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Sierra Leone Sierra Leone

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Sierra Leone – Quick View
ECR score37.7 (Mar 2011)
ECR rank107 (Mar 2011)
GDP 2010USD 1.17 billion
GNI per capita PPPUSD 809
FDI inflowUSD 74,294,000
Inflation (December 2010)1.91%
Central bank assets (November 2010)USD 510.78 million
Unemployment rate60%
Government deficit (December 2010)USD 0.56 million
Tax revenue (2010)USD 32.63 million
Government typeRepublic
Recent political crisisNA
Economic freedom score149th
Freedom of information score91st
Corruption perception index134th
Birth rate39.9 per ‘000
Population balanceUnder 14 – 43.39%
Population balanceOver 60 – 1.84%
Life expectancy yearsMale – 46.1 years
Life expectancy yearsFemales – 48.7 years
Mortality rate104.3 per ‘000
Literacy rate40%
Internet access0.3%

[Top] Economic Overview

Sierra Leone’s economy has been growing at a slow pace. The economy is primarily dependent on agriculture. Alluvial diamond mining is a major source of income for Sierra Leone.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

According to preliminary estimates, GDP at constant price amounted at SLL 4,711.26 billion in 2010 compared to SLL 4,479.93 billion in 2009.

Sierra Leone GDP at constant prices


P- Projected

(Source: statistics.sl)

The GDP at current prices in 2010 was SLL 8,052,361 million compared to SLL 7,170,141 billion. 

(Source: statistics.sl)

GDP growth rate

The GDP growth rate in 2010 was 5.2% compared to 4.4% in the previous year. The GDP growth rate declined between 2001 and 2010.


Sierra Leone GDP growth rate
(Source: statistics.sl)

Gross national income per capita at PPP

In 2010, Sierra Leone’s GNI per capita at PPP was USD 809 compared to USD 671 in 2005.

Sierra Leone GNI per capita PPP

(Source: UNDP)

Income tax rate

Individual income in Sierra Leone is taxed at varying rates ranging from 20% to 30%.


Income tax on Individual incomes

Income (SLL) per annum

Tax rate

0 - 1,500,000


1,500,000 - 4,500,000


4,500,000 - 7,500,000


Above 7,500,000


(Source: taxrates.cc)

Corporate tax

Standard corporate tax in Sierra Leone is 30%.

(Source: taxrates.cc)  

Inflation rate

The monthly inflation rate in Sierra Leone in December 2010 was 1.91%  compared to 0.3% the previous month.

Sierra Leone Inflation rate

(Source: bsl.gov.sl)

FDI Inflow

In 2009, FDI inflows to Sierra Leone amounted to USD 74,294,000 compared to USD 57,632,000 in 2008.


Sierra Leone FDI inflow

(Source: bsl.gov.sl)

Portfolio investment

The portfolio investment in 2009 reached USD 5,636,000 compared to USD 1,583,000 in 2008.

(Source: bsl.gov.sl)

Banking sector assets

The table below shows the assets of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone.

Currency Unit: Sierra Leonean Leone (SLL)

Assets of Central Bank of Sierra Leone (SLL million)

End of Period

November 2010

Total External Reserves


Government Securities – Local Investment


Rediscount and Advances


Fixed Assets (Including Equipment)


Other Assets (N2)


Total Assets


(Source: bsl.gov.sl)

[Top] Financial Indicators & Government Financial

Consumer price index

The consumer price index in Sierra Leone has been rising steadily. In December 2010, the CPI was 157.2 compared to 154.2 the previous month.


Sierra Leone Consumer Price Index

Base, 2007=100


Interest rates


Interest rates (%)


September 2010

September 2009

Saving deposits



Time deposits

1 - 3 months



3 - 6 months



6 - 9 months



9 - 12 months




Money supply (currency in circulation)

Money in circulation in September 2010 totalled SLL 456,296 million compared to SLL 347,070 million in the corresponding period the previous year.


