Sierra Leone Industry

With state aid, in the 1960’s, an industry for the manufacture of consumer goods was previously built up. In the 1970s, however, the industry fell due to a lack of foreign currency and trained personnel, constant power cuts, water shortages and poor communication. What was left of industrial activity in the mid-1990s was largely destroyed and plundered during the war.

After the war, the construction and civil engineering sectors experienced a boom. The road construction and construction of public administration buildings, schools, churches and mosques as well as new housing for aid staff contributed to this. Some small industries have also experienced an upswing in the 21st century: breweries and textile factories as well as those producing soap, plastic sandals, cement and paint. However, many of the problems that led to the decline of the industry in the 1970s remain and the manufacturing industry accounted for only about two percent of GDP in 2013.

  • According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, SL stands for the country of Sierra Leone in geography.

The government is trying to attract investors through favorable conditions, mainly tax relief for export-oriented industries. The generally weak economy, like the Ebola crisis, has meant that interest is limited. In 2011, the company Africa Felix Juice started with, among other things, Dutch capital production for the export of juice concentrate in Newton. It was the first factory in a new special zone where companies were offered tax exemption and help to build the infrastructure needed. The company, which employs up to 100 employees, has expanded but was in trouble in 2015, when it was difficult to export its products due to the Ebola crisis.

Foreign trade

Sierra Leone is very dependent on its foreign trade, especially on the export of diamonds. Nevertheless, the country is troubled by a large deficit in trade with the outside world.

The trade deficit increased during the civil war in the 1990s. The war broke down the normal supply patterns and forced the country to increase its food imports, while official mineral exports were paralyzed since the mines ended up in the rebel’s territory (see also Natural Resources and Energy).

Revenues from official diamond exports increased from $ 40 million in 2002 to $ 140 million in 2005, and then remain at about that level. For a long time, diamonds accounted for about 40 percent of the country’s total export earnings. In 2013, total revenues from commodity exports totaled nearly $ 1.9 billion, of which 95 percent was minerals: iron ore just over 56 percent, diamonds nearly 10 percent and rutile nearly 7 percent.

After the war, the trade deficit increased sharply due to higher demand for consumer goods and equipment for reconstruction. The export of iron ore in 2013 caused Sierra Leone to make a surplus in the merchandise trade for the first time. However, a large import of services meant that there was a current account deficit. Subsequently, reduced demand and lower iron ore prices, together with the Ebola crisis, increased the deficit.

Sierra Leone Industry


Merchandise exports

US $ 652 million (2017)


US $ 1,190 million (2017)

Current account

– US $ 535 million (2017)

Commodity trade’s share of GDP

56 percent (2018)

Main export goods

iron, diamonds, rutile, bauxite

Largest trading partner

China, UK, Benin, Senegal


Sierra Leone has some of Africa’s most beautiful beaches, with soft white sand, right into the capital Freetown. Here you will find scenic mountains and rainforests with wildlife such as the unique black and white market and the pygmy river horse. Until a few years into the 1990s, charter tourism existed on a smaller scale, but most of the bathing hotels were destroyed during the civil war or turned into refugee camps.

Until a few years into the 1990s, charter tourism existed on a smaller scale, but most of the bathing hotels were destroyed during the civil war or turned into refugee camps.

Despite a shortage of hotels, tourism, which could be an important source of income for the country, has increased after the war and new hotels and simple guesthouses have been opened or planned. Ecotourism is also invested. However, the Ebola epidemic 2014–2015 meant a temporary interruption for all tourism.


Number of foreign visitors per year

55,000 (2016)

tourist revenue

37,000,000 US dollars (2015)

The share of tourist income from exports

4.7 percent (2015)



Demonstration ban is introduced

It will be valid for three months and will be taken after the SLPP leader Julius Maada Bio was hit by a rock in the head in connection with a political meeting in the city of Bo. Subsequently, SLPP supporters are avenged by setting fire to APC’s district offices and several homes. An investigation shows that the violence was planned by leading forces in both parties.

27 political parties are deregistered

They are thus not allowed to stand in the 2012 election because despite their five-month extension, they have not reported their financial conditions.


50th Anniversary

Sierra Leone celebrates 50 years as an independent state.


New corruption prosecution

February 4th

The Anti-Corruption Commission is prosecuting the Swedish Maritime Administration’s head. He is charged with 194 cases of corruption.


Ministers are charged with corruption

January 27

The head of the Secretariat for Change in Attitude and Behavior, linked to the Presidential Office, is charged with two other persons for corruption in 17 cases. They are suspected of having squandered aid money.

Sierra Leone Industry

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