Africa :: Liberia

Introduction ::Liberia

    Settlement of freed slaves from the US in what is today Liberia began in 1822; by 1847, the Americo-Liberians were able to establish a republic. William TUBMAN, president from 1944-71, did much to promote foreign investment and to bridge the economic, social, and political gaps between the descendants of the original settlers and the inhabitants of the interior. In 1980, a military coup led by Samuel DOE ushered in a decade of authoritarian rule. In December 1989, Charles TAYLOR launched a rebellion against DOE's regime that led to a prolonged civil war in which DOE was killed. A period of relative peace in 1997 allowed for elections that brought TAYLOR to power, but major fighting resumed in 2000. An August 2003 peace agreement ended the war and prompted the resignation of former president Charles TAYLOR, who faces war crimes charges in The Hague related to his involvement in Sierra Leone's civil war. After two years of rule by a transitional government, democratic elections in late 2005 brought President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF to power. She subsequently won reelection in 2011 in a second round vote that was boycotted by the opposition and remains challenged to build Liberia's economy and reconcile a nation still recovering from 14 years of fighting. The United Nations Security Council in September 2012 passed Resolution 2066 which calls for a reduction of UN troops in Liberia by half by 2015, bringing the troop total down to fewer than 4000, and challenging Liberia's security sector to fill the gaps.

Geography ::Liberia

People and Society ::Liberia

Government ::Liberia

    conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
    conventional short form: Liberia
    name: Monrovia
    geographic coordinates: 6 18 N, 10 48 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    15 counties; Bomi, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Lofa, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba, River Cess, River Gee, Sinoe
    26 July 1847
    Independence Day, 26 July (1847)
    6 January 1986
    mixed legal system of common law (based on Anglo-American law) and customary law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF (since 16 January 2006); Vice President Joseph BOAKAI (since 16 January 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF (since 16 January 2006); Vice President Joseph BOAKAI (since 16 January 2006)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 11 October and 8 November 2011 (next to be held in 2017)
    election results: Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF reelected president; percent of vote, second round - Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF 90.7%, Winston TUBMAN 9.3%
    bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (30 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve nine-year terms) and the House of Representatives (73 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 11 October 2011 (next to be held in 2014); House of Representatives - last held on 11 October 2011 (next to be held in 2017)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UP 10, NPP 6, CDC 3, APD 2, NUDP 2, LDP 1, LP 1, NDC 1, NDPL 1, independents 3; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UP 24, CDC 11, LP 7, NUDP 6, NDC 5, APD 3, NPP 3, MPC 2, LDP 1, LTP 1, NRP 1, independents 9
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief Justice and 4 associate justices)
    note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction for all constitutional cases
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice and associate justices appointed by the president of Liberia with consent of the Senate; judges can serve until age 70
    subordinate courts: judicial circuit courts; special courts including criminal, civil, labor, traffic; magistrate and traditional or customary courts
    Alliance for Peace and Democracy or APD [Marcus S. G. DAHN]
    Congress for Democratic Change or CDC [Geraldine DOE-SHERIFF]
    Liberia Destiny Party or LDP [Nathaniel BARNES]
    Liberty Party or LP [Isreal ARKINSAYAN]
    Liberia Transformation Party or LTP [Julius SUKU]
    Movement for Progressive Change or MPC [Simeon FREEMAN]
    National Democratic Coalition or NDC [Dew MAYSON]
    National Democratic Party of Liberia or NDPL [D. Nyandeh SIEH]
    National Patriotic Party or NPP [Theophilus C. GOULD]
    National Reformist Party or NRP [Maximillian T. W. DIABE]
    National Union for Democratic Progress or NUDP [Emmanuel LOMAX]
    Unity Party or UP [Varney SHERMAN]
    other: demobilized former military officers
    ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Jeremiah Congbeh SULUNTEH
    chancery: 5201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
    telephone: [1] (202) 723-0437
    FAX: [1] (202) 723-0436
    consulate(s) general: New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador Deborah R. MALAC
    embassy: U.S. Embassy, P.O. Box 98, 502 Benson Street, Monrovia
    mailing address: P.O. Box 98, Monrovia
    telephone: [231] 77-677-7000
    FAX: [231] 77-677-7370
    11 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; a white five-pointed star appears on a blue square in the upper hoist-side corner; the stripes symbolize the signatories of the Liberian Declaration of Independence; the blue square represents the African mainland, and the star represents the freedom granted to the ex-slaves; according to the constitution, the blue color signifies liberty, justice, and fidelity, the white color purity, cleanliness, and guilelessness, and the red color steadfastness, valor, and fervor
    note: the design is based on the US flag
    white star
    name: "All Hail, Liberia Hail!"