Money supply (SLL million)


September 2010

September 2009

Reserve Money (RM)



Broad Money (M2)



Currency in Circulation



Demand Deposits



(Source: bsl.gov.sl)

Public debt

The external public debt in 2010 amounted to USD 765.8 million, of which USD 470 million was multilateral debt.

(Source: bsl.gov.sl)

Government expenditure

Sierra Leone's government expenditure in December 2010 was SLL 144,019 compared to SLL 119,991 million in December 2009.


Sierra Leone Government expenditure


Official exchange rate

SLL per USD rate in September 2010 was 3,982.44 compared to 3,558.03 for the same period the previous year.

Sierra Leone Exchange rate

(Source: bsl.gov.sl, bsl.gov.sl)

Government finances

Fiscal balance

The fiscal deficit in December 2010 amounted to SLL 2,297 million compared to a deficit of SLL 38,570 million in December 2009.

Sierra Leone Fiscal balance

(Source: bsl.gov.sl)

Total revenue

Sierra Leone's revenue in December 2010 was SLL 141,722 million compared to SLL 81,421 million in December 2009.

Sierra Leone Revenue


Tax revenue

Tax revenues in Sierra Leone in December 2010 amounted to SLL 131,518 million compared to SLL 70,386 million in December 2009.

Sierra Leone Tax revenue


Current account balance - surplus/deficit

The current account balance in 2010 was 9.33% of GDP compared to 8.36% in 2009.

Sierra Leone Current account balance


Balance of payments

Balance of Payments (USD '000)




Current account



Capital & Financial account



Errors and Omissions




[Top] Labour Force and Employment Overview

Labour force

The labour force in Sierra Leone was 2.1 million people in 2008  compared to a labour force of 2.05 million in 2007.


Sierra Leone Labour force

(Source: WorldBank)

Labour force participation rate

The total labour force participation rate in 2008 was 67%. The participation rate for men and women was 68% and 66% respectively.

(Source: World Bank)

Unemployment rate

In Sierra Leone, approximately 800,000 young people are unemployed or underemployed. The youth unemployment rate is estimated to be 60%.

(Source: UN, africaecon)

Minimum wage

The minimum wage in Sierra Leone is SLL 25,000 (USD 8.30) per month. The minimum wage for a 19-year old worker or apprentice is approximately USD 12.7 per month.

(Source: state.gov, doingbusiness.org)

Level of unionisation

The main trade unions in Sierra Leone include:

·         Central Confederation of Trade Unions (CCOTU)

·         Sierra Leone Labour Congress (SLLC)

(Source: ICFTU)

[Top] Political Stability

Sierra Leone is a republic. The president is the head of state and the government. The president is supported by a vice-president and a cabinet of ministers.

Sioerra Leone's legislature or parliament is unicameral and consists of 124 members. 112 of the 124 members are directly elected and the remaining 12 are elected as representatives of the 12 provincial districts. The members of parliament are elected for a term of five years.

Some of the political parties in Sierra Leone include:

·         APC - All Peoples Congress

·         PMDC - People’s movement for Democratic Change

·         SLPP - Sierra Leone Peoples Party

The political situation in Sierra Leone is stable and is recovering from civil wars which ended in 2002.

(Source: BBC, fco.gov.uk, IPU)

Regulatory environment in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's economic freedom score is 49.6, making its economy the 149th freest in the 2011 Index of Economic freedom. Sierra Leone ranks 32nd out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region and its overall scores are lower than the global average.


Sierra Leone Economic Freedom Indices


Corruption perception

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Sierra Leone is ranked 134th indicating the corruption levels in the public departments is fairly high.

Sierra Leone has slipped in the CPI rankings since 2009 – it was ranked 146th with a score of 2.2, indicating that the perceived levels of corruption have increased in Sierra Leone.


Freedom of information

The media or press freedom in Sierra Leone is limited. Journalists are often targeted for covering topics such as corruption.

