Sierra Leone

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Sierra Leone Facts & Figures

Sierra Leone is located on the western coast of West Africa, just north of the equator at 8 ‘30” N latitude.  It is slightly smaller than state of South Carolina at  71, 740 sq km.  It’s tropical climate has two distinct seasons: hot, humid, summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April).  Rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa.

Long known for its diamonds, Sierra Leone is rich in other minerals. Iron ore mining is currently expanding and becoming a major export.  Titanium ore, bauxite, gold, and chromite are also found.

  • Languages: English is official language, but, regular use limited to literate minority; Krio, an English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed slaves who were settled in the Freetown area is a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%
  • Population: 5,612,685 (July 2013 est.)
  • Population below 24 years of age:  60%
  • Population living in rural areas:  60%
  • Religions: Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%
  • Life expectancy at birth: 57 years
  • Infant mortality rate is 74.95 of 1000 live births – 11th highest of 224 countries worldwide
  • Rural population with access to:
    •  Improved drinking water sources:  35%
    •  Improved sanitation facilities:  6%
  • Literacy rate (age 15 and over can read and write English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic):   35%
  • GDP per capita:  $1400 –  2012 est. (204th out of 229 countries worldwide)
  • Electricity: 120 million kWH; only six non-island nations worldwide have less
  • Cell phones: 2,137,000 (2011 est.); 139th out of 216 countries worldwide

From CIA World Factbook, Sierra Leone (last updated 2013)

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