||High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free
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||71,740 km2, 27,699 sq mi
||~ 7 million
Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. The country has a tropical climate. The diverse
environment ranges from savannah
The capital of the country is Freetown. With a population of just over 1 million, it is at the same time the largest city. Freetown is the economic, financial, and cultural centre of Sierra Leone. Other major cities are Bo, Kenema, Koidu Town and Makeni.
Society and culture
The 2009 estimate of Sierra Leone's population is 6.4 million. At the end of 2007, Sierra Leone had a population of 8,700 refugees
. Nearly all of the refugees were Liberian. There are officially fourteen ethnic groups in the country. The two largest and most dominant groups are the Mende and Temne. Each group comprises 30% of the population. The life expectancy
of Sierra Leoneans is 41 years.
English is the official language. It is spoken in schools, government administration, and is used by the media. Three other languages are present: Mende, Temne and Krio. Mende is mostly spoken in the south, Temne in the north. Krio is the principal spoken language of about 10% of the population but is understood by 95%.
The religious diversity of Sierra Leone has seldom
led to conflict. Followers of Islam are estimated to make up 60% of the population. About 30% of the population are Christians. About 10% follow only African indigenous
religion. Only small numbers of people have other faiths like Bahāʾī, Hinduism, and Judaism.
Government and politics
Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic. It has a directly elected president and a unicameral
legislature. The government comprises the Legislature
(the Parliament), the Executive
(the President and members of his cabinet) and the Judiciary
. The president is the head of state and the head of government. He is also the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces
and the Police. The current president of Sierra Leone is Ernest Bai Koroma.
Rich in minerals, Sierra Leone relies on
mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. The country is among the top 10 diamond producing nations in the world. Still, it has historically struggled
to manage their export. About two-thirds of the population engages in agriculture. There is high unemployment, especially among the youth. By the 1990s economic activity was declining
. Over the next decade
much of the economy was destroyed in the country’s civil war. Since 2002, the economy of Sierra Leone has been recovering