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Africa :: Sierra Leone
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Sierra Leone
  • Introduction :: SIERRA LEONE

  • The British set up a trading post in the vicinity of present-day Freetown in the 17th century. Originally the trade involved timber and ivory, but later it expanded into slaves. Following the American Revolution, a colony was established in 1787 and Sierra Leone became a destination for resettling black loyalists who had originally been resettled in Nova Scotia. After the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, British crews delivered thousands of Africans liberated from illegal slave ships to Sierra Leone, particularly Freetown. The colony gradually expanded inland during the course of the 19th century; independence was attained in 1961. 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 deployed over 850 peacekeepers to 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 stated priorities include furthering development - including recovering from the Ebola epidemic - creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.
  • Geography :: SIERRA LEONE

  • Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia
    8 30 N, 11 30 W
    Africa
    total: 71,740 sq km
    land: 71,620 sq km
    water: 120 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 119
    slightly smaller than South Carolina
    total: 1,093 km
    border countries (2): Guinea 794 km, Liberia 299 km
    402 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm
    tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)
    coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m
    diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
    arable land: 24%
    permanent crops: 2.29%
    other: 73.72% (2012 est.)
    293.6 sq km (2003)
    160 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.21 cu km/yr (52%/26%/22%)
    per capita: 38.74 cu m/yr (2005)
    dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms
    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
    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
    rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa
  • People and Society :: SIERRA LEONE

  • noun: Sierra Leonean(s)
    adjective: Sierra Leonean
    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)
    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%)
    Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%
    5,743,725 (July 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    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:
    total dependency ratio: 78.3%
    youth dependency ratio: 73.5%
    elderly dependency ratio: 4.8%
    potential support ratio: 21% (2014 est.)
    total: 19 years
    male: 18.5 years
    female: 19.6 years (2014 est.)
    2.33% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    37.4 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    11.03 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    -3.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population
    note: refugees currently in surrounding countries are slowly returning (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    urban population: 39.6% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 2.75% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    FREETOWN (capital) 986,000 (2014)
    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.)
    19.2
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)
    1,100 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    total: 73.29 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 81.84 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 64.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    total population: 57.39 years
    male: 54.85 years
    female: 60 years (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    4.83 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    16.6% (2013)
    15.1% of GDP (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    0.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)
    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.)
    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.)
    1.55% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    57,100 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    3,100 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    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)
    6.8% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    18.1% (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    2.9% of GDP (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic
    total population: 44.5%
    male: 55.5%
    female: 33.7% (2012 est.)
    total number: 573,287
    percentage: 48% (2005 est.)
  • Government :: SIERRA LEONE

  • conventional long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
    conventional short form: Sierra Leone
    local long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
    local short form: Sierra Leone
    constitutional democracy
    name: Freetown
    geographic coordinates: 8 29 N, 13 14 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    3 provinces and 1 area*; Eastern, Northern, Southern, Western*
    27 April 1961 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 27 April (1961)
    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)
    mixed legal system of English common law and customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    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 Parliament; the cabinet is responsible to the president
    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 reelected president; percent of vote - Ernest Bai KOROMA 58.7%, Julius Maada BIO 37.4%, other 3.9%
    description: unicameral Parliament (124 seats; 112 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 12 seats filled in separate elections by non-partisan members of Parliament called "paramount chiefs;" members serve 5-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
    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
    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 other parties
    other: student unions; trade unions
    ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, 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, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador John HOOVER (since 4 November 4 December 2014))
    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
    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
    lion; national colors: green, white, blue
    name: "High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free"
    lyrics/music: Clifford Nelson FYLE/John Joseph AKA
    note: adopted 1961
  • Economy :: SIERRA LEONE

