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Sierra Leone 

Key facts

POPULATION: (Census 2004): 4,976,871
AREA: 71,740 sq km
CAPITAL: Freetown
CURRENCY: leone (Le)
HEAD OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT: President Ernest Bai Koroma
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: constitutional republic
LANGUAGES: English (official): Krio, Mende, Temne, Limba (recognised)
NATIONAL ELECTIONS: last: November 2012, turnout: 87.3%; next: 2017
LOCAL ELECTIONS: last: November 2012, turnout: 87.3%; next: 2016


Sierra Leone is a constitutional parliamentary republic with three spheres of government: central government, local councils and chiefdom councils. There is no constitutional provision for local government so the Local Government Act 2004 provides the main legal framework for local councils. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) has responsibility for implementing decentralisation and local governance reforms. There are 19 local councils made up of five city councils and one municipal council in the urban areas, and 13 district councils in the predominantly rural areas.
The Local Government Act 2004 gives both the local councils and the chiefdom councils powers to raise revenue including local taxes, property rates, licences, fees and charges, mining revenues, interest and dividends etc. Transfers from central government include recurrent and development components. There are three broad types of transfers: administrative grants, grants for devolved functions and local government development grants. Under the Local Government Act 2004, 80 functions were devolved to local councils. To date, 56 of the 80 had been devolved in practice.

Download full profile of Sierra Leone (  153K PDF)

Related links

Commonwealth Local Government Good Practice Scheme in Sierra Leone

Additional information since publication

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