Republic of Sierra Leone

CAPITAL : Freetown

FLAG : The national flag is a tricolor of green, white, and blue horizontal stripes.

ANTHEM : Begins "High we exalt thee, realm of the free, Great is the love we have for thee."

MONETARY UNIT : The leone (L E ) is a paper currency of 100 cents. There are coins of 1 / 2 , 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 leones. L E 1 = $0.000444 (or $1 = L E 2,250) as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is employed.

HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Independence Day, 27 April; Bank Holiday, August; Christmas, 24–25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Whitmonday, 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', and Milad an-Nabi.



English is the official language; however, it is used regularly only by the literate minority. The Mende and Temne languages are widely spoken in the south and north, respectively. Krio, the mother tongue of the Creoles, derived largely from English, with words added from various West African languages, is the lingua franca and a first language for about 10% of the population but is understood by 95%.


In 2002, the Sierra Leone armed services had about 13,000–14,000 active members. This was a new, UK-trained army formed after the dismantling of various factions. There were about 200 naval personnel, with five patrol craft. The UN placed 17,017 troops from 32 countries in Sierra Leone, along with 258 observers. Sierra Leone had defense expenditures of $10.3 million in 2001, or 1.5% of GDP.


Estimates of livestock in 2001 were 400,000 head of cattle, 370,000 sheep, 220,000 goats, and 55,000 hogs. Large numbers of Ndama cattle are kept, mainly by nomads in the savanna area of the northeast. Poultry farmers had an estimated seven million chickens in 2001. Total meat production in 2001 was 22,000 tons, 45% of it poultry.


The National Insurance Co. is government owned. All insurance companies in Sierra Leone are supervised by the Ministry of Finance.


All import licensing requirements were eliminated in 1989 and all other restrictions, including those on cigarettes, ended in early 1992. Imports from other Manu River Union (MRU) members enter duty-free. Most duties for non-MRU imports average 20% but range from 0 to 100% on luxury goods. There is an additional 12.5% sales tax levied on all imports.


Sierra Leone has no territories or colonies.


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White, E. Frances. Sierra Leone's Settler Women Traders: Women on the Afro-European Frontier. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1987.

Wyse, Akintola J. G. H.C. Bankole-Bright and Politics in Colonial Sierra Leone, 1919–1958. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

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