Sierra Leone At A Glance
Sierra Leone is a tropical country situated on the coast of West Africa. It is home to one of the world’s largest natural deep-water ports, with direct shipping routes between Brazil, Rotterdam, and Hamburg.
The geography of Sierra Leone is varied with a 70-mile coastal belt of low-lying land that meets a mountain plateau and rich timber forest regions near the eastern frontier. The western area of Sierra Leone is where Freetown, the capital and commercial center of Sierra Leone, is located. Sierra Leone is home to a rich variety of biodiversity from vegetation to wildlife and marine, beautiful beaches, and an archipelago of idyllic islands. Sierra Leone borders Guinea-Conakry to the north and east, and Liberia to the south.
The history of the country’s name dates back to 1462 when a Portuguese ship captain, Pedro da Sintra, sailed southwards down the coast of West Africa and saw the long range of mountains of what is now the Freetown peninsula, which he called Sierra Lyoa, meaning “Lion Mountains”. In the sixteenth century, an English sailor changed the name to Sierra Liona; which later became Sierra Leone. Several centuries later, the British came and set up a “crown colony” in Freetown and established indirect rule through traditional rulers in the hinterland called the “protectorate” until 1961 when the country gained independence.
Population and Ethnic Groups
Sierra Leone’s population is estimated at 7,548,702 people with Freetown (capital) accounting for approximately 1.2 million. There are fifteen (15) indigenous ethnolinguistic groupings with the Mendes and Temnes as the major tribes found in the South East and North West respectively.
The country has a tropical climate. From October to March, during the period of low sun, the weather is generally dry with many fine, hot, sunny days. There are principally two seasons: the rainy season from May to October, and the dry season for the other months of the year. Annual rainfall is high, averaging about 3,000 mm, with July and August being the wettest months. Temperatures are consistently high around the year.
Sierra Leone is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth, African Union, ECOWAS, African Development Bank (AfDB), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Along with Guinea and Liberia, Sierra Leone formed the Mano River Union (MRU)—designed to implement development projects and promote regional economic integration between the three nations.
|Market and Trade Agreement||Size of Market|
|African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)||1.3 Billion|
|Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)||220 Million|
|EU Cotonou Agreement (Everything But Arms - EBA)||446 Million|
|U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)||310 Million|