Sierra Leone is one of the few countries in Africa with a fully-functioning multiparty democracy. Since 2002, free elections have been held every five years; in 2007, and again in 2017, the governing party lost and handed over power peacefully to the main opposition party, with elections deemed to be free, fair and credible by international observers. Both leading parties are fully committed to democracy and a pro-business environment. Sierra Leone has been ranked as the most improved country in Africa in both the Mo Ibrahim Africa Governance Index and the World Bank's global Governence Indicators.

Sierra Leone is estimated to have a total forest cover of approximately 2.75 million hectares (c.38% of the land area) and a historical deforestation rate in excess of 3% per annum. Until 2002, Sierra Leone lacked a forest management system due to civil war, however on paper there are now 55 protected areas covering approximately 4.5% of Sierra Leone.

The country has 2,090 known species of higher plants, 147 mammals, 626 birds, 67 reptiles, 35 amphibians, and 99 fish species. While the country’s political will to protect and conserve its remaining forest is strong, the government has very scarce resources with which to do so. Financial investment into the private plantation forestry sector is vital for the future supply of sustainable timber.

  • Sierra Leone is one of few countries in Africa with a fully-functioning multiparty democracy. Since 2002, free elections have been held every 5 years; in 2007, the governing party lost and handed over power peacefully to the current administration under President Ernest Bai Koroma. Both leading parties are fully committed to democracy and a probusiness environment. Sierra Leone has been ranked as the most improved country in Africa in both the Mo Ibrahim Africa Governance Index and the World Bank’s global Governance Indicators
  • The World Bank ranks Sierra Leone #2 in Africa and #29 worldwide for Investor Protection
  • Sierra Leone is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) providing access to markets in the 15 member countries with a combined population of 220 million people
  • Significant fiscal incentives to investors in plantation forestry
  • Sierra Leone is free of any major ethnic, religious, ideological or other disputes. Crime rates are extremely low; Freetown is one of the safest capital city in Africa, and the police force is one of few that does not carry guns
  • Strong economic performance with continued GDP growth, steadily declining inflation, and relatively stable exchange rates
  • President Julius Maada Bio, elected in the 2017 general election, has led his government in a new direction since election, focusing on the creation of an enabling environment for foreign investment, making positive progress in tackling corruption and aiming to further develop value chains within the country, to reduce reliance on exports of raw materials and growing the manufacturing sector.
Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone in brief

Total Area 71,740 sq km
Forestry Area 27,540 sq km
Population (2017) 7.6 million
Official Language English

Economic Indicators

GDP Growth 2018 (forecast): 5.1%
GDP Growth 2017: 4.3%
GDP Growth 2016: 6.3%
GDP per capita (2017, PPP): US$1,526
GDP composition by sector (2016)
Agriculture: 51.5%
Industry: 14.9%
Services: 33.6%
Inflation (2017) c.16%