Sierra Leone officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north-east, Liberia to the south-east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests. It is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature. About sixteen ethnic groups inhabit Sierra Leone, each with its own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Temne and the Mende people. Although English is the official language spoken at schools and government administration, the Krio language, is the most widely spoken language. Sierra Leone is a Muslim majority country. Sierra Leone is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant nations in the world.
At present, the financial sector in Sierra Leone is highly exclusive. The financial sector mostly serves the wealthy, high margin type enterprises and people with guaranteed salaries. Most commercial banks are primarily invested in treasury bills while only a limited percentage of their assets are invested in on lending to the business sector. The microfinance sector, on the other hand, is at a very nascent stage. This sector is composed of a mix of projects run by international NGOs with limited (but growing) expertise in microfinance, national NGOs that only recently focused on microfinance and other young experiments. The government’s monetary policy continued to be aimed at reducing inflation, maintaining price stability and reducing the Treasury’s dependencies on the Central Bank for financing its deficits.
|Agriculture||Rice, cassava, sweet potatoes, ground nuts, maize|
|Manufacture||Diamonds, cigarettes, textiles, petroleum, footwear|
|Services (Including financial)||33.6% (2012 EST.)|
|Afrik Air Links||Travel|
|Bank of Sierra Leone||Bank|
|Sierra Leone Brewery||Food|
|Union trust bank||Bank|
Sierra Leone is a small economy, highly dependent on Agriculture and informal economic activities. Sierra Leone is part of the global village, this means that whatever happens in the world will also affect Sierra Leone. It is, therefore, true that the global financial and economic crisis has had the impact of its economy. First, there was a food crisis that saw the global price of rice double in less than a year. Then there was the fuel crisis, with oil prices climbing to nearly $150 a barrel. And finally, there was the financial crisis that plunged the whole world into recession. There was a time when shocks of this intensity would have thrown Sierra Leone into turmoil, or perhaps even turned the clock back to the 1990s when the country was engulfed by the economic crisis, political instability, and civil war. The fall in world demand is liable to impact the Sierra Leone economy primarily through the balance of payments. It will both diminish the prices of raw materials (diamonds, cocoa, etc.), which constitute a major part of Sierra Leone exports. Poverty is expected to rise above the 2005 estimate of 70% of the population by the end of 2009. One positive effect of the global financial crisis is the rapid decline of the fuel pump prices from a peak of $147 a barrel to as low as $40 a barren. This, coupled with the decline in food prices has gone a long way in alleviating the suffering of many people in this country. The declining inflation means that with the same amount of money, one can buy more goods and services in March 2009 than in July 2008. Although many analysts are predicting that the recession is over, yet the impacts might be there for longer than expected. Therefore, the government should continue to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable growth and development. The private sector must be encouraged to take an active part in the recovery process.
The history of Sierra Leone began when the land became inhabited by indigenous African peoples at least 2,500 years ago. The dense tropical rainforest partially isolated the region from other West African cultures, and it became a refuge for peoples escaping violence and jihads. Sierra Leone was named by Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra, who mapped the region in 1462. The Freetown estuary provided a good natural harbor for ships to shelter and replenish drinking water and gained more international attention as coastal and trans-Atlantic trade supplanted trans-Saharan trade.
In the mid-16th century, the Mane people invaded, subjugated nearly all of the indigenous coastal peoples, and militarised Sierra Leone. British abolitionists had organized a colony for Black Loyalists at Freetown, and this became the capital of British West Africa. The descendants of the black settlers were collectively referred to as the Creoles or Krios. In 1895, Britain drew borders for Sierra Leone which they declared to be their protectorate, leading to armed resistance and the Hut Tax War of 1898.
Sierra Leone has played a significant part in modern African political liberty and nationalism. In the 1950s, a new constitution united the Crown Colony and Protectorate, which had previously been governed separately. Sierra Leone gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Ethnic and linguistic divisions remain an obstacle to national unity, with the Mende, Temne, and Creoles as rival power blocs. Roughly half of the years since independence have been marked by autocratic governments or civil war.
|Ernest Bai Koroma (president)||Victor Bockarie Foh (vice president)||Milton Margain (Politician and first prime minister)|
In 1964, decimal coins were introduced in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 cents. The coins size and compositions were based in part on those of the former colonial state British West Africa. All bore the portrait of the first president of Sierra Leone, Sir Milton Margai. In 1972, 50 cents coins were introduced which carried the portrait of the succeeding president Dr. Siaka Stevens. In 1974, round cupro-nickel one leone coins were introduced and in 1976, seven-sided cupro-nickel 2 leone coins commemorating FAO were introduced. These latter two denominations, however, did not circulate as frequently as the lower cent denominations. The portrait of Stevens also appeared on a new, slightly smaller series of coins introduced in 1980 in denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 cents.
Following a period of economic collapse and the following Sierra Leone Civil War inflation became rampant, devaluing older coins. A new coin series was introduced in 1996 for 10, 50 and 100 leones. The 50 leones is octagonal while the other two are round. These coins were struck in nickel-plated steel and feature important figures in Sierra Leone's political history.
Ten sided, bimetallic 500 leones coins were first introduced in 2004. Of the four coins in circulation, only the 100 leones is available in small quantity due to their low valuation and shortage of supply. 500 leones coins and the two lowest denominations are rarely encountered due to rampant metal theft in the impoverished country.
|National Song||"High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free"|
|Currency||Sierra Leonean leone (SLL)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||10.764 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||-21.5 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$1671.644 (PPP)|
< 1.0% Hindus
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
< 1.0% Other Religions
20 African Ethnic Groups 90% (Temne 30%
Creole (Krio) 10% (Descendants Of Freed Jamaican Slaves Who Were Settled In The Freetown Area In The Late-18Th Century)
President – Julius Maada Bio[α]
Chief Minister – David J. Francis
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||53.408 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||2.995 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|