Investing

flag Sierra Leone Sierra Leone: Investing

FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD's 2022 World Investment Report, in 2021 FDI flows to Sierra Leone increased to an estimated USD 218 million, from USD 135 million in 2020, in the context of the recovery from the global economic and health crisis. FDI stock was estimated at USD 2.438 billion in 2021. In 2022, global FDI momentum weakened in the context of the war in Ukraine, rising food and energy prices, financial turmoil and debt pressures (UNCTAD’s Investment Trends Monitor). Traditionally, Sierra Leone's main investors were Nigeria, Sweden, Mauritius, Belgium, Germany and the United States, but China has become a major investor. Foreign investors are engaged in energy (including renewable energy), infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and natural resources.

When the country emerged out of the Ebola scourge in 2015, the government turned to FDI to boost economic growth (U.S. Department of State). Sierra Leone is trying to attract investments through public private partnerships (PPPs) to undertake major infrastructural projects, particularly in power, water, roads, ports, and telecommunications, etc. The country’s substantial mining wealth, the absence of any arbitrary discrimination against foreign companies and restrictions on the repatriation of profits, as well as the sale of assets (guaranteed by the new investment code) make Sierra Leone attractive for FDI. However, the shortage in skilled labour, the lack of infrastructure, the slow legal system, the high level of corruption, political violence and serious social disorder due to socio-economic disparities are major obstacles to FDI. Despite these impediments, Sierra Leone attracts many investors, including China that has become increasingly present in the country. The projects financed by China comprise a hospital, a hydroelectric dam, a rubber production project spanning several thousand hectares (worth USD 1.3 billion, financed by China Hainan Rubber Group), rice cultivation (135,000 hectares), stadiums, roads, bridges, electrical projects, a fishing harbour project, and mining projects (Kingho Group, involved in a USD 6 billion project, operates the Tonkolili mine). UK firm Winch Energy is engaged in the construction of mini solar plants, American SL Mining (Gerald Group) in the exploitation of the Marampa iron mine, and Israeli company Agrotop jointly with South African Integrated Solutions Africa (ISA) Group in the construction of a large-scale poultry birds farming for commercial egg production (USD 60 million project). The settlement of disputes with Kingho and Gerald Group in 2021 are expected to improve the country's image (Coface).

 

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Sierra Leone Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 6.0 5.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 8.0 3.5 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 6.0 5.5 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 173212250
FDI Stock (million USD) 2,219.52,437.82,687.8
Number of Greenfield Investments* 0.01.02.0
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 05156

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

 

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Tax Rates

Goods and services tax (GST)
15% Goods and Sevices Tax (GST)
Examples of zero-rated supplies are exports (except the exports of minerals, including gold and diamonds), and goods shipped as stores on ships or aircraft leaving Sierra Leone.
Exempt supplies include rice, piped water, fuel, books, educational and medical services, specified pharmaceutical supplies and financial services and minerals for export, including gold and diamonds.
Company Tax
30%
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 10%, Interests: 15%, Royalties: 25%.
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers
10%
Other Domestic Resources
National Revenue Authority
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 
 

Individual Taxes

Personal income tax Progressive rates from 0 to 35%
First SLL 6,000,000 0%
Next SLL 6,000,000 15%
Next SLL 6,000,000 20%
Next SLL 6,000,000 30%
Above SLL 24,000,000 35%
 
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Sierra Leone Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 34.0 36.6 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 343.0 284.8 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 30.7 47.3 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Investment Opportunities

Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Fontier Market Network, Tenders in Africa
African Tenders
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Setting Up a Company
Consult Doing Business Website, to know about procedures to start a Business in Sierra Leone.
Useful Resources
Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA)
Economic Developments and Prospects in Sierra Leone - African Economic Outlook
Business Portal for Africa
 

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Sierra Leone Sub-Saharan Africa
Procedures (number) 5.00 7.51
Time (days) 8.00 21.30

Source: Doing Business.

 
 
 

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Latest Update: December 2023