Sierra Leone’s Economic Freedom Score: 2015

Sierra Leone’s economic freedom score is 51.7, making its economy the 147th freest in the 2015 Economic Freedom Index — an annual guide published by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Sierra Leone is ranked 36th out of 46 countries in West, Central, East and Southern Africa.

The Index of Economic Freedom ranks the economic freedom of 186 countries around the world.

According to this year's score, Sierra Leone has increased by 1.2 points since 2014, with improvements in labor freedom, freedom from corruption, and the control of government spending outweighing deteriorations in property rights and business freedom.

The Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation measure economic freedom based on 10  factors, grouped into four broad categories, or pillars, of economic freedom:

Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption);
Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending);
Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and
Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom).

Each of the ten economic freedoms within these categories is graded on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall score is derived by averaging these ten economic freedoms, with equal weight being given to each.

Advances in the past two years have lifted Sierra Leone out of the “repressed” category for the first time since 1996.

Over the past five years, economic freedom in Sierra Leone has advanced by 2.1 points, led by improvements in half of the 10 economic freedoms, including trade freedom and investment freedom.

For more information on Sierra Leone's Economic Freedom Scores over time, click here. See how Sierra Leone compares to other economic country groups

The Heritage Foundation is considered to be one of the most influential conservative research organizations in the United States.


Sierra Leone

Bordered by Guinea in the north-east, Liberia in the south-east, and the Atlantic Ocean in the south-west, Sierra Leone has a total area of 27,699 sq. miles and is home to the third-largest natural harbor in the world.

Mining is the primary industry

Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base.   Mineral exports are the principal foreign exchange source, with gem-quality diamonds accounting for nearly half of exports and high rates of economic growth.

Sierra Leone is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, a major producer of gold, and has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile.

Despite exploitation of this natural wealth, 70 percent of its people live in poverty. The West African nation has an estimated population of 6 million.

Freetown is the capital, largest city, and its economic and political center. Bo is the second largest city and second major economic center in the country.

The country is divided into four geographical regions: the Northern Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area, which are further divided into fourteen districts. There is no land titling system.

About sixteen ethnic groups inhabit Sierra Leone, each with their own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Temne and the Mende people. The Temne are predominantly found in the north of the country, while the Mende are predominant in the south-east. Although English is the official language spoken at schools and government administration, the Krio language is the most widely spoken language in the country and unites all the different ethnic groups in the country, especially in their trade and social interaction with each other.

Sierra Leone is a predominantly Muslim country, though with an influential Christian minority. Sierra Leone is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant nations in the world. Muslims and Christians collaborate and interact with each other peacefully. Religious violence is very rare.


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