    lyrics/music: Daniel Bashiel WARNER/Olmstead LUCA
    note: lyrics adopted 1847, music adopted 1860; the anthem's author would become the third president of Liberia

Economy ::Liberia

    Liberia is a low income country heavily reliant on foreign assistance for revenue. Civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. Many businesses fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them, but with the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically-elected government in 2006, several have returned. Liberia has the distinction of having the highest ratio of direct foreign investment to GDP in the world. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products, primarily raw timber and rubber and is reviving those sectors. Local manufacturing, mainly foreign owned, had been small in scope. President JOHNSON SIRLEAF, a Harvard-trained banker and administrator, has taken steps to reduce corruption, build support from international donors, and encourage private investment. Embargos on timber and diamond exports have been lifted, opening new sources of revenue for the government and Liberia shipped its first major timber exports to Europe in 2010. The country reached its Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative completion point in 2010 and nearly $5 billion of international debt was permanently eliminated. This new status will enable Liberia to establish a sovereign credit rating and issue bonds. Liberia's Paris Club creditors agreed to cancel Liberia's debt as well. The IMF has completed the sixth review of Liberia's extended credit facility, bringing total disbursements to over $379 million. The African Development Bank approved a grant of $48 million in 2011 to support economic governance and competitiveness. Rebuilding infrastructure and raising incomes will depend on generous financial and technical assistance from donor countries and foreign investment in key sectors, such as infrastructure and power generation. The country has achieved high growth during 2010-12 due to favorable world prices for its commodities.
    $2.719 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    $2.509 billion (2011 est.)
    $2.326 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $1.735 billion (2012 est.)
    8.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    7.9% (2011 est.)
    6.1% (2010 est.)
    $700 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 224
    $600 (2011 est.)
    $600 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    NA (2012 est.)
    -36.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
    -30.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 125.6%
    government consumption: 15.2%
    investment in fixed capital: 25%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 27.5%
    imports of goods and services: -93.3%
    (2011 est.)
    agriculture: 76.9%
    industry: 5.4%
    services: 17.7% (2002 est.)
    rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (manioc), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
    rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
    1.372 million (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    agriculture: 70%
    industry: 8%
    services: 22% (2000 est.)
    85% (2003 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    80% (2000 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.4%
    highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)
    revenues: $481.5 million
    expenditures: $522.3 million (2012 est.)
    27.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    -2.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    2.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    0.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    6.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    8.5% (2011 est.)
    13.52% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    13.75% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $322.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    $406.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $664.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    $560.2 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $520.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    $475.3 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    -$587.5 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    -$754.3 million (2011 est.)
    $774.8 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    $645.7 million (2011 est.)
    rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
    China 24.2%, US 15.4%, Spain 11.1%, Thailand 4.5%, Cote dIvoire 4.4%, Malaysia 4.1%, France 4% (2012)
    $2.275 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    $2.068 billion (2011 est.)
    fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
    South Korea 26.4%, China 24.1%, Singapore 23%, Japan 15.9% (2012)
    $348 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    $447.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $3.574 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    $2.912 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $201 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    $201 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    Liberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar -
    73.515 (2012 est.)
    72.227 (2011 est.)
    71.403 (2010 est.)

