About Sierra Leone

Geography and Natural resources

  • 71,740 square kilometers – the size is comparable to Ireland
  • 4 provincial towns; Capital city Freetown 1,5 Million inhabitants, Bo- 200,000 inhabitants, Kenema-200,000 inhabitants and Makeni-100,000 inhabitants
  • Neighboring countries: Guinea and Liberia; Atlantic coast is 400km
  • Climate: Tropical wet (rainy season from May to September; December and January Harmattan (Sahara wind))
  • Rich in natural resources: Bauxite, Lignite, iron ore, gold, diamonds, rutile and marine resources

Population

  • 5.8 million inhabitants; 2.3% growth; 38% of the population is younger than 15 years old; Life expectancy is 43 years
  • Dominant ethnic groups: Temne and Mende (2/3) of the country’s population
  • Official Language: English and local languages of which Krio is dominant
  • Religion: 60% Muslims, 10-20 % Christians- Other traditional religion present

Form of Government

  • Republic in the Commonwealth of Nations, parliament with 124 members elected every 5 years
  • Direct elections of the head of state
  • Legislation based on the British Common law
  • Government and Parliament
  • Since 2007, Ernest Bai Koroma became the president of the country with also winning the 2012 election
  • All Peoples Congress (APC) has a majority in the parliament with 59 out of 112 seats and Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) won 43 seats

History

  • In 1462, A Portuguese sailor Pedro de Sintra discovered the Sierra Leone mountains on the peninsula and named it Serra Lyoa meaning lion mountain.
  • 1808, the peninsula is crowned a British Colony; 1896, the whole country was proclaimed a British Protectorate on the Berlin Congo conference
  • Sierra Leone gained independence in 1961 with Sir Milton Margai as the 1st prime minister.
  • After two military coups in 1967 and 1968, the country was declared a republic in 1971
  • Instability was fueled by rampant corruption, high unemployment rate and marginalization of the youths. This led to dissatisfaction from the urban and rural communities that led to the civil war. The war was fueled by proceeds from diamonds with Charles Taylor as the main financier.
  • Civil war started in 1991 with massive brutality against civilians.
  • The war accounts for 50,000 deaths and 2 million refugees.
  • In 1999 a United Nations backed British SWAT military team intervened to support Government forces.
  • Within this period, the United Nations recorded the highest expenses on peacebuilding and peacekeeping.
  • The war ended in 2002
  • United Nations continued its monitoring of the situation and developing the country.
  • Other multilateral international donor organizations came to help; among which are; World Bank, Africa Development Bank, European Union, UNICEF etc.

Economy

  • GDP 2013: $ 4.1 billion, 16.32% more than precedent year.
  • Per capita income in 2013: $ 785; more than 50% unemployment- Agriculture is subsistence- rice, millet , cassava , fishing as the main source produce for home consumption.
  • 51% agriculture, 22% industry, 27% services.
  • Import about $ 965 million annually (machines, oil, transport, food); Export about $ 470 million (coffee, cocoa, palm kernels)
  • Great Britain and USA have their own chamber of commerce, China investment is huge; Germany has very little impact in the economy.
  • In foreign policy, the country has a close relation with UK, USA and China.

Infrastructure

  • Roads: 11,555km, no public railway network, waterways navigable, 8 airports
  • Culture, Media, Education
  • Fourah Bay College, founded in 1827, is the oldest University (Athens of West Africa); University of Makeni and Njala University.
  • 2 TV stations, 58 newspapers, 21 radio stations (72% of population listen daily).
  • Telecommunication: 18,000 landlines, 4,8 mobile phones, internet connections 85,600.

Social Situation

  • Health: HIV 2-5%, 28% of children die before their 5 birthday (UNICEF). 2% of women die during pregnancy or childbirth; Malaria + yellow fever are the most common diseases; insufficient health service provision.
  • Water: 11 percent of the population access water through sewage system; Water access of rural population is 32% whilst urban population is 83%.
  • Education: Illiteracy rate is 65%; 30% of school age children attend school with over 1000 schools destroyed during the war.
  • Human Development Index 2011: Position 183 out of 187
  • Main Problems: Poverty, food shortage, lack of and inadequate social and physical infrastructural facilities.

Prospects

  • Construction and development of the economy; Develop the present infrastructure in the country; Use the natural resources for sustainable development.
  • Possible areas of development: Tourism, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mining
  • Attracting international investment to finance infrastructural projects – “smart” industrial policies for the creation of local employment and knowledge (technology transfer).
  • Education (e.g. South Korea)
  • Retrieve human capital
  • “Quasi reorganization” of the state (tax, civil administration, trainings etc.)

Risks

  • Political risks (neighboring countries, regional- ethnic, corruption etc.)
  • Economic, social and cultural risks (youth unemployment 40%, potential violence from young fighters, weak judiciary and poor rule of law, poverty and food insecurity, patronage and abuse of power, equality for women.
  • Lack of human capital, lack of money and lack of experience.

Für Sierra Leone e. V., www.fuersierraleone.deSchlossstr. 14b, 82031 Grünwald, Telefon +49 89 64 25 61 23

Vorstand: Dr. Dietmar Scheiter, Patricia Paulus, Dr. Petra Wibbe

Spendenkonto: Kreissparkasse München-Starnberg,

IBAN DE41 7025 0150 0027 5359 62, BIC: BYLADEM1KMS

Vereinsreg. Nr. 205169 AG München; Steuernummer: 143/215/81502