Sierra Leone was a British colony to which freed slaves returned in the late 1700's. They formed a social class which hardly mixed with the indigenous people.
After Independence in 1961 government was corrupt and controlled the trade in diamonds and the profits. Little of the profit was shared out to the rest of the population.
Since 1991 there has been a civil war between the government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), who were dissatisfied with the government. It has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and over 2 million people being left homeless, many fleeing to neighboring countries. The UN became involved to try and bring peace, but progress has been slow. Poverty, war and violence has become such a big problem in Sierra Leone that living there is very hard and hopeless.
In July 1999 all parties agreed to a cease-fire. But still less than a quarter of the militants have surrendered and few of the 10,000 children who were abducted during the war have been released.
Sierra Leone is still a very dangerous place to live.
Population growth rate2.94%
ReligionsMuslim 60% Indigenous beliefs 30% Christian 10%
LanguagesEnglish, Mende, Temne, Krio
Infant mortality rate146.86 deaths/1000 live births
Life expectancy at birth37.4 years
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate7%
People living with HIV/AIDS170,000
total population: 31.4%
Population under poverty line68%
GNP Per Capita
Primary and Secondary Gross Enrolment Ratio (per 100, 1990-99)Female 29
GDP per sectorAgriculture 49%
Child Malnutrition (% of children under 5)27%
Population with access to safe water 34%
Population per doctor20,000
Population with access to sanitization11%
The major exports are Diamonds, Rutile, Cocoa, Coffee and Fish. The main industries are Agriculture and Diamonds, although much of the potential...