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Africa :: Liberia
Page last updated on September 01, 2015
 
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  • 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 an election 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 was convicted by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague for 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 and remains challenged to rebuild Liberia's economy, particularly following the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic, and to reconcile a nation still recovering from 14 years of fighting. The UN Security Council in September 2012 passed Resolution 2066 which calls for a halving of UN troops in Liberia by 2015, reducing the troop level to fewer than 4,000, and challenging Liberia's security sector to fill the gaps.
  • Geography :: LIBERIA

  • Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone
    6 30 N, 9 30 W
    Africa
    total: 111,369 sq km
    land: 96,320 sq km
    water: 15,049 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 104
    slightly larger than Tennessee
    total: 1,667 km
    border countries (3): Guinea 590 km, Cote d'Ivoire 778 km, Sierra Leone 299 km
    579 km
    territorial sea: 200 nm
    tropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers
    mostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m
    iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower
    agricultural land: 28.1%
    arable land 5.2%; permanent crops 2.1%; permanent pasture 20.8%
    forest: 44.6%
    other: 27.3% (2011 est.)
    21 sq km (2003)
    232 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.13 cu km/yr (55%/37%/8%)
    per capita: 43.66 cu m/yr (2005)
    dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)
    tropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
    facing the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline is characterized by lagoons, mangrove swamps, and river-deposited sandbars; the inland grassy plateau supports limited agriculture
  • People and Society :: LIBERIA

  • noun: Liberian(s)
    adjective: Liberian
    Kpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, other 20.1% (2008 Census)
    English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence
    Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.4% (2008 Census)
    4,195,666 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    0-14 years: 42.75% (male 904,495/female 889,198)
    15-24 years: 18.3% (male 376,224/female 391,568)
    25-54 years: 31.51% (male 658,291/female 663,954)
    55-64 years: 4.3% (male 87,606/female 92,831)
    65 years and over: 3.13% (male 64,697/female 66,802) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 82.9%
    youth dependency ratio: 77.4%
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.5%
    potential support ratio: 18.2% (2015 est.)
    total: 17.9 years
    male: 17.7 years
    female: 18.1 years (2014 est.)
    2.47% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    34.41 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    9.69 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    urban population: 49.7% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 3.36% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    MONROVIA (capital) 1.264 million (2015)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    total: 67.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 71.71 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 63.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    total population: 58.6 years
    male: 56.94 years
    female: 60.32 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    4.7 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    20.2% (2013)
    10% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    0.01 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    0.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    improved:
    urban: 88.6% of population
    rural: 62.6% of population
    total: 75.6% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 11.4% of population
    rural: 37.4% of population
    total: 24.4% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 28% of population
    rural: 5.9% of population
    total: 16.9% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 72% of population
    rural: 94.1% of population
    total: 83.1% of population (2015 est.)
    1.09% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    30,400 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    2,700 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    degree of risk: very high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever
    water contact disease: schistosomiasis
    aerosolized dust or soil contact disease: Lassa fever
    animal contact disease: rabies (2013)
    5.8% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    15.3% (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    2.8% of GDP (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 47.6%
    male: 62.4%
    female: 32.8% (2015 est.)
    total number: 177,160
    percentage: 21% (2007 est.)
    total: 5.1%
    male: 3.4%
    female: 6.6% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
  • Government :: LIBERIA

  • conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
    conventional short form: Liberia
    republic
    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)
    previous 1847 (at independence); latest drafted 19 October 1983, revised version adopted by referendum 3