The economy of Sierra Leone is that of a least developed country with a GDP of approximately 1.9 billion USD in 2009. Since the end of the civil war in 2002 the economy is gradually recovering with a GDP growth rate between 4 and 7%. In 2008 its GDP in PPP ranked between 147th (World Bank) and 153rd (CIA) largest in the world.
Sierra Leone's economic development has always been hampered by an overdependence on mineral exploitation. Successive governments and the population as a whole have always believed that "diamonds and gold" are sufficient generators of foreign currency earnings and lure for investment.
As a result, large scale agriculture of commodity products, industrial development and sustainable investments have been neglected by governments. The economy could thus be described as one which is "exploitative" - a rentier state - and based upon the extraction of unsustainable resources or non-reusable assets.
|Economy of Sierra Leone|
A diamond Mine in Kono District.
|Currency||Sierra Leonean leone|
|AU, African Development Bank, ECOWAS, Mano River Union, World Bank, IMF, WTO, Group of 77|
|GDP|| $8.412 billion (PPP) (2012 est.)|
Rank: 155 (2012 est.)
|-20.5% (2015), 6.3% (2016), |
4.3% (2017e), 5.1% (2018f) 
GDP per capita
|$1,400 (PPP) (2012 est.)|
Rank: 205 (2012 est.)
GDP by sector
|agriculture (51.5%) |
services (33.6%) (2012 est.)
|12.9% (2012 est.) |
Population below poverty line
|70.2% (2004 est.)|
|62.9 (4th) (1989 est.)|
|2.207 million (2007 est.)|
|diamonds mining, small-scale manufacturing (cigarettes, beverages, textiles, footwear), petroleum refining, commercial ship repair|
|Exports||$1.104 billion (153rd) (2012 est.)|
|diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish|
Main export partners
| China 50.5% |
Indonesia 4.3% (2012 est.)
|Imports||$1.509 billion (172nd) (2012 est.)|
|machinery, fuel, lubricants, chemicals, food|
Main import partners
| China 16.3% |
South Africa 7.1%
United States 6.6%
United Kingdom 6.6%
Côte d'Ivoire 4.6%
Belgium 4.5% (2012 est.)
|$1.644 billion (94th) (31 December 2012 est.)|
Gross external debt
|$1.125 billion (158th) (31 December 2012 est.)|
|34.6% of GDP (2012)|
|Revenues||$510.2 million (2012 est.)|
|Expenses||$728.5 million (2012 est.)|
This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Sierra Leone at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund and EconStats with figures in millions of Sierra Leones.
|Year||Gross Domestic Product|
Current GDP per capita of Sierra Leone grew 32% in the 1960s, reaching a peak growth of 107% in the 1970s. But this proved unsustainable and it consequently shrank by 52% in the 1980s and a further 10% in the 1990s.
The mean wage was US$0.32 per hour in 2009.
|Rank||Sector||Percentage of GDP|
|3||Trade and tourism||9.5|
|4||Wholesale and retail trade||9.0|
|5||Mining and quarying||4.5|
|7||Manufacturing and handicrafts||2.0|
|9||Electricity and water||0.4|
Agriculture is the largest employer with 80 percent of the population working in the sector. Rice is the most important staple crop in Sierra Leone with 85 percent of farmers cultivating rice during the rainy season and an annual consumption of 76 kg per person.
Rich in minerals, Sierra Leone has relied on the mining sector in general, and diamonds in particular, for its economic base. In the 1970s and early 1980s, economic growth rate slowed because of a decline in the mining sector. Financially disadvantageous exchange rates and government budget deficits led to sizable balance-of-payments deficits and inflation.
Certain policy responses to external factors as well as implementations of aid projects and maintenance have led to a general decline in economic activity and a serious degradation of economic infrastructures. Sierra Leone's short-term prospects depend upon continued adherence to International Monetary Fund programs and continued external assistance.
Radio is the most-popular and most-trusted media source in Sierra Leone, with 72% of people in the country listening to the radio daily. Sierra Leone is home to one government-owned national radio station and roughly two dozen private radio stations, as well as one government-owned and one private TV station.
Telephone and telegraph services are marginal, but improving. Internet usage is low, reaching just 1.3% of the population in 2012, but improving with growth in 3G mobile cellular data services and the mid-2011 arrival of the ACE international fiber-optic cable system in Freetown.
According to the International Labour Organization, approximately 8,000 Sierra Leoneans are employed in the tourism industry, with a growing number of jobs expected to be created in the future. The main entrance point is Freetown International Airport, where transport to and from has been problematic. The main attractions for tourist in Sierra Leone are the beaches, nature reserves and mountains.
Because of widespread poverty, high petroleum prices and a large portion of the population residing in small communities, walking is often the preferred method of transportation in Sierra Leone. There are 11,700 kilometres (7,270 mi) of highway in Sierra Leone, of which 936 km (582 mi) are paved.
