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COMMERCE and INDUSTRY
Seventy per cent of livelihoods in Sierra Leone are derived from agriculture
with crops including rice, cassava, bananas,
plantains, palm kernels, coffee and cocoa. Livestock farming
is becoming increasingly important with growing concentration on poultry,
cattle, sheep and goats.
in Sierra Leone
With its worldwide reputation of mariners, Sierra Leone has had a long association
with the fishing industry.
Whilst fishing for domestic consumption, a significant activity of offshore
factory fishing ships for export exists with foreign industries plying the
The mining sector plays a
significant role in the economy of Sierra Leone with mineral resources including
diamonds, gold, bauxite, iron ore and the
world’s largest known reserves of highest grade natural rutile.
More recently, oil has been
seen to be of increased interest, both onshore and offshore, for which much
is hoped for from within this sector.
Local other industry includes refinery of petroleum and production of domestic
consumer goods. Whilst domestic transport infrastructure remains limited,
Sierra Leone boasts one of the most excellent port facilities of West Africa.
Currently, the cost of imports exceeds the earnings from exports - a matter
the Government of Sierra Leone considers to be of prime concern and, with
current events abroad of other countries addressing matters relating to
the "level playing field", an improvement may be foreseen. The
principal "hard currency" imports are machinery, manufactured
consumer goods, foodstuffs, transportation equipment and fuels. The chief
exports are diamonds and other minerals, cocoa, coffee and fish.
The leading trade partners to Sierra Leone include the European Union countries,
United States, fellow ECOWAS member countries and, more recently, China
Sierra Leone is a member of ECOWAS (Economic
Community of West African States). Today, through the Bank
of Sierra Leone, the nations currency - the Leone - is participant in the
West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ),
a mechanism pegging the currencies of The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria
and Sierra Leone to the US Dollar. This is intended to eventually lead to
a common currency for ECOWAS.
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