Energy ::Liberia

Communications ::Liberia

    3,200 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    2.03 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    general assessment: the limited services available are found almost exclusively in the capital Monrovia; fixed-line service stagnant and extremely limited; telephone coverage extended to a number of other towns and rural areas by four mobile-cellular network operators
    domestic: mobile-cellular subscription base growing and teledensity reached 50 per 100 persons in 2011
    international: country code - 231; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
    3 private TV stations; satellite TV service available; 1 state-owned radio station; about 15 independent radio stations broadcasting in Monrovia, with another 25 local stations operating in other areas; transmissions of 2 international broadcasters are available (2007)
    7 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 228
    20,000 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 194

Transportation ::Liberia

    29 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    total: 2
    over 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 27
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
    914 to 1,523 m: 8
    under 914 m:
    14 (2013)
    oil 4 km (2013)
    total: 429 km
    country comparison to the world: 115
    standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge
    narrow gauge: 84 km 1.067-m gauge
    note: most sections of the railways were inoperable because of damage suffered during the civil wars from 1980 to 2003, but many are being rebuilt (2008)
    total: 10,600 km
    country comparison to the world: 134
    paved: 657 km
    unpaved: 9,943 km (2000)
    total: 2,771
    country comparison to the world: 2
    by type: barge carrier 5, bulk carrier 662, cargo 143, carrier 2, chemical tanker 248, combination ore/oil 8, container 937, liquefied gas 92, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 526, refrigerated cargo 102, roll on/roll off 5, specialized tanker 10, vehicle carrier 27
    foreign-owned: 2,581 (Angola 1, Argentina 1, Australia 1, Belgium 1, Bermuda 4, Brazil 20, Canada 2, Chile 9, China 4, Croatia 1, Cyprus 9, Denmark 8, Egypt 3, Germany 1185, Gibraltar 5, Greece 505, Hong Kong 48, India 8, Indonesia 4, Israel 34, Italy 47, Japan 110, Latvia 5, Lebanon 1, Monaco 8, Netherlands 31, Nigeria 4, Norway 38, Poland 13, Qatar 5, Romania 3, Russia 109, Saudi Arabia 20, Singapore 22, Slovenia 7, South Korea 2, Sweden 12, Switzerland 25, Syria 1, Taiwan 94, Turkey 16, UAE 37, UK 32, UK 22, Ukraine 10, Uruguay 1, US 53) (2010)
    Buchanan, Monrovia

Military ::Liberia

Transnational Issues ::Liberia

    although civil unrest continues to abate with the assistance of 18,000 UN Mission in Liberia peacekeepers, as of January 2007, Liberian refugees still remain in Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Ghana; Liberia, in turn, shelters refugees fleeing turmoil in Cote d'Ivoire; despite the presence of over 9,000 UN forces in Cote d'Ivoire since 2004, ethnic conflict continues to spread into neighboring states who can no longer send their migrant workers to Ivorian cocoa plantations; UN sanctions ban Liberia from exporting diamonds and timber
    refugees (country of origin): 58,710 (Cote d'Ivoire) (2013)
    IDPs: undetermined (civil war from 1990-2004; unclear how many have found durable solutions; many dwell in slums in Monrovia) (2012)
    current situation: Liberia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; most victims are Liberian and are exploited within the country, where they are forced into domestic servitude, begging, prostitution, street vending, agricultural work, and diamond mining; a small number of Liberian men, women, and children are trafficked to Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and the US, while trafficking victims are brought to Liberia from neighboring West African countries, including Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, and Nigeria
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Liberia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has increased its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and achieved its first conviction under its 2005 anti-trafficking law; the government has failed to make adequate efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims and has not adopted or implemented the standard operating procedures for assisting victims finalized by the anti-trafficking secretariat in 2012; the referral of victims to NGOs for protective services is inconsistent (2013)
    transshipment point for Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin and South American cocaine for the European and US markets; corruption, criminal activity, arms-dealing, and diamond trade provide significant potential for money laundering, but the lack of well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a major money-laundering center