There are 800 km (497 mi) of waterways in Sierra Leone, of which 600 km (373 mi) are navigable year-round. Major ports of Sierra Leone include: Bonthe, Freetown and Pepel. Queen Elizabeth II Quay in Freetown represents the country's only deep water port facility capable of berthing large-hulled cargo or military vessels.
There are ten airports in Sierra Leone, of which one - Lungi International Airport in Freetown - has a paved runway in excess of 3000m in length. Of the remaining airports, all of which have unpaved runways, seven have runways of lengths between 914 and 1,523 m (2,999 and 4,997 ft); the remaining two having runways of shorter length. There are two heliports in the country.
Mineral exports remain Sierra Leone's principal foreign exchange earner. Sierra Leone is a major producer of gem-quality diamonds. Though rich in this resource, the country has historically struggled to manage its exploitation and export. Annual production estimates range between $70–$250 million; however, only a fraction of that passes through formal export channels (1999: $1.2 million; 2000: $16 million; 2001: projections $25 million). The balance is smuggled out and has been used to finance rebel activities in the region, money laundering, arms purchases, and financing of other illicit activities, leading some to characterize Sierra Leone's diamonds as a "conflict resource."
Recent efforts on the part of the country to improve the management of the export trade have met with some success. In October 2000, a new UN-approved export certification system for exporting diamonds from Sierra Leone was put into place that led to a dramatic increase in legal exports. In 2001, the Government of Sierra Leone created a mining community development fund, which returns a portion of diamond export taxes to diamond mining communities. The fund was created to raise local communities' stake in the legal diamond trade.
Sierra Leone has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile, a titanium ore used as paint pigment and welding rod coatings. Sierra Rutile Limited, fully owned by Nord Resources of the United States, began commercial mining operations near Bonthe in early 1979. Sierra Rutile was then the largest non-petroleum U.S. investment in West Africa. The export of 88,000 tons realized $75 million for the country in 1990.
The company and the Government of Sierra Leone concluded a new agreement on the terms of the company's concession in Sierra Leone in 1990. Rutile and bauxite mining operations were suspended when rebels invaded the mining sites in 1995. Negotiations for reactivation of rutile and bauxite mining are in progress. The U.S. interest in the company has been reduced to 25%.
Since independence, the Government of Sierra Leone has encouraged foreign investment, although the business climate suffers from uncertainty and a shortage of foreign exchange because of civil conflicts. Investors are protected by an agreement that allows for arbitration under the 1965 World Bank Convention. Legislation provides for transfer of interest, dividends, and capital.
The currency is the leone. The central bank of the country is the Bank of Sierra Leone which is in the capital, Freetown. The country operates a floating exchange rate system, and foreign currencies can be exchanged at any of the commercial banks, recognized foreign exchange bureaux and most hotels. Credit card use is limited in Sierra Leone, though they may be used at some hotels and restaurants. There are a few internationally linked automated teller machines that accept Visa cards in Freetown operated by ProCredit Bank.
Sierra Leone is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). With Liberia and Guinea, it formed the Mano River Union (MRU) customs union, primarily designed to implement development projects and promote regional economic integration.
The MRU has so far been inactive because of domestic problems and internal and cross-border conflicts in all three countries. The future of the MRU depends on the ability of its members to deal with the fallout from these internal and regional problems.
Sierra Leone is a member of the WTO.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $11.55 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.7% (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita: $1,600 (2017 est.)
Gross national saving: 10% of GDP (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 60.7% (2017 est.)
industry: 6.5% (2017 est.)
services: 32.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line:: 70.2% (2004 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 34 (2011)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 18.2% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 2.972 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 61.1% (2014 est.)
industry: 5.5% (2014 est.)
services: 33.4% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate: 15% (2017 est.)
revenues: 562 million (2017 est.)
expenditures: 846.4 million (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -7.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 63.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
Industries: diamond mining; iron ore, rutile and bauxite mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, footwear)
Industrial production growth rate: 15.5% (2017 est.)
electrification: total population: 5% (2013)
electrification: urban areas: 11% (2013)
electrification: rural areas: 1% (2013)
Electricity - production: 300 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 23%
other renewable: 26% (2017)
Electricity - consumption: 279 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Exports: $808.4 million (2017 est.)
Exports - commodities: iron ore, diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
Exports - partners: Cote dIvoire 37.7%, Belgium 20.5%, US 15.7%, China 10.2%, Netherlands 6.1% (2017)
Imports: $1.107 billion (2017 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals
Imports - partners: China 11.5%, US 9.2%, Belgium 8.8%, UAE 7.7%, India 7.4%, Turkey 5.2%, Senegal 5.1%, Netherlands 4.3% (2017)
Debt - external: $1.615 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $478 million (31 December 2017 est.)
