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Sierra Leone

Sub-Saharan Africa


Sierra Leone ranks 155 out of 162 countries in the Gender Inequality Index, where a high rank equals high equality. Women should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.


Sierra Leone has a Workplace Index score of 6.3, a Marketplace Index score of 5.7 and a Community and Environment Index score of 5.5 in the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, where countries receive scores between 0 and 10. A score closer to 0 reflects a need for basic children’s rights due diligence, while a higher score reflects a need for enhanced or heightened due diligence. Children should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though. 

Persons with Disabilities

Due to differences in data collection and definitions it is difficult to compare countries on disability prevalence rates. Persons with disabilities should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.

Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

According to the World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, no single ethno-linguistic group forms an absolute majority of Sierra Leone’s population, which according to the 2015 census consists of 15 ethnic groups. The results of the census found that the largest communities were Mende (31.9 %) and Temne (31.4 %) (though other sources suggest Temne are the largest ethnic group) followed by Limba (8.4 %), Kono (5.1 %), Koranko (4.4 %), Fullah (3.8 %), Susu (2.9 %), Kissi (2.5 %), Loko (2.3 %), Madingo (2.3 %), Sherbro (1.9 %), Yalunka (0.7 %), Krim (0.2 %), Vai and other smaller communities. The Mende inhabit the south and have benefited from the relative prosperity of their southern homeland. The Temne reside in an area inland from the coast to an area north of Mendeland. The Limba reisde in the Northern Province, and the Kono and Kissi in the Eastern Province. Kuranko, Fula, Loko, Susu and Mandinka also live in the north. Sherbro live in the coastal region together with the smaller groups of Vai and Gola, all of which have larger numbers living across the border in Liberia.

Krios are descendants of freed slaves who returned to Africa from the Americas, and their Krio language, based largely on English and African languages, is used as a lingua franca across the country. They live in the Freetown area, where small numbers of Lebanese, Indians and Europeans are also found. The Krio community was dominant during the colonial era but never held a monopoly of power similar to that of the Americo-Liberian elite in Liberia. Northern-based groups such as the Fula, Temne, Loko, Mandinka and Susu are mostly Sunni Muslims, while most of the southern or eastern Mende, Kono, Kissi, Sherbro and Krio are Christians.

Migrant Workers​

According to the ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers, migrant workers as a proportion of all workers is 3 % in the subregion Sub-Saharan Africa.

Persons in Armed Conflict

Sierra Leone ranks 45 out of 179 countries in the Fragile States Index, where a high rank equals high fragility. For monthly crisis updates, check out CrisisWatch

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