Geographic and Governmental Profile of Sierra Leone

Background
Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about a third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country's stability. The armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 presidential election but still look to the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) - a civilian UN mission - to support efforts to consolidate peace. The new government's priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.
Location
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia
Geographic coordinates
8 30 N, 11 30 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
71,740 sq km
rank:
119
land:
71,620 sq km
water:
120 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries
total:
958 km
border countries:
Guinea 652 km, Liberia 306 km
Coastline
402 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm
Climate
tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)
Terrain
coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m
Natural resources
diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
Land use
arable land:
7.95%
permanent crops:
1.05%
other:
91% (2005)
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Irrigated land
300 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
160 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.38 cu km/yr (5%/3%/92%)
per capita:
69 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms
Environment - current issues
rapid population growth pressuring the environment; overharvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion; civil war depleted natural resources; overfishing
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
Environmental Modification
Geography - note
rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Sierra Leone
conventional short form:
Sierra Leone
local long form:
Republic of Sierra Leone
local short form:
Sierra Leone
Government type
constitutional democracy
Capital
name:
Freetown
geographic coordinates:
8 29 N, 13 14 W
time difference:
UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
3 provinces and 1 area*; Eastern, Northern, Southern, Western*
Independence
27 April 1961 (from the UK)
Constitution
1 October 1991; amended several times
Legal system
mixed legal system of English common law and customary law
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007)
cabinet:
Ministers of State appointed by the president with the approval of the House of Representatives; the cabinet is responsible to the president
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 August 2007 and 8 September 2007 (next to be held on 17 November 2012)
election results:
second round results; percent of vote - Ernest Bai KOROMA 54.6%, Solomon BEREWA 45.4%
Legislative branch
unicameral Parliament (124 seats; 112 members elected by popular vote, 12 filled by paramount chiefs elected in separate elections; members to serve five-year terms)
elections:
last held on 11 August 2007 (next to be held on 17 November 2012)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 59, SLPP 43, PMDC 10
Judicial branch
Supreme Court; Appeals Court; High Court
Political parties and leaders
All People's Congress or APC [Ernest Bai KOROMA]; Peace and Liberation Party or PLP [Darlington MORRISON]; People's Movement for Democratic Change or PMDC [Charles MARGAI]; Sierra Leone People's Party or SLPP [Julius Maada BIO]; numerous others
Political pressure groups and leaders
other:
student unions; trade unions
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Bockari Kortu STEVENS
chancery:
1701 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone:
[1] (202) 939-9261 through 9263
FAX:
[1] (202) 483-1793
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Michael S. OWEN
embassy:
Southridge-Hill Station, Freetown
mailing address:
use embassy street address
telephone:
[232] (22) 515 000 or (76) 515 000
FAX:
[232] (22) 515 355
Flag description
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and blue; green symbolizes agriculture, mountains, and natural resources, white represents unity and justice, and blue the sea and the natural harbor in Freetown
National symbol(s)
lion
National anthem
name:
"High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free"
lyrics/music:
Clifford Nelson FYLE/John Joseph AKA
adopted 1961
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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