Agriculture in Sierra Leone is a significant part of the economy of Sierra Leone, with it accounting for 58 percent national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007. Two-thirds of the population of Sierra Leone are involved in subsistence agriculture.The agricultural sector grew by about 14 percent in 2007, led by crops, and five percent in 2008. Despite this growth the country is a net importer of food; for example, in 2004 19,000 t of rice was imported.Bank of Sierra Leone
The Bank of Sierra Leone is the central bank of Sierra Leone. It issues the country's currency, known as the Leone. The bank formulates and implements monetary policy, including foreign exchange.Banking in Sierra Leone
Banking in Sierra Leone consists of a central bank, the Bank of Sierra Leone, seven commercial banks, and six community banks.Jean-Raymond Boulle
Jean-Raymond Boulle, COR (born 10 October 1950) is the founder of four publicly traded companies with deposits of nickel, cobalt, copper, zinc, titanium and diamonds.Lebanese people in Sierra Leone
There is a significant population of Lebanese people in Sierra Leone.List of banks in Sierra Leone
This is a list of commercial banks in Sierra Leone
Commercial banksSierra Leone Commercial Bank
Standard Chartered Bank (Sierra Leone)
Rokel Commercial Bank
Guaranty Trust Bank (Sierra Leone)
Union Trust Bank
First International Bank
First Bank of Nigeria, formerly International Commercial Bank
Access Bank Sierra Leone
United Bank for Africa
Keystone BankCommunity banksMarampa Masimera Community Bank
Mattru Community Bank
Segbwema Community Bank
Yoni Community BankList of companies of Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. The economy of Sierra Leone is that of a least developed country with a GDP of approximately 1.9 billion USD in 2009. Since the end of the civil war in 2002 the economy is gradually recovering with a GDP growth rate between 4 and 7%. In 2008 its GDP in PPP ranked between 147th (World Bank) and 153rd (CIA) largest in the world. Sierra Leone's economic development has always been hampered by an overdependence on mineral exploitation. Successive governments and the population as a whole have always believed that "diamonds and gold" are sufficient generators of foreign currency earnings and lure for investment. As result large scale agriculture of commodity products, industrial development and sustainable investments have been neglected by governments. The economy could thus be described as based upon the extraction of unsustainable resources or non-reusable assets. Sierra Leone is a member of the WTO.List of districts of Sierra Leone by Human Development Index
This is a list of districts of Sierra Leone by Human Development Index as of 2017.Mining in Sierra Leone
The mining industry of Sierra Leone accounted for 4.5 percent of the country's GDP in 2007 and minerals made up 79 percent of total export revenue with diamonds accounting for 46 percent of export revenue in 2008. The main minerals mined in Sierra Leone are diamonds, rutile, bauxite, gold, iron and limonite.
Mining in Sierra Leone has been seen as one of the key factors for instability in the country and one of the reasons for the country's recent civil war. Traditionally, benefits from diamond mining have ended up with private companies and corrupt officials rather than the country's government and people.The Ministry of Mineral Resources, is responsible for the management of the country's minerals sector and the Mines and Minerals Act 2009. Sierra Leone is a candidate for the Extraction Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). GoSL publishes data on licenses and payments by mining companies on their Online Repository established by Revenue Development Foundation, the repository was launched in January 2012.Outline of Sierra Leone
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Sierra Leone:
Sierra Leone – sovereign country located in West Africa. Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea in the northeast, Liberia in the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of 71,740 km² (27,699 sq mi) and has a population of 5,900,000. The country has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests. Freetown is the capital, seat of government, and largest city. Other major cities in the country with a population over 100,000 are Bo, Kenema, Koidu Town and Makeni. Although English is the official language spoken at schools and government administration, Krio (language derived from English and several West African languages and is native to the Sierra Leone Krio people) is the lingua franca spoken throughout the country. The Krio language unites all the different ethnic groups, especially in their trade and interaction with each other.Sierra Leone railway strike of 1926
From January 14 to February 26, 1926, all grades of the African workers within the Railway Department of the Sierra Leone Government participated in a strike. This strike represented the first time a trade union in Sierra Leone was effective in politically organizing with a set organizational structure. It is also the first strike and act of political disobedience in which the Krio elite identified with and supported the strikers and the working class against the British colonizing power.Sierra Leonean leone
The leone is the currency of Sierra Leone. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The ISO 4217 code is SLL and the leone is abbreviated as Le placed before the amount.Union Trust Bank
Union Trust Bank (UTB), whose full name is Union Trust Bank Limited, is a commercial bank in Sierra Leone. It is licensed as a "commercial bank" by the Bank of Sierra Leone, the central bank and national banking regulator.
States with limited