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Geography and natural resources

  • 71740 sq km - comparable to the size of Bavaria in Germany
  • 4 provinces; cities: capital Freetown 1.3 million inhabitants, Bo 200,000 inhabitants, Kenema 200,000 inhabitants, Makeni 100,000 inhabitants
  • neighboring countries: Guinea and Liberia; Atlantic coast 400 km
  • climate: tropical humid (rainy season May to September; December and January Harmattan (Sahara wind))


  • 8.9 million inhabitants (2021 est.); 2.4% growth; 40.5% younger than 15 years old; Life expectancy at birth 59.03 yrs (2021 est.)
  • tribes: Temne and Mende (two thirds)
  • official language: English - alongside Krio and regional dialects
  • religion: 60% Muslim, 10-20% Christian, alongside many traditional African religions

State and government form

  • Presidential Republic in the Commonwealth; UK Common Law legislation
  • direct election of the head of state: since 2018 Julius Maada Bio (SLPP) president, before that Ernest Bai Koroma (APC) from 2007 to 2018 president
  • parliament with 124 members, elected every 5 years
  • two leading democratic parties: All People's Congress APC (68 seats); Sierra Leone People´s Party SLPP (49 seats)
  • 2023 Election Results: Julius Maada Bio elected president in first round of voting (SLPP) 56.1%; Samura KAMARA (APC) 41.1%


  • in 1460, the Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra gave the mountain range on the Sierra Leone Peninsula the name Serra Lyoa (Lion Mountains)
  • in 1808 the peninsula became a British crown colony; In 1896, as a result of the Berlin Congo conference, the hinterland was also declared a British protectorate
  • Sir Milton Margai, then Prime Minister, leads Sierra Leone to independence on April 27, 1961
  • after military coups in 1967 and 1968, the republic was proclaimed in 1971; Presidential Republic
  • unstable political situations, high levels of corruption and high unemployment lead to high levels of dissatisfaction - especially among the rural population. High willingness to use violence; Rebel attacks from Liberia - supported by Charles Taylor, warlord in the Liberian civil war; from there financing of the different "warring parties", aiming to control the diamond areas in the east of the country
  • 1991 war began - extreme brutality against civilians
  • 50,000 dead and 2 million refugees
  • extensive destruction of the infrastructure, administrative structure / institutions (schools, hospitals, courts ...) of the country, including Freetown
  • from 1999 deployment of the United Nations and a special task force of Great Britain
  • highest expenditure of the UN (on the basis of country residents) for peace building and peace keeping
  • peace agreement 2002, with monitoring and further development of stable political structures by the UN
  • major multilateral donor organizations: World Bank, Africa. Development bank, EU, UNICEF
  • Ebola outbreak 2014 - 2016
  • since January 2020, according to WHO, 7.762 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 125 deaths, total 9,155,936 doses of vaccine administered
  • violent protests and unrest in August 2022, triggered by cost-of-living crisis (increase of about 40%), protesters demand resignation of President Julius Maada Bio (elected 2018). A nationwide curfew is imposed. At least twenty-seven civilians and six police officers die.
  • June 2023: Re-election of President Julius Maada Bio (SLPP)
  • renewed protests over increases in fuel and food costs, alleged electoral fraud in 2023 general elections, and assassination of opposition party members in September 2023


  • real GDP (2021 est.): $ 13.5 billion, growth rate (2021 est.): 4.1%
  • real GDP per capita (2021 est.): $ 1,600; more than 50% unemployed or underemployed
  • 2/3 of the population lives from agriculture (subsistence farming)
  • 51% agriculture, 22% industry, 27% service
  • imports (2020 est.): $ 1.4 billion (machinery; oil; transportation equipment, food); exports (2020 est.) $ 700.9 million (coffee, cocoa, palm kernels)
  • Importpartner: China 27%, India 11%, United States 6%, Ghana 5%; Exportpartner: Belgium 26%, China 25%, Romania 9%, United Arab Emirates 6%, Germany 5%
  • GB and USA have their own chambers of commerce; China is a big investor
  • foreign policy: Close relationship with the UK, USA, China


  • roads: 11,701 km, no public rail network, navigable waterways, one international airport
  • Water access via cannalization: city 92.5%, country 58%, total 72.8%
  • Fourah Bay College, Freetown (one of the oldest universities in West Africa); University of Makeni; Njala University
  • two TV stations, 58 newspapers, 21 radio stations (72% of the population listens daily)
  • Telekom: 269 landline connections; 8.3 million mobile phones; 1.1 million internet access

Social situation

  • Health: HIV est. 1.5%; infant mortality rate (under 1 year) 7.2%; maternal mortality rate 0.5%; Malaria and yellow fever; inadequate health care
  • Fertility rate: 4 children per mother
  • FGM (Female Genital Mutliation) 86%.
  • Human Development Index 2021: 0.477 - position 181 out of 191 (HDI 1990: 0.312); Gender Inequality Index: 0.633 - Position 162 of 170
  • Education: Illiteracy rate higher than 50%; approx. 40% of school-age children go to school, more than 1,000 schools destroyed during the war
  • Main problems: poverty, food deficit, missing and inadequate social and physical infrastructure

Chances for Sierra Leone

The particularly beautiful country with its happy – almost always confident people has overcome times of crisis. Despite poverty the joy of life in Sierra Leone is impressive. The country and its people need help to help themselves. We can offer support. Because of the rich natural resources, largely intact nature and an emerging young population, the development opportunities and prospects are excellent.