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Sierra Leone Economy 1999

    Economy—overview: Sierra Leone has substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources. However, the economic and social infrastructure is not well developed, and serious social disorders continue to hamper economic development. The period of AFRC/RUF junta rule (May 1997-February 1998) led to UN sanctions and 20% drop in GDP in 1997. The continued fighting at yearend 1997 set back what small progress had been made by the KABBAH government in recovering from the junta period and reestablishing a viable economy. About two-thirds of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture. Manufacturing consists mainly of the processing of raw materials and of light manufacturing for the domestic market. Bauxite and rutile mines have been shut down by civil strife. The major source of hard currency is found in the mining of diamonds, the large majority of which are smuggled out of the country. The fate of the economy in 1999 depends on the outcome of negotiations to end the civil strife.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$2.7 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 0.7% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$530 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 52%
    industry: 16%
    services: 32% (1996)

    Population below poverty line: 68% (1989 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 0.5%
    highest 10%: 43.6% (1989)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 37.4% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 1.369 million (1981 est.)
    note: only about 65,000 wage earners (1985)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 65%, industry 19%, services 16% (1981 est.)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    revenues: $96 million
    expenditures: $150 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

    Industries: mining (diamonds); small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 230 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 230 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish

    Exports: $41 million (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish

    Exports—partners: Belgium 49%, Spain 10%, US 8%, UK 3% (1997)

    Imports: $166 million (f.o.b., 1998)

    Imports—commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants

    Imports—partners: UK 16%, US 9%, Cote d'Ivoire 8%, Belgium-Luxembourg 3% (1997)

    Debt—external: $1.15 billion (1998)

    Economic aid—recipient: $203.7 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 leone (Le) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: leones (Le) per US$1—1,630.5 (January 1999), 1,597.2 (1998), 981.48 (1997), 920.73 (1996), 755.22 (1995), 586.74 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)