Sierra Leone Overview
|Republic of Sierra Leone
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Sierra Leone is located on the west
coast of Africa and borders Guinea in the north and east
, Liberia in the southeast and south , and the Atlantic
in the west . With an area of 71.740 km², the country
is roughly the size of the Republic of Ireland.
The coastal plain on the Atlantic Ocean has a width
of up to 40 km and is strongly structured by funnel-like
estuaries, swamps, lagoons and offshore islands.
Lowlands adjoin the coastal plain, which are up to 100
km wide and are crossed by individual ridges. On the
mountainous Sierra Leone peninsula, after which the
republic is named and on which the country's capital,
Freetown, is located, heights of up to 880 m are
reached. In the southeast the country merges into a low
mountain range, in the extreme northeast the Loma
Mountains reach heights of up to 1,948 m (Bintimani).
The climate in Sierra Leone is tropical, with little
temperature fluctuations and a rainy season that lasts
from May to October. On the coast, an average of 3,800
mm of precipitation is measured, inland up to 2,000 mm.
The average temperature in Freetown on the Atlantic
coast is 27 กใ C in January and 26 กใ C in July.
Flora and fauna
Mangroves grow in the coastal area, the coastal plain
has extensive marshland. The interior of the country is
occupied in the north by wet savannah, which merges to
the south in secondary forest. Due to intensive
deforestation, only remnants of the original tropical
rainforests remain, only in the southeast of the country
are there even larger stocks of mahogany and teak trees.
In addition to various types of monkeys (eg
chimpanzees), porcupines, zebras, antelopes, hyenas,
lions and leopards live in Sierra Leone. Crocodiles and
hippos can be found in the rivers. There is a great
diversity of species in birds and insects.
Sierra Leone has a total of around 4.96 million
residents. According to COUNTRYAAH, 951,000 live in the country's capital,
Freetown. The Mandes living in the south of the country
make up the largest population group with 35%, followed
by the Temne (31%), Limba (9%) and Kono (6%), who mostly
live in the north of the country. Smaller minorities are
Asians, Europeans and Lebanese. Almost two thirds of the
population are Muslims. The followers of traditional
religions make up around 30%, the rest are Christians.
The official language is English, Malinke, Mende, Temne,
Limba and Krio (Creole) are also spoken.
Despite its rich natural resources, Sierra Leone is
one of the poorest countries in Africa. Medical care for
the population is poor, the average life expectancy is
only 42.5 years. Accordingly, almost 50% of the
population are younger than 15 years. The birth rate is
high; population growth is 2.8%. There is no compulsory
schooling, so that only 30% of the population (18% of
women) can read and write.
Sierra Leone is a presidential republic according to
the 1991 constitution. The head of state and head of
government is the President (Ernest Bai Koroma, since
September 2007), who is directly elected for five years.
The legislature lies with the parliament, which
consists of a chamber with 124 seats. 112 of the
deputies are elected by the people every five years,
twelve seats are allocated to clan chiefs.
Sierra Leone is divided into a capital district and
After the country's decline during the civil war, the
economy has been recovering since 2002. However, Sierra
Leone is still one of the poorest countries in the world
with a per capita income of $ 615 a year.
The main economic sectors in Sierra Leone are
agriculture and mining. 57% of the workforce is employed
in agriculture, coffee, cocoa and oil fruits are
exported, as well as rice, millet, cassava, peanuts,
sweet potatoes and sugar cane. Livestock farming is
practiced in the drier regions of the country. Fishing
is very important for covering the population's own
The country has started iron ore production. In
addition, the traditional mining areas of diamonds,
bauxite, rutile and gold are experiencing an upswing.
The industry in Sierra Leone is only weakly developed,
in addition to the processing of food and the processing
of mining products, mostly smaller companies produce
cigarettes, textiles and furniture. China is the most
important export trade partner, followed by Belgium and
Japan. Imports (food, machinery, fuel) come from China,
India, South Africa, the USA and Great Britain.
Around 900 km of the 11 500 km of roads are paved.
Some of the rivers are navigable for a total of 600 km.
The country's most important port is Freetown, which is
also home to an international airport.
Currency is the leone (= 100 cents; 50 leones are