Sierra Leone - At a glance


Sierra Leone at a glance

Location North Atlantic coast of west Africa

Neighbouring countries Guinea; Liberia

Size 71,740km²

Climate Tropical, with hot, humid, rainy season May–December and dry season December–April

Political status Republic with democratically elected president and unicameral parliament. Peaceful elections held 2007 and 2012.

Population 7 million (2016 estimate)

Life expectancy 58.2 years

Capital Freetown (1.07 million, 2015 estimate)

Other main towns Bo, Kenema, Makeni

Economy Agriculture (rice, palm, cocoa, coffee, sugarcane, rubber), fishing, trade, transport, communications, mining (rutile, diamonds, bauxite, iron ore, gold)

GDP US$10.64 billion 

Languages English is the official language. Also Krio, Mende, Temne and several other local languages.

Religion Muslim (c60%), Christian (c30%), animist (c10%)

Currency Leone (abbreviated to Le) (for up-to-date rates, go to www.xe.com)

National airport Lungi International Airport

International telephone code +232

Time zone GMT

Electrical voltage 220–240V AC; 50Hz in Freetown

Weights and measures Metric

Flag Horizontal tricolour of (from top) green, white and blue

National anthem High We Exalt Thee

National motto Unity, Freedom and Justice

Public holidays 1 January; Maulid-un-Nabi; Good Friday; Easter Monday; 27 April; 1 May; 15 August; Eid al-Fitr; 1 November, Eid al-Adha; 25 December; 26 December

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Sierra Leone articles

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The road to ruin

Abandoned cities, crumbling stelaes, slave trade relicts – Africa really does have some remarkable ruins. 

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Bunce Island

Bunce Island is arguably the single most important former slave site for African Americans. Katrina Manson and James Knight explain why.

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Hunting for witches

With a fearsome reputation and spellbinding show, the special powers of the Shenge will leave you mesmerised.

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