What is SLL (Sierra Leone Leone)

The Sierra Leone Leone (SLL) is the national currency for the Republic of Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa. The Sierra Leone Leone subdivides into 100 cents and is often represented with the symbol Le, in the form Le100 for 100 leones. The Bank of Sierra Leone, established in 1964, issues and monitors the currency.

BREAKING DOWN SLL (Sierra Leone Leone)

The SLL replaced the British West African pound as the official currency of Sierra Leone in 1964, at an exchange rate of two leones to every one pound. By June of 1986, to correct persistent overvaluation, the country adopted a floating exchange rate regime. 

Banknotes circulate in 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 leones and coins have 10, 50, 100, and 500 leone dominations. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at any of the commercial banks, recognized foreign exchange bureaus and most hotels. Sierra Leone suffers from high inflation due to civil war and economic struggles. As a result, the SLL has become continually weaker and is one of the world’s weakest currencies.

Economic Backing for the Sierra Leone Leone

Sierra Leone is currently one of the poorest nations in the world and relies mostly on external aid. According to the United Nations Development Program, approximately 60 percent of Sierra Leone's residents live below the poverty line. In the 1960s, the per capita GDP of Sierra Leone rose 32% hitting a peak of 107% in the 1970s. However, this pace was unsustainable, and it consequently shrank by 52% in the 1980s, and a further 10% in the 1990s. 

The 2017 World Bank data shows the Republic currently experiences a 4.2% gross domestic product (GDP) growth with a yearly inflation deflator of 14.7-percent.

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a small West Africa country on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The country is home to the world's third-largest natural harbor. Once a British colony, Sierra Leone gained independence in 1961 and declared itself a Republic ten years later, in 1971.

Between 1967 and 1991 an authoritarian one-party government held all power. A series of brutal civil war broke out in 1991, unseating the government and continuing until 2014, claiming tens-of-thousands of lives and destroying the country's infrastructure. In 2014, an Ebola outbreak overburdened the ability of the healthcare system creating a humanitarian crisis.

The country’s economy is still heavily dependent upon mineral extraction, particularly valuable diamonds and gold, for which annual production volumes are estimated to be between US$70 - $250 million. Since only a small fraction of the lucrative mining industry travels through official export channels, the country has been unable to realize substantial, wide-spread economic benefit from the harvest of valuable gemstones. These resources are often a source of conflict, with the use of funds frequently going to purchase arms for rebel military factions or other undesirable initiatives.

Because the country does not earn a great deal from external trade, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank, which both provide aid to the country, encourage the country to reduce government spending to maintain a balanced budget.