flag Sierra Leone Sierra Leone: Investing

FDI in Figures

Following a steady growth until 2012, foreign direct investment (FDI) was severely impacted by the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. According to UNCTAD's 2021 World Investment Report,, FDI flows declined again in 2020 to USD 349 million from USD 368 million in 2019, mainly due to the global economic and health crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. FDI stocks increased significantly to USD 2.4 billion in 2019. In 2021, global FDI flows rebounded strongly, but FDI flows to African countries (excluding South Africa) rose only moderately (UNCTAD’ 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.

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. Sierra Leone ranked 163rd out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s last available Doing Business report, at the same rank as in the previous year classification. The business climate of Sierra Leone has been severely affected by the Ebola virus. China has become increasingly present in Sierra Leone. The country is currently financing a hospital, a hydroelectric dam, a rubber production project spanning several thousand hectares (worth USD 1.3 billion, financed by China Hainan Rubber Group), as well as rice cultivation (135,000 hectares), stadiums, roads, bridges, electrical project, a fishing harbour project, and is involved in mining (Kingho Group is involved in a USD 6 billion mining project complex). A subsidiary of the French Bolloré Group will build a new dock for USD 120 million in Freetown and various surrounding infrastructure for USD 87 million. UK firm Winch Energy in engaged in the construction of mini solar plants, American SL Mining will start exploiting the Marampa iron mine and Israeli company Agrotop jointly with South African Integrated Solutions Africa (ISA) Group will construct 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 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 301135218
FDI Stock (million USD) 2,084.42,219.52,437.8
Number of Greenfield Investments* 4.00.01.0
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 151045

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: October 2022