Sierra Leone Military, Economy and Transportation

Sierra Leone Military, Economy and Transportation


Economy overview: Sierra Leone is an exceptionally poor African country with horrendous income inequality. Mineral, agricultural and fish resources are very significant, but the economic and social infrastructure of the country is not well developed; serious civil unrest continues to hamper economic growth. Approximately two-thirds of the working population is engaged in agriculture. The industry is represented mainly by light industry enterprises operating for the local market, and enterprises for the primary processing of raw materials. The mining of bauxite and rutile was stopped due to the civil war. The main source of hard currency is the extraction and export of diamonds, most of which are exported from the country illegally. The renewed civil war in 1999 led to another significant drop in GDP, although in 2000 GDP has partially recovered. The fate of the economy depends on the achievement of domestic peace and on whether large foreign aid continues to be provided. See to know more about Sierra Leone in 2004.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $2.7 billion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: 4.2% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: PPP – $510 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 43%; industry: 26%; services: 31% (1999).
Proportion of population below the poverty line: 68% (1989 est.).
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: per 10% of the poorest families: 0.5%; top 10% of families: 43.6%
Consumer price inflation: 15% (2000 est.).
Work force: 1.369 million people (est. 1981); note: only about 65,000 people. are employed (1985).
Employment structure: no data.
Unemployment rate: no data.
Budget: revenues: $96 million; expenditures: $351 million, including capital expenditures – NA (2000 est.).
Spheres of economy: diamond mining; small-scale production of beverages, textiles, cigarettes and footwear; oil refining.
Growth in industrial production: no data available.
Electricity generation: 240 million kWh (1999).
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 100%; hydropower: 0%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 223.2 million kWh (1999)
Electricity export: 0 kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 0 kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, livestock, sheep, pigs; fish.
Exports: $65 million (free on board, 2000 est.)
Exports: diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish.
Export partners: Belgium 38%, US 6%, Italy 4%, UK 4% (1999).
Imports: $145 million (free on board, 2000 est.)
Import items: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, various fuels and lubricants, chemicals.
Import partners: UK 34%, US 8%, Italy 7%, Nigeria 5% (1999).
External debt: $1.28 billion (1999) Economic aid recipient: $203.7 million (1995)
Donor of economic aid:
Currency: leon.
Currency code: SLL.
Exchange rate: SLL/USD – 1,653.39 (January 2001), 2,092.13 (2000), 1,804.20 (1999), 1,563.62 (1998), 981.48 (1997), 920.73 (1996).
Fiscal year: July 1-June 30.


Telecommunications Telephone lines: 17,000 (1997).
Mobile Cell Phones: 650 (1999).
Telephone system: minimal telephone and telegraph service; domestic: the national trunked microwave radio relay system has become unusable due to hostilities in the country; there is currently a connection from Freetown to the cities of Bo and Kenema (April 2001); international: satellite earth stations – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean).
Broadcast stations: AM – 1, FM -9, shortwave – 1 (1999).
Radio receivers: 1.12 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 2 (1999).
TVs: 53,000 (1997).
Internet country code: sl
Internet Service Providers: 1 (2000).
Number of users: 2,000 (2000).


Transportation Railways: total length: 84 km (limited use as the mine served by the road was closed due to the war); narrow gauge: 84 km (1.067 m gauge).
Roads: total length: 11,300 km; coated: 904 km; unpaved: 10,396 km (1997)
Waterways: 800 km; 600 km are navigable all year round.
Ports and harbors: Bonte, Ashes, Freetown.
Merchant fleet: total: 1 ship (displacement 1,000 tons or more) with a total displacement of 2,057 gross register tons / 3,498 long tons of gross tonnage; ships of different types: cargo ship – 1 (2000 est.).
Airports: 11 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 1; over 3,047 m: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 10; from 914 to 1523 m:7; less than 914 m: 3 (2000 est.). Helipads: 1 (2000 est.).

Armed forces

Branches of the Armed Forces: Army
Age of Conscription:
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 1,161,790 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: males aged 15 to 49: 563,631 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year:
Military spending in dollar terms: $46 million (FY96-97).
Military spending as part of GDP: 2% (FY96-97)

International Issues

International issues International disputes: The civil war has led to a massive influx of refugees into neighboring Guinea and Liberia.

Sierra Leone Military