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Sierra Leone
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Capital City: Freetown

Internet Links

Sierra Leone on the Web

Embassy of Sierra Leone


Sierra Leone

Background:  Since 1991, civil war between the government and the
Revolutionary United Front (RUF) has resulted in tens of thousands of
deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (well over
one-third of the population) many of whom are now refugees in neighboring
countries. After several setbacks, the end to the eleven-year conflict
in Sierra Leone may finally be near at hand. With the support of the UN
peacekeeping force and contributions from the World Bank and international
community, demobilization and disarmament of the RUF and Civil Defense
Forces (CDF) combatants has been completed.  Reestablishment of government
authority throughout the country is slowly proceeding and national
elections took place in May 2002.

Geography Sierra Leone

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

Geographic coordinates:  8 30 N, 11 30 W

Map references:  Africa

Area:  total: 71,740 sq km water: 120 sq km land: 71,620 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:   24 NM exclusive economic zone: 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,

Land use:  arable land: 7% permanent crops: 1% other: 92% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  290 sq km (1998 est.)

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 depleting natural resources; overfishing

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity,
Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea,
Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection,
Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: 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

People Sierra Leone

Population:  5,614,743 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 44.7% (male 1,230,530; female 1,280,084)
15-64 years: 52.1% (male 1,397,070; female 1,528,986) 65 years and over:
3.2% (male 87,256; female 90,817) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  3.21% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  44.58 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  18.83 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  6.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population note: by the end
of 1999 refugees from Sierra Leone are assumed to be returning (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 0.96
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.96 male(s)/female total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  144.38 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   49.01 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  5.94 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  2.99% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  68,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  8,200 (1999 est.)

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

Ethnic groups:  20 native African tribes 90% (Temne 30%, Mende 30%,
other 30%), Creole (Krio) 10% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who
were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century), refugees
from Liberia's recent civil war, small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese,
Pakistanis, and Indians

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

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%)

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write English,
Mende, Temne, or Arabic total population: 31.4% male: 45.4% female: 18.2%
(1995 est.)

Government Sierra Leone

Country name:   Republic of Sierra Leone conventional short form:
Government type:  constitutional democracy

Capital:  Freetown

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

Independence:  27 April 1961 (from UK)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 27 April (1961)

Constitution:  1 October 1991; subsequently amended several times

Legal system:  based on English law and customary laws indigenous to
local tribes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Ahmad Tejan KABBAH (since
29 March 1996, reinstated 10 March 1998); note - the president is both
the chief of state and head of government head of government: President
Ahmad Tejan KABBAH (since 29 March 1996, reinstated 10 March 1998); note -
the president is both the chief of state and head of government cabinet:
Ministers of State appointed by the president with the approval of the
House of Representatives; the cabinet is responsible to the president
elections:  14 May 2002 (next to be held NA May 2007); note - president's
tenure of office is limited to two five-year terms election results:
Ahmad Tejan KABBAH reelected president; percent of vote - Ahmad Tejan
KABBAH (SLPP) 70.6%, Ernest KOROMA 22.4%

Legislative branch:  unicameral Parliament (124 seats - 112 elected by
popular vote, 12 filled by paramount chiefs elected in separate elections;
members serve five-year terms) elections: last held 14 May 2002 (next
to be held NA May 2007) election results: percent of vote by party -
SLPP 70.06%, APC 22.35%, PLP 3%, others 4.59%; seats by party - SLPP 83,
APC 27, PLP 2

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court; Appeals Court; High Court

Political parties and leaders:  All People's Congress or APC [Alhaji
Sat KOROMA, interim chairman]; Citizens United for Peace and Progress
or CUPP [Alfred Musa CONTEH, interim chairman]; Coalition for Progress
Party or CPP [Jeridine WILLIAM-SARHO, interim leader]; Democratic Center
Party or DCP [Adu Aiah KOROMA]; Democratic Labor Party or DLP [George
E. L. PALMER]; Democratic Party or DP [Henry BALO, acting chairman];
National Alliance Democratic Party or NADP [Mohamed Yahya SILLAH,
chairman]; National Democratic Alliance or NDA [Amadu M. B. JALLOH];
National People's Party or NPP [Andrew TURAY]; National Republican Party
or NRP [Stephen Sahr MAMBU]; National Unity Movement or NUM [Sam LEIGH,
interim chairman]; National Unity Party or NUP [John BENJAMINE, interim
leader]; Peace and Liberation Party or PLP [Darlington MORRISON, interim
chairman]; People's Democratic Alliance or PDA [Cpl. (Ret.) Abdul Rahman
KAMARA, interim chairman]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Osman
KAMARA]; People's National Convention or PNC [Edward John KARGBO];
People's Progressive Party or PPP [Abass Chernok BUNDU, chairman];
Revolutionary United Front Party or RUFP [Foday Saybana SANKOH, chairman];
Social Democratic Party or SDP [Andrew Victor LUNGAY]; Sierra Leone
People's Party or SLPP [Ahmad Tejan KABBAH, chairman]; United National
People's Party or UNPP [John KAREFA-SMART in exile, Raymond KAMARA, acting
leader]; Young People's Party or YPP [Cornelius DEVEAUS, interim chairman]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  Trade Unions and Student Unions

