Sierra Leone

About Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a country of more then 7 million people located in the west coast of Africa. The majority of the population live in rural areas, roughly 40% is urbanized. Sierra Leone is a multi ethnic society. There are about 18 different ethnic groups; two of the largest ones are the Temne and the Mende. The Temne are generally found in the centre and north west of the country while the Mende can be found in the east and the south.

English is the official language; it is used in the areas of education and commerce. Crio, a language that is a mixture between English and a variety of African languages, is also widely used.

Adult literacy rate of Sierra Leone increased from 34.8 % in 2004 to 48.4 % in 2015 growing at an average annual rate of 19.06 %. Adult (15+) literacy rate (%) is the percentage of the population age 15 and above who can, with understanding, read and write a short, simple statement on their everyday life.

About 42% of the people are below the age of 14 years old. This young population boom is in part due to the nations’ high fertility rate: a woman has an average of 5 children. But woman are also dying at a high rate due to childbirth. The nation has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world.

Sierra Leoneans collect most of their drinking water from polluted sources. Pollutants and poor sanitation are attributed to some of the health problems in the country. Sierra Leone is one of the toughest countries to survive in. The average life expectancy for a Sierra Leonean is only 56 years.

About 78% of the people in Sierra Leone are Muslim; Christians, the next largest religious group accounts for almost 21% of the population. But many people also continue to practice traditional religions, collectively called African Traditional Religion, as well as their Muslim or Christian faith.

The climate is tropical and humid all year. Between November and April, it is very hot and dry, although the coastal areas are cooled by sea breezes. In December and January, the dry, dusty Harmattan wind blows from the Sahara. Rainfall can be torrential during the rainy season between May and November.

Sierra Leone is an extremely poor country, with more then half of its people living below the international poverty line of $1,25 per day. According to the United Nations Human Development Index, Sierra Leone is ranked 179 in 2016, which makes it one of the poorest nations. Almost half of those of working age live on subsistent agriculture, but the countries mineral industry plays a major economic role as well. Diamonds and iron are major export. Overall Sierra Leone economy sees a down fall in 2015 during the 2014/15 Ebola crisis, but in recent years there has been some growth. The future of the economy remains uncertain, giving the shrinking prices of iron around the world. Now when it is time for a meal, most families prepare their food with wood or charcoal stove, while many in the city use gas. Cassava, okra and beans are extremely popular in the country, but the biggest staple in diet is rice.

According to researchers in 2009 just over 200 pound of milled rice were consumed per person per year. Rice is typically eaten multiple times a day, usually served with stews and sauces that can include fish, chicken, pork or goat meat.

We also have to mention that Sierra Leone has suffered due to conflict, violence and disease over the last 2 decades. The impact can still be felt today. The country spiraled into civil war from 1991 to 2002. Tens of thousands civilians died as a results and hundred were subjected to brutal limp amputations as punishments and women were often subject to wide spread sexual abuse. Both sides of this conflict, rebels and government forces, used child soldiers in their fights. And up to a quarter of the population was displaced. In 1999 a cease-fire was brokered and UN troops had been diploid to help keep the peace. The war was not official declared over until 2002.

Then in 2014 Sierra Leone was one of the hardest hit countries by the regional Ebola Outbreak. There were over 14000 confirmed cases of the virus and nearly 4000 people died as a direct result of the virus. But many more died due to the non-functioning of the normal health care.

And in 2017 deadly mudslides killed hundreds of people and displaced hundreds more.


After the discovery by the Portuguese in 1461 (Serra Leoa is Portuguese for Lion Mountain), the country was especially interesting for Europeans as a source of slaves. In 1787, a settlement built by freed slaves from London on the peninsula they called The Province of Freedom. This peninsula is the present Western Area. The current capital Freetown was founded in 1792 by freed African American slaves. A group of people created the Creole / Krio with its own language, the Krio. In 1808 the peninsula and were Bonthe (Sherbro) Island along a British crown colony, where the Creole elite would play a prominent role in trade, education and missionary work.



Sierra Leone gained its independence on April 27, 1961. Between 1991 and 2001 the country had suffered a bloody civil war which half the land area was fighting and fourth of the population to flee.



