Sierra Leone gained independence from Britain in 1961. Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown was a destination for repatriated slaves. Sierra Leone's long running civil war (1991 to 2002) killed an estimated 50,000 and displaced more than two million people out of a total population of six million.
At the end of 1999, the United Nations deployed the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to implement the Lomé Peace Accord which was intended to end the civil war. UNAMSIL completed its mandate in December 2005.
The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, has developed as a guarantor of the country's stability; the armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 and 2012 national elections. In March 2014, the closure of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone marked the end of more than 15 years of peacekeeping and political operations in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone became a leading example of a peacekeeping success and a key contributor to other peace keeping missions.
The government's stated priorities include furthering development - creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.
Sierra Leone's major mineral exports are diamonds, titanium, bauxite and gold and it has large deposits of rutile. Despite the abundance of its natural resources, the majority of the population live below the poverty line.
Australia is represented in Sierra Leone through our High Commission in Accra, Ghana.
Economic and trade information
- Country/Economic Fact Sheet [PDF]
This document may not meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. If you require a fully accessible copy of this document, please contact StatsSection@dfat.gov.au
- Before you travel, visit smartraveller.gov.au
- Australian Passports Office
- Visa information