(Source: BBC)

The World Press Freedom Index 2010 ranked Sierra Leone in  91st position with a score of 24.25 which indicates that media in Sierra Leone is restricted. (Source: rsf.org)


·         Awoko

·         Concord Times

·         Standard Times

·         Independent Observer

·         For di People

(Source: BBC)

Judicial system

The judiciary in Sierra Leone includes

·         Supreme Court of Justice

·         Court of Appeals

·         High Court of Justice

·         Magistrate courts

The Supreme Court is the highest court of justice. However, the judicial presence outside the capital district in Sierra Leone is limited. Sierra Leone also has a special court system, which includes the chambers (appeals chamber, trial chamber I and trial chamber II), the registry (including the Defence Office) and the office of the prosecutor.

(Source:sc-sl.org, state.gov)

[Top] Demographic Overview

The total population of Sierra Leone in 2009 was 5.7 million people and increased at a rate of approximately 2.5% over the previous year.

(Source: afdb.org)

The gender ratio in Sierra Leone is not balanced i.e. there are approximately 94.9 men for every 100 women in the country

(Source: UN)


Sierra Leone Population by gender

The mortality rate of infants (per 1,000 live births) was 104.3 in 2009. In, the mortality rate (per thousand) was 15.4.

The birth rate (per thousand people) was 39.9 in 2009 and the death rate was 15.4 (per thousand people).

The total life expectancy at birth for the total population in 2009 was 47.9 years. The average life expectancy in Sierra Leone for men and women was 46.1 years and 48.7 years respectively.

(Source: UN, afdb.org)

The majority of the population i.e. approximately 54.77% fall in the 15-64 age group category. Approximately 43.39% of the population belong in the 0-14 year’s age group. The 65 and above age group constitutes 1.84% of the total population.

Sierra Leone Population by age
(Source: afdb.org)

The inernational migrant stock in mid-2010 recorded 106,800 people. This was approximately 1.8% of the total population.

(Source: UN)

Approximately 38% of the population in Sierra Leone live in urban areas.

(Source: afdb.org)

Ethnic groups in Sierra Leone include Temne, Mende, Limba, Kono, Creole, Mandingo, Loko, and others.

(Source: state.gov)

Sierra Leone ranked 158th out of 182 countries on the Human Development index 2010 conducted by the United Nations. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income). 

(Source: UNDP)

[Top] Soft Infrastructure

Literacy rate

Sierra Leone's literacy rate in 2003 – 2008 was estimated at 40%. (Source: UNICEF)

In Sierra Leone, basic education lasts up to nine years. Sierra Leone plans to make education free and compulsory by 2015. It also has plans to improve the literacy rate to approximately 50% by 2015.

The expenditure on education is 3.8 % of GDP. The combined gross enrolment ratio in education of males and females was 44.6%.


Health care

The leading causes of death in Sierra Leone include lower respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, perinatal conditions, malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles. The public health expenditure is approximately 1.4% of the GDP.

(Source: WHO, UNDP)     

[Top] Hard Infrastructure

The main mode of public transport in Sierra Leone is travel by road and waterways.


In Sierra Leone, there is a total of 11,300 km of roads, of which approximately 8% are paved.


Ports:  The major ports in Sierra Leone are - Port of Freetown, Port of Pepel and Port of Sherbro Island.

(Source:world port source)



Airport name

Runway length (ft)

























(Source: Air charter world)


Telecommunications networks

In 2010, 14,900 people or 0.3% of the total population used internet services.




The number of fixed telephone lines in Sierra Leone has increased from 26,500 in 2004 to 32,800 in 2009 registering a CAGR of 4.4%. The use of fixed telephone lines has increased from 0.54 per 100 people in 2004 to 0.58 per 100 people in 2009.


(Source: ITU)


The number of mobile phone subscriptions was 1,160,000 in 2009. The ratio of mobile phone subscriptions to fixed telephone lines was 35.4:1, indicating that the use of mobile phones in Sierra Leone is higher than the use of fixed telephone lines.


(Source: ITU)

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