The country comprises three provinces and an outer region where the provincial capital city Freetown is located. They are Eastern, with its capital Kenema (294 539 inhabitants, 2004) Northern Makeni with the capital (115,800 inhabitants, 2004) Southern Bo with the capital (369,734 inhabitants, 2004) with Western capital, Freetown (1,070,200 inhabitants, 2004)



Life expectancy (at birth): 41.2 years (estimate 2009) – Population growth: 2.3% (estimate 2009) – Birth rate: 44.7 / 1000 (estimate 2009) – Death rate: 22.3 / 1000 (estimate 2009) – Infant mortality rate: 154.4 / 1000 (estimate 2009) – Literacy: total 64.9%, men 53.1%, women 75.6% (2004 estimate)



Mende (30%) – Temne (30%) – Krio, Creole descended from freed slaves, 10% minority groups such as Lebanese, Indians, Europeans, Chinese, Pakistanis and refugees from neighboring countries.



Sunni Islam (60%) – Animism (10%) – Christianity (30%), the original inhabitants are predominantly Muslim, especially the northern tribes tend to Islam, the South hand, tend more to Christianity. The Krio are almost all Christian. All indigenous peoples have also animism.



English is the official language, nonetheless speaks only a small percentage of the population is English. Besides Krio, Mende and Temne Sierra Leone still has 15 people with their own languages, the Limba, Bomb, Gula, Bullom, Kishi, Kono, Crimea, Koranko, Mandingo, Fula, Sherbro, Soso, Loko, Vai and Yalunka.



Presidential republic.
Parliament: House of Representatives. 68 Members. Elections every five years. Suffrage from 18 years. Since May 28, 1997, the parliament dissolved. The unicameral with 112 seats elected every five years. The president is both head of government as head of state, and Sierra Leone is part of the Commonwealth. The government leader is Julius Maada Bio (since April 4th, 2018).


civil war

1991 and 2002 a civil war raged in Sierra Leone. From 1991, the Revolutionary United Front (Revolutionary United Front, RUF) against the government. The RUF was supported by the late Liberian President Charles Taylor who in turn was supported by Guinea and Nigeria. In 1992, Valentine Strasser in Sierra Leone’s new leader, who established a military regime. Strasbourg in 1996 staged Sers right, General Julius Maada Bio, a coup and assumed power. He began a process of democratization and started negotiations with the insurgents. Under pressure from the international community were held elections which were won by Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). In 1997, Major Koroma and his soldiers took over power and established a military regime called Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). AFRC and the RUF carried out a reign of terror on Sierra Leone. They were expelled in 1998 by the Civil Defense Forces Kabbah with international forces. The Kabbah government was reinstalled, and there were attempts to negotiate peace. In January 1999 the People’s Army attacked the AFRC-RUF in the capital Freetown and took action “No Living Thing ‘out. In the same year a peace treaty was signed and UN troops stationed in the country, three years later – in January 2002 – the RUF finally put down their arms. Reconstruction – Sierra Leone since 2002 working to rebuild the country. There is a country in the Sierra Leone tribunal because of the ongoing war crimes committed during the civil war. Also, the war crimes documented.



Sierra Leone has many musical genres such as Palm-wine, Gumbs, afro / African Highlife and traditional music-music as Bubu. Currently, a fusion of African and West Indian styles and hip hop and R & B are very popular among the younger generation.



Currency: Leone (SLL). Course: 1 Leone (SLL) = 0.0002381 Euro (September 2008) – GDP: $ 1.133 billion ($ 223 per capita) (2005) – Export Products: diamond, rutile, cocoa – Trading Partners: U.S., UK, UK



Sierra Leone has the finest beaches in Africa. The Atlantic coast of Sierra Leone has long white pristine sandy beaches. Along the coast of Freetown are numerous hotels, dining and entertainment venues. There are also many interesting historical sights like the old Creole villages on the peninsula (The Western Area), a slave fort on Bunce Island, Turtle Islands and the Banana, the Bint Imani mountains, mangrove forests and waterfalls Charlotte Falls. Game Reserves: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary for chimpanzees – Island Wildlife Sanctuary, with over 135 different bird species – Outamba-Kilimi National Park – Wildlife Sanctuary Mamunta Mayosso


development and poverty

When the index of human development was Sierra Leone as least developed countries classified. Besides living in the United Nations Development Program 70.2% of the population below the poverty line …
More information can be found in this document