In a public notice dated August 20, the Bank of Sierra Leone announced a prohibition on conducting business in foreign currency. The notice applies to both quoting prices and making payments in any currency other than Leones (Le), and references the Bank of Sierra Leone Act of 2019. The prohibition went into effect immediately, with violations punishable by a fine of 100 million Le and/or imprisonment of not less than three years.
The notice does not address means of enforcement of the prohibition, nor what regulatory provisions will be put into effect to facilitate international arrivals and currency exchange. However, Americans traveling to Sierra Leone should be aware of this ban and should make every effort to use official currency exchange immediately upon arrival. The U.S. Embassy recommends visitors and U.S. nationals who are quoted prices in U.S. dollars should refer to the ban, and request price quotes in Leones.