Region: Western Africa
Population: 6,294,774 (July 2008 est.)
Surface area: 71,740 sq km
Currency: leone (SLL)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $700 (2007 est.)
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 one-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 presidential election, but still look to the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) - a civilian UN mission - to support efforts to consolidate peace. The new government's priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.
Economy – Overview:
Sierra Leone is an extremely poor nation with tremendous inequality in income distribution. While it possesses substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources, its physical and social infrastructure is not well developed, and serious social disorders continue to hamper economic development. Nearly half 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. Alluvial diamond mining remains the major source of hard currency earnings accounting for nearly half of Sierra Leone's exports. The fate of the economy depends upon the maintenance of domestic peace and the continued receipt of substantial aid from abroad, which is essential to offset the severe trade imbalance and supplement government revenues. The IMF has completed a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility program that helped stabilize economic growth and reduce inflation. A recent increase in political stability has led to a revival of economic activity such as the rehabilitation of bauxite and rutile mining.
Major Export Commodities: diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
Remittances: Not available
Human Development Index 2007/2008 ranking: 177 out of 177
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in 2006 was US $199.09 million. Major development partners include the European Community, the United Kingdom, and the IDA.
Total External Debt: US $1.61 billion (2003 est.)
United Nations membership date: 27 September 1961
New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations,
245 East 49th Street, New York, N.Y. 10017
Telephone: 212-688-1656 / 6748
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2007/2008.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated June 2008