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
 

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
 

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

52.9% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
 

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 

Crude oil - production:

25.39 bbl/day (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
 

Crude oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
 

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
 

Crude oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
 

Refined petroleum products - production:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
 

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

8,768 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
 

Refined petroleum products - exports:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
 

Refined petroleum products - imports:

9,373 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
 

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
 

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
 

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
 

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
 

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
 

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

1.492 million Mt (2011 est.)

General

Annual Exports








Top 20 Sectors exported from Kwazulu-Natal in 2014

#DescriptionChapter CodeTotal (in Rands)
1Vehicles other than railway, tramway87 R 22,812,125.00
2Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, etc84 R 14,727,708.00
3Electrical, electronic equipment85 R 14,011,639.00
4Oil seed, oleagic fruits, grain, seed, fruit, etc, nes12 R 9,908,207.00
5Miscellaneous chemical products38 R 4,084,388.00
6Beverages, spirits and vinegar22 R 3,740,670.00
7Optical, photo, technical, medical, etc apparatus90 R 3,594,523.00
8Tools, implements, cutlery, etc of base metal82 R 3,126,026.00
9Articles of iron or steel73 R 3,057,638.00
10Ships, boats and other floating structures89 R 1,828,895.00
11Paper & paperboard, articles of pulp, paper and board48 R 1,171,358.00
12Fertilizers31 R 790,333.00
13Iron and steel72 R 670,287.00
14Railway, tramway locomotives, rolling stock, equipment86 R 458,896.00
15Plastics and articles thereof39 R 237,883.00
16Wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal44 R 208,686.00
17Articles of leather, animal gut, harness, travel goods42 R 188,198.00
18Inorganic chemicals, precious metal compound, isotopes28 R 111,560.00
19Impregnated, coated or laminated textile fabric59 R 64,785.00
20Printed books, newspapers, pictures etc49 R 51,417.00

Visa Requirements

Visa Required: Yes

Period/Purpose: 

Visa Fee: Yes 

Visa Issuing Authority: 

Compulsory Vaccination Requirements: 

Yellow Fever if coming from endemic country or travelled through an endemic country

Recommend Vaccination Requirements: 

Hepatitus A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Meningitis, Cholera & Polio

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Export Incentives

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