Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown was established as a home for repatriated slaves. The country gained independence in 1961, but corruption and mismanagement of natural resources led to a civil war between 1991 to 2002. Over two million people (in a population of 6 million) were displaced, up to 50, 000 killed, and many more physically maimed.
At the end of 1999 a UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL was deployed to help implement the Lome peace agreement. UNAMSIL completed its mandate in December 2005, and the UN Peacebuilding Office, its successor, closed in March 2014. Sierra Leone became a leading example of a peacekeeping success and a key contributor to other peace keeping missions.
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 70% of the population live below the poverty line and it ranks as 183/187 on the Human Development Index. The current Ebola outbreak is having a severe impact on Sierra Leone; the devastation will be a massive setback on the achievements of the last nine years.
Economic and trade information
- Travel advice for Sierra Leone | See our Travel Information page
- Before you travel: Passports Australia | Visa information | Top 10 travel tips
- Assistance to Australian travellers: Consular Services Charter
Heads of Government
Embassies and consulates
- The Australian High Commission in Ghana is responsible for Sierra Leone