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Sierra Leone Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewSierra Leone is extremely poor and nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture. The country possesses substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources, but it is still recovering from a civil war that destroyed most institutions before ending in the early 2000s.

In recent years, economic growth has been driven by mining - particularly iron ore. The country’s principal exports are iron ore, diamonds, and rutile, and the economy is vulnerable to fluctuations in international prices. Until 2014, the government had relied on external assistance to support its budget, but it was gradually becoming more independent. The Ebola outbreak of 2014 and 2015, combined with falling global commodities prices, caused a significant contraction of economic activity in all areas. While the World Health Organization declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone in November 2015, low commodity prices in 2015-2016 contributed to the country’s biggest fiscal shortfall since 2001. In 2017, increased iron ore exports, together with the end of the Ebola epidemic, supported a resumption of economic growth.

Continued economic growth will depend on rising commodities prices and increased efforts to diversify the sources of growth. Non-mining activities will remain constrained by inadequate infrastructure, such as power and roads, even though power sector projects may provide some additional electricity capacity in the near term. Pervasive corruption and undeveloped human capital will continue to deter foreign investors. Sustained international donor support in the near future will partially offset these fiscal constraints.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$11.75 billion (2017 est.)
$11.08 billion (2016 est.)
$10.45 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$3.897 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate6% (2017 est.)
6.1% (2016 est.)
-20.5% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,800 (2017 est.)
$1,700 (2016 est.)
$1,700 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving-1.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
-9.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
-5.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 102.1%
government consumption: 10.7%
investment in fixed capital: 16.8%
investment in inventories: 0.4%
exports of goods and services: 26.7%
imports of goods and services: -56.7% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 60.7%
industry: 6.5%
services: 32.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line70.2% (2004 est.)
Labor force2.972 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 61.1%
industry: 5.5%
services: 33.4% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate9.1% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 33.6% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index34 (2011)
62.9 (1989)
Budgetrevenues: $684.3 million
expenditures: $962.6 million (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues17.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-7.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt57.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
54.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)16.9% (2017 est.)
11.5% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rateNA%
Commercial bank prime lending rate18.6% (31 December 2017 est.)
18% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$378.7 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$381.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$910.1 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$847.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$567.7 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$527.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Agriculture - productsrice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Industriesdiamond mining; iron ore, rutile and bauxite mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, footwear)
Industrial production growth rate15.5% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$822 million (2017 est.)
-$733 million (2016 est.)
Exports$836.8 million (2017 est.)
$670 million (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesiron ore, diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
Exports - partnersCote dIvoire 31.7%, US 28.3%, Belgium 17.7%, China 6.6% (2016)
Imports$1.564 billion (2017 est.)
$1.316 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfoodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals
Imports - partnersChina 12.5%, US 9.7%, India 7.8%, UAE 7.2%, Senegal 6.2%, Belgium 5.5%, Turkey 5.5%, UK 4.7% (2016)
Debt - external$1.707 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.503 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$2.254 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.832 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$9.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$6.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
Exchange ratesleones (SLL) per US dollar -
7,396.3 (2017 est.)
6,289.9 (2016 est.)
6,289.9 (2015 est.)
5,080.8 (2014 est.)
4,524.2 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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