International organization participation:  ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS,
ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW (signatory),

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
John Ernest LEIGH FAX: [1] (202) 483-1793 telephone: [1] (202) 939-9261
through 9263 chancery: 1701 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Peter
Russell CHAVEAS embassy: Corner of Walpole and Siaka Stevens Streets,
Freetown mailing address: use embassy street address telephone: [232]
(22) 226481 through 226485 FAX: [232] (22) 225471

Flag description:  three equal horizontal bands of light green (top),
white, and light blue

Economy Sierra Leone

Economy - overview:  Sierra Leone is an extremely poor African nation with
tremendous inequality in income distribution. It does have substantial
mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources. However, the economic
and social infrastructure is not well developed, and serious social
disorders continue to hamper economic development, following a 10-year
civil war. About two-thirds of the working-age population engages in
subsistence agriculture. Manufacturing consists mainly of the processing
of raw materials and of light manufacturing for the domestic market. There
are plans to reopen bauxite and rutile mines shut down during the
conflict. The major source of hard currency consists of the mining
of diamonds. The fate of the economy depends upon the maintenance of
domestic peace and the continued receipt of substantial aid from abroad.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $2.7 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  3% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $500 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 43% industry: 27% services:
30% (2000)

Population below poverty line:  68% (1989 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 43.6% (1989)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  62.9 (1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  15% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  1.369 million (1981 est.)  note: only about 65,000 wage
earners (1985)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $96 million expenditures: $351 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries:  mining (diamonds); small-scale manufacturing (beverages,
textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  245 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  227.85 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil,
peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish

Exports:  $65 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Exports - commodities:  diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish

Exports - partners:  NZ 33.7%, Belgium 32.6%, US 7.4%, France 5.1% (2000)

Imports:  $145 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Imports - commodities:  foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and
lubricants, chemicals

Imports - partners:  Czech Republic 26.7%, UK 26.6%, US 5.1%, Netherlands
4.6% (2000)

Debt - external:  $1.3 billion (2000)

Economic aid - recipient:  $103 million (2001 est.)

Currency:  leone (SLL)

Currency code:  SLL

Exchange rates:  leones per US dollar - 2,212.47 (January 2002), 1,985.89
(2001), 2,092.13 (2000), 1,804.20 (1999), 1,563.62 (1998), 981.48 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Sierra Leone

Telephones - main lines in use:  25,000 (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  30,000 (2001)

Telephone system:   marginal telephone and telegraph service domestic:
military activities, is now operating from Freetown to Bo and Kenema
(April 2001) international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat
(Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 1, FM 9, shortwave 1 (1999)

Radios:  1.12 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  2 (1999)

Televisions:  53,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .sl

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  20,000 (2001)

Transportation Sierra Leone

Railways:  total: 84 km narrow gauge: 84 km 1.067-m gauge note: Sierra
Leone has no common carrier railroads; the existing railroad is private
and used on a limited basis while the mine at Marampa is closed (2001)

Highways:  total: 11,700 km paved: 936 km unpaved: 10,764 km (2002)

Waterways:  800 km (of which 600 km navigable year round)

Ports and harbors:  Bonthe, Freetown, Pepel

Airports:  10 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 1 over 3,047 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 9 under 914 m: 2 (2001) 914 to
1,523 m: 7

Heliports:  2 (2001)

Military Sierra Leone

Military branches:  Army (RSLAF)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 1,203,682 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 583,946
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $10.3 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.5% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Sierra Leone

Disputes - international:  ongoing conflict in Sierra Leone has engendered
refugee movements into neighboring Guinea and Liberia

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002




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