  • Sierra Leone is extremely poor and 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 destroyed most institutions before ending in the early 2000s. In recent years economic growth has been driven by mining - particularly iron ore. The country’s principal exports are iron ore, diamonds, and rutile, and the economy is vulnerable to fluctuations in international prices. In 2014, rapid spread of Ebolavirus caused a contraction of economic activity in several areas, including transportation, health, and industrial production. Iron ore production dropped, due to low global prices and high costs, driven by the epidemic. A long-term shutdown of the industry would badly hurt the economy because it supports thousands of jobs and creates about 20% of GDP. Until 2014, the government had relied on external assistance to support its budget, but it was gradually becoming more independent. The epidemic has disrupted economic activity, deterred private investment, and forced the government to increase expenditures on health care, straining the budget and restricting other public investment projects. A rise in international donor support will partially offset these fiscal constraints.
    $12.89 billion (2014 est.)
    $11.94 billion (2013 est.)
    $9.938 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 154
    $5.411 billion (2014 est.)
    8% (2014 est.)
    20.1% (2013 est.)
    15.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    $2,100 (2014 est.)
    $2,000 (2013 est.)
    $1,700 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 200
    1.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
    10.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
    -3.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    household consumption: 88.9%
    government consumption: 7.4%
    investment in fixed capital: 41.9%
    investment in inventories: 0.8%
    exports of goods and services: 8.8%
    imports of goods and services: -47.8%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 42.5%
    industry: 26.8%
    services: 30.7% (2014 est.)
    rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
    diamond mining; iron ore, rutile and bauxite mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining, small commercial ship repair
    88.5% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    2.471 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    agriculture: NA%
    industry: NA%
    services: NA%
    NA%
    70.2% (2004)
    lowest 10%: 2.6%
    highest 10%: 33.6% (2003)
    62.9 (1989)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    revenues: $730.3 million
    expenditures: $908.8 million (2014 est.)
    13.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    -3.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    30.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
    30.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    calendar year
    8.3% (2014 est.)
    10.3% (2013 est.)
    NA%
    19.8% (31 December 2014 est.)
    20.56% (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    $448.3 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $370.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    $960.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $857.3 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    $652.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $547.1 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    $NA
    -$892.3 million (2014 est.)
    -$925.5 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    $2.241 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.917 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
    China 78.5%, Belgium 8.8% (2013)
    $2.069 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.97 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals
    China 11.4%, India 9.8%, South Africa 8.5%, UK 8.2%, US 6.2%, Belgium 6.1%, Netherlands 4.2% (2013)
    $1.46 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.26 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    $2.704 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $2.319 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    $400,000 (31 December 2014 est.)
    $400,000 (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    leones (SLL) per US dollar -
    4,376.1 (2014 est.)
    4,332.5 (2013 est.)
    4,344 (2012 est.)
    4,336.1 (2011 est.)
    3,978.1 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: SIERRA LEONE

  • 145 million kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    134.9 million kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    81,000 kW (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    33.3% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    66.7% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    9,540 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    9,373 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    1.311 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: SIERRA LEONE

  • 18,000 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    2.21 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    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)
    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)
    AM 1, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2001)
    2 (1999)
    .sl
    282 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    14,900 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 195
  • Transportation :: SIERRA LEONE

  • 8 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    total: 1
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 7
    914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)
    2 (2013)
    total: 11,300 km
    paved: 904 km
    unpaved: 10,396 km (2002)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    800 km (600 km navigable year round) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    total: 215
    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)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    major seaport(s): Freetown, Pepel, Sherbro Islands
  • Military :: SIERRA LEONE

  • Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF): Army (includes Maritime Wing and Air Wing) (2013)
    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent); women are eligible to serve; no conscription; candidates must be HIV negative (2012)
    males age 16-49: 1,183,093 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 731,898
    females age 16-49: 838,032 (2010 est.)
    male: 54,212
    female: 57,154 (2010 est.)
    0.72% of GDP (2012)
    0.8% of GDP (2011)
    0.72% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 118
  • Transnational Issues :: SIERRA LEONE

  • Sierra Leone opposes Guinean troops' continued occupation of Yenga, a small village on the Makona River that serves as a border with Guinea; Guinea's forces came to Yenga in the mid-1990s to help the Sierra Leonean military to suppress rebels and to secure their common border but have remained there even after both countries signed a 2005 agreement acknowledging that Yenga belonged to Sierra Leone; in 2012, the two sides signed a declaration to demilitarize the area
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