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Sierra Leone



Atlas Sierra Leone

Country (long form)
Republic of Sierra Leone
Capital
Freetown
Total Area
27,698.97 sq mi
71,740.00 sq km
Population
5,232,624 (July 2000 est.)
Estimated Population in 2050
15,667,452
Languages
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%)
Literacy
31.4% total, 45.4% male, 18.2% female (1995 est.)
Religions
Muslim 60%, indigenous beliefs 30%, Christian 10%
Life Expectancy
42.37 male, 48.21 female (2000 est.)
Government Type
constitutional democracy
Currency
1 leone (Le) = 100 cents
GDP (per capita)
$500 (1999 est.)
Labor Force (by occupation)
agriculture N/A%, industry N/A%, services N/A%
Industry
mining (diamonds); small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining
Agriculture
rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Arable Land
7%
Exports
diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
Imports
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals
Natural Resources
diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
Current Environmental Issues
rapid population growth pressuring the environment; overharvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion; civil war depleting natural resources; overfishing
Telephones (main lines in use)
17,000 (1995)
Telephones (mobile cellular)
N/A
Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
N/A

Although on the rapid return to stability, Sierra Leone remains a country emerging from a brutal 10-year conflict and decades of corruption and political upheaval. Drug and gem smuggling remain a huge problem and large numbers of refugees have entered the country from Liberia in the wake of that country's ongoing civil strife, and the regions bordering Liberia are still insecure and unsafe for travel.