In 2011, Sierra Leone’s trade deficit widened to 40.9% of GDP, a significantly higher percentage than the 7.4% recorded in 2010 (Table 4). This was due to a surge in imports of machinery and transport equipment, which were largely destined for new large-scale mining activities and road-construction projects. Consequently, the current account is projected to record a historically high deficit equal to 55.7% of GDP in 2011.

Looking ahead, the external balance is expected to improve substantially in 2012 and 2013 when the trade balance should be in surplus at 15.9% of GDP in 2012 and 12% in 2013 owing to the recovery in mineral exports. This will translate into an improvement in the current account deficit whose share in GDP is expected to fall to 9.9% and 9.6% in 2012 and 2013, respectively.