Start A Business

In Sierra Leone, there has been recent improvement in the efficiency of starting a business. Government authorities drastically cut costs and expedited the process for starting a business by making the use of a lawyer optional and abolishing other registration formalities, including requirements to pay taxes upfront and obtain permission for registration to start a business.

Over the past two years, according to the World Bank Group’s

For more information on how to register a business, see the detailed procedures.

Once a business has been started, investors must obtain sector-specific business licenses.
Level playing field for foreigners

Foreign investors enjoy a level playing field when starting a business. There are no minimum capital requirements and no restrictions on equity; however, foreign investors cannot invest in the following sectors: arms and ammunition, cement block manufacturing, granite and sand stone excavation, manufacturing of certain consumer durable goods, and military, police, and prison guards’ apparel and accoutrements.
Sector-specific business licenses

In some sectors—such as mining and fisheries— licenses can be obtained from sector ministries. SLIEPA can facilitate the process for investors.

For mining, fees vary by activity and citizenship. Investors can find detailed information at Sierra Leone Mineral Resources

Licensing and Certificate Fees associated with Mining

Licensing and Certificate Fees associated with Mining (US dollars)
Type of license Fee
Alluvial diamond exporter license $40,000/year ($25,000/half-year)
Alluvial diamond exporter agent’s certificate $5,000/year ($3,000/half-year)
Alluvial diamond dealer license (non-citizen) $5,000/year ($3,000/half-year)
Gold exporter license $3,000/year
Gold exporter agent’s certificate $1,000/year
Gold dealer license (non-citizen $1,000/year
Gold mining company manager certificate (non-citizen) $167/year

Ministry of Mineral Resources and SLIEPA

In fisheries, all vessels must be registered with the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration and fishing licenses obtained from the Ministry of Marine Resources and Fisheries.

Regulations for the fishing industry require that operators obtain an offshore account in Sierra Leone and employ 45 percent Sierra Leoneans as crew members.

Vessel Fees associated with Fisheries (US dollars)

Type of vessel Annual fee Royalties per vessel
Shrimp vessel over 250 tons $60,000 $18,000
Fish trawler over 250 tons $40,000 $15,000
Tuna purse seiner $18,000  
Tuna long liners $12,000  
Small pelagic purse seiner $15,000  
Fish processing ship $20,000