Sierra Leone Facts

Sierra Leone is roughly the size of Ireland.

Population approx 6 million

16 ethnic groups predominantly muslim with strong Christian minority. One of the most religiously tolerant nations in the world.

Sierra Leone is classified by the UN as one of the least developed countries. In 2008, Sierra Leone ranked 178 out of 178 in the UN Human Development Index. It is one of nine countries in Africa whose income per capita has actually fallen compared to 1960s levels. About 70 % of Sierra Leoneans were living below the poverty line in 2007.1

Sierra Leone’s immense potential to participate in the world’s economy remains largely untapped. It has unexploited fertile lands on which to grow and harvest food; abundant seas with huge marine resources; it has mineral resources of tremendous value; and it has a large natural deep water port with which it can connect people and their produce to the outside world. The country is therefore denied much needed resources for even greater macro-economic growth. The country’s main economic sectors include mining, agriculture and fisheries. Mining of diamonds, bauxite and rutile is the major source of foreign exchange. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the country’s population, the majority of which are involved in subsistence agriculture and contribute 51%of the country’s GDP. Sierra Leone’s manufacturing sector continues to develop and consists mainly of processing of raw materials and of light manufacturing for the domestic market. The service sector has been growing mainly due to a number of Nigerian banks entering the market. The economic prospects look good and living standards are expected to rise over time if the current stabilising macroeconomics policy is maintained.

Level & Trends in Child Mortality. Report 2011. Estimates Developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA, UNPD).

Infant mortality 119 per 1,000 live births

Maternal mortality 890 per 100,000 live births

0.2 midwives per 1,000 head of population  (10.1 in the U.K)

24.6% hospital deliveries

Life expectancy 48 yrs