Sierra Leone is located on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, bordered by Guinea and Liberia. It covers an area of 27,699 square miles with a population estimated at 6.3 million. The capital, Freetown, is also its largest city. It is a constitutional democratic republic with a President who is Head of State as well as Head of the Government. The Parliament of Sierra Leone is the law making body, and the judiciary is independent of the executive. Since independence in 1961 two parties have dominated the political landscape, the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) and the All People's Congress (APC).
Sierra Leone's economy is heavily dependent on mining, especially diamonds, titanium, bauxite and gold. Despite these natural resources it is estimated that 70% of the people live in poverty.
The population is predominantly Muslim, with a significant Christian minority, though it is thought to be generally tolerant, with marriage between religions and ethnic groups commonplace.