Sierra Leone Economy

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Sierra Leone is a poor nation with glaring inequality in distribution of income. Alluvial diamond mining remains a major source of export earnings. More than 70% of the population lives below poverty line. Leone is the official currency.

Sierra Leone has the problem of extreme income inequality. The marked absence of physical and social infrastructure hampers economic development. The lack of physical infrastructure inhibits the country's ability to economically capitalize on its considerable fishery, agricultural and mineral resources.

Approximately half of Sierra Leone's population is engaged in subsistence agriculture. Manufacturing scenario consists of light manufacturing and raw materials processing. Alluvial diamond mining account for approximately half of Sierra Leone's total exports. Sierra Leone's economy is overly dependent on aid from abroad. Economic aid to the tune of $343.4 million was received in 2006.The IMF has recently concluded a poverty reduction and growth facility program that has assisted the reduction of inflation and stabilize growth of the country's economy.

Sierra Leone's GDP in case of purchasing power parity is computed to be $3.991 billion (2007). GDP in terms of real growth rate is 7%. GDP per capita is $600. The number of employable people or labor force is approximately 1.369 million (1981). Agricultural activities remain the biggest employer with agriculture contributing the most to the GDP (49%). Industry and services follow behind-31% and 21% respectively.

Sierra Leone exported $216 million worth of goods in 2006. Commodities exported from the African country include rutile, diamonds, fish, coffee and cocoa. Belgium is the biggest importer (49.5%). Other notable countries are the United States (20.6%), Canada (4%) and Netherlands (4.6%).

Sierra Leone imports machinery, chemicals, fuels and equipment. The country imported $560 million worth of goods in 2006. Principal importing partners are China and Cote d'Ivoire (9.5% each), Brazil (7%) and United Kingdom (5.8%).