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
  • etymology: the Portuguese explorer Pedro de SINTRA named the country "Serra Leoa" (Lion Mountains) for the impressive mountains he saw while sailing the West African coast in 1462

Government type:

presidential republic

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)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 27 April (1961)

Constitution:

several previous; latest in effect 1 October 1991; amended several times, last in 2013 (2016)

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

Citizenship:

  • citizenship by birth: no
  • citizenship by descent only: at least one parent or grandparent must be a citizen of Sierra Leone
  • dual citizenship recognized: yes
  • residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

  • chief of state: President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007); note - the president is both 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, approved by Parliament; the cabinet is responsible to the president elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 November 2012 (next to be on 7 March 2018) election results: Ernest Bai KOROMA reelected president; percent of vote - Ernest Bai KOROMA (APC) 58.7%, Julius Maada BIO (SLPP) 37.4%, other 3.9%

Legislative branch:

  • description: unicameral Parliament (124 seats; 112 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 12 seats filled in separate elections by non-partisan members of Parliament called "paramount chiefs;" members serve 5-year terms)
  • elections: last held on 17 November 2012 (next to be held on 7 March 2018)
  • election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 69, SLPP 43

Judicial branch:

  • highest court(s): Superior Court of Judicature (consists of the Supreme Court - at the apex - with the chief justice and 4 other judges, the Court of Appeal with the chief justice and 7 other judges, and the High Court of Justice with the chief justice and 9 other judges; note – the Judicature has jurisdiction in all civil, criminal, and constitutional matters
  • judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice and other judges of the Judicature appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (a 7-member independent body of judges, presidential appointees, and the Commission chairman) and subject to the approval of Parliament; all Judicature judges appointed until retirement at age 65
  • subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; District Appeals Court; local courts

Political parties and leaders:

  • All People's Congress or APC [Ernest Bai KOROMA]
  • Sierra Leone People's Party or SLPP [Somano KAPEN]
  • numerous other parties

Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: student unions; trade unions

International organization participation:

ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:

  • chief of mission: Ambassador Bockari Kortu STEVENS (since 28 March 2008)
  • 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 John HOOVER (since 4 November 4 December 2014))
  • embassy: Southridge-Hill Station, Freetown
  • mailing address: use embassy street address
  • telephone: [232] 99 1055 00
  • FAX: [232] 99 515 355

Flag description:

three equal horizontal bands of light green (top), white, and light 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 colors: green, white, blue

National anthem:

  • name: "High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free"
  • lyrics/music: Clifford Nelson FYLE/John Joseph AKA
  • note: adopted 1961
Sierra Leone Statehouse
Sierra Leone Statehouse
Sierra Leone Statehouse