Overview: Sierra Leone

6,163,195 (July 2017 est.)

Urban: 42.1% of total Population (2018)
Rate of urbanization: 3.12% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Population growth: 2.38% (2017 est.)

Ethnic groups
Temne 35.5%, Mende 33.2%, Limba 6.4%, Kono 4.4%, Fullah 3.4%, Loko 2.9%, Koranko 2.8%, Sherbro 2.6%, Mandingo 2.4%, Creole 1.2%

English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)

Muslim 78.6%, Christian 20.8%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.2% (2013 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.82% (male 1,286,681/female 1,290,924); 15-24 years: 18.56% (male 556,478/female 587,454); 25-54 years: 32.16% (male 949,264/female 1,032,783); 55-64 years: 3.7% (male 106,706/female 121,111); 65 years and over: 3.76% (male 96,285/female 135,509) (2017 est.)

Dependency: Total dependency ratio: 82.6; youth dependency ratio: 78; elderly dependency ratio: 4.6; and potential support ratio: 21.9 (2015 est.)

Refugees and internally displaced persons: None

Area: Total: 71,740 sq km; land: 71,760 sq km; water: 120 sq km

Irrigated land: 300 sq km (2012)

Physicians density
0.02 physicians/1,000 Population

Health expenditure: 11.1% of GDP (2014)

Drinking water stats
Improved: Urban: 84.9% of population; Rural: 47.8% of population; and Total: 62.6% of population

Unimproved: Urban: 15.1% of population; Rural: 52.2% of population; and Total: 37.4% of Population (2015 est.)

Education expenditure: 2.9% of GDP (2016)

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic; and total population: 48.1%; Male: 58.7%; and female: 37.7% (2015 est.)

Unemployment youth ages: Total: 9.4%; Male: 14.8; and female: 6.1% (2014 est.)

Government type
Presidential Republic

Administrative divisions
4 provinces and 1 area*; Eastern, Northern, North Western, Southern, Western)

Independence Day
27 April 1961 (from the UK

History: several previous; latest effective 1 October 1991

Amendments: passage of amendments requires at least two-thirds majority vote of Parliament in two successive readings and assent by the president of the republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of English common law and customary law

Citizenship by birth: no
Citizenship by descent only: at least one parent or grandparent must be a citizen of Sierra Leone
Dual citizenship recognized: yes
Residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Legislative branch
Description: unicameral Parliament (144 seats; 132 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 12 seats filled in separate elections by non-partisan members of Parliament called “paramount chiefs;” members serve 5-year terms

Elections: last held on 7 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023)

Election results: percent of vote by party – N/A; seats by party – APC 68, SLPP 49, C4C 8, other 7

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Julius Maada BIO (since 4 April 2018); Vice President Mohamed Juldeh JALLOH (since 4 April 2018)

Head of government: President Julius Maada BIO (since 4 April 2018); Vice President Mohamed Juldeh JALLOH (since 4 April 2018)

Cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president, approved by Parliament

Elections/appointments: election last held on 4 April 2018 (next to be in March 2023)

Election results: percent of vote – Julius Maada BIO (SLPP) 51.8%, Samura KAMARA (APC) 48.2%

Judiciary Branch
Highest court(s): Superior Court of Judicature (consists of the Supreme Court – at the apex – with the chief justice and 4 other judges, the Court of Appeal with the chief justice and 7 other judges, and the High Court of Justice with the chief justice and 9 other judges

Judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice and other judges of the Judicature appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (a 7-member independent body of judges, presidential appointees, and the Commission chairman

Subordinate courts: magistrates’ courts; District Appeals Court; local courts

Exports commodities
iron ore, diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish

Exports partners
Cote dIvoire 37.7%, Belgium 20.5%, US 15.7%, China 10.2%, Netherlands 6.1% (2017)

Imports commodities
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals

Imports partners
China 11.5%, US 9.2%, Belgium 8.8%, UAE 7.7%, India 7.4%, Turkey 5.2%, Senegal 5.1%, Netherlands 4.3% (2017)

Electricity access:
Population without electricity: 5,800,000;
Electrification – total population: 5%;
Electrification – urban areas: 11%; and
Electrification – rural areas: 1% (2013)

Internet users: Total: 708,615; and percent of population: 11.8% (July 2016 est.)

Source: CIA World Factbook

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