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  • Counter :
  • 3601
  • Date :
  • 10/11/2003


Since 1991, civil war between the government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (well over one-third of the population), many of whom are now refugees in neighboring countries. After several setbacks, the end to the 11-year conflict inSierra Leone may finally be near at hand. With the support of the UN peacekeeping force and contributions from the World Bank and international community, demobilization and disarmament of the RUF and Civil Defense Forces (CDF) combatants has been completed. National elections were held in May 2002 and the government continues to slowly reestablish its authority.


Location Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia

Geographic coordinates: 8 30 N, 11 30 W

Area: total: 71,740 sq km
land: 71,620 sq km
water: 120 sq km

Climate: tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)

Coastline: 402 km


Population: 5,732,681 (July 2003 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.94% (2003 est.)

Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2003 est.)

Noun: Sierra Leonean(s)
adjective: Sierra Leonean

Ethnic groups: 20 native African tribes 90% (Temne 30%, Mende 30%, other 30%), Creole (Krio) 10% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century), refugees fromLiberia's recent civil war, small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians

Languages: English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)


Working of diamond mines in SIERRA LEONE (CORBIS.com)

Sierra Leone is an extremely poor African nation with tremendous inequality in income distribution. It does have substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources. However, the economic and social infrastructure is not well developed, and serious social disorders continue to hamper economic development, following an 11-year civil war. About two-thirds 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. Plans continue to reopen bauxite and rutile mines shut down during the conflict. The major source of hard currency consists of the mining of diamonds. 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 to supplement government revenues.
Industries: mining (diamonds); small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining

Agriculture products: rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish


Telephones main lines in use: 25,000 (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 30,000 (2001)

Television broadcast stations: 2 (1999)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2001)

Internet users: 20,000 (2001)


Original caption:Africa, Sierre Leone, train on way toWaterloo (CORBIS.com)

Railways: total: 84 Km; narrow gauge: 84 km 1.067-m gauge
note:Sierra Leone has no common carrier railroads; the existing railroad is private and used on a limited basis while the mine at Marampa is closed (2001)

Highways: total: 11,700 km; paved: 936 km ;unpaved: 10,764 km (2002)

Waterways: 800 km (of which 600 km is navigable year round)

Airports: 10 (2002)


Conventional long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
conventional short form: Sierra Leone
Government type: constitutional democracy

Capital: Freetown

Administrative divisions:3 provinces and 1 area*; Eastern, Northern, Southern, Western*

Independence: 27 April 1961 (from UK)

Constitution: 1 October 1991; subsequently amended several times

Legal system:based on English law and customary laws indigenous to local tribes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Ahmad Tejan KABBAH (since 29 March 1996, reinstated 10 March 1998); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ahmad Tejan KABBAH (since 29 March 1996, reinstated 10 March 1998); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president with the approval of the House of Representatives; the cabinet is responsible to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 14 May 2002 (next to be held NA May 2007); note - president's tenure of office is limited to two five-year terms
election results: Ahmad Tejan KABBAH reelected president; percent of vote - Ahmad Tejan KABBAH (SLPP) 70.6%, Ernest KOROMA (APC) 22.4%

Judicial branch Supreme Court;Appeals Court; High Court

Political parties and leaders: All People's Congress or APC [Alhaji Sat KOROMA, interim chairman]; Citizens United for Peace and Progress or CUPP [Alfred Musa CONTEH, interim chairman]; Coalition for Progress Party or CPP [Jeridine WILLIAM-SARHO, interim leader]; Democratic Center Party or DCP [Adu Aiah KOROMA]; Democratic Labor Party or DLP [George E. L. PALMER]; Democratic Party or DP [Henry BALO, acting chairman]; National Alliance Democratic Party or NADP [Mohamed Yahya SILLAH, chairman]; National Democratic Alliance or NDA [Amadu M. B. JALLOH]; National People's Party or NPP [Andrew TURAY]; National Republican Party or NRP [Stephen Sahr MAMBU]; National Unity Movement or NUM [Sam LEIGH, interim chairman]; National Unity Party or NUP [John BENJAMINE, interim leader]; Peace and Liberation Party or PLP [Darlington MORRISON, interim chairman]; People's Democratic Alliance or PDA [Cpl. (Ret.) Abdul Rahman KAMARA, interim chairman]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Osman KAMARA]; People's National Convention or PNC [Edward John KARGBO]; People's Progressive Party or PPP [Abass Chernok BUNDU, chairman]; Revolutionary United Front Party or RUFP [Foday Saybana SANKOH, chairman]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Andrew Victor LUNGAY]; Sierra Leone People's Party or SLPP [Ahmad Tejan KABBAH, chairman]; United National People's Party or UNPP [John KAREFA-SMART in exile, Raymond KAMARA, acting leader]; Young People's Party or YPP [Cornelius DEVEAUS, interim chairman]


Muslim 60%, indigenous beliefs 30%, Christian 10%


Over six centuries ago, tribes settled in the virgin forest, protected by the sea on one side and the mountains on the other.

In 1495, on the site of what is nowFreetown, the Portuguese set up a trading post for gold, spices, ivory and slaves. In the seventeenth century the British began to take an interest in Sierra Leone. In 1772 slavery was abolished inEngland, and a naval base was established atFreetown to intercept slave ships. 40,000 slaves were saved and returned to Freetown.

In the early days of the colony, racial equality had prevailed. Later, however, key administrative posts were held by whites.

The extraction of minerals began a few years after the First World War. In 1926 16,000 people were employed in the mining industry. The workers were ill-paid and often badly treated.

During the Second World War Freetown was an important Allied base. 7,000 Sierra Leoneans volunteered for service and fought alongside the British. After the war, a new Constitution stipulated that there must be a majority of natives in the Legislative and Executive Councils.

On26th April 1961Sierra Leone became an independent nation within the Commonwealth. There were two opposing parties: the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) and the All Peoples Congress (APC). A keenly contested general election brought Siaka Stevens and the APC to power.

In 1971 Sierra Leone became a Republic, with Stevens as President for a five-year term. He was re- elected by Parliament in 1976. In 1978, following a referendum, Sierra Leone became a one-party State- Siaka Steven's APC party. In July 1980 the 17th summit meeting of Member States of the Organization of African Unity (OAU, representing 50 countries) was held inFreetown, presided by Dr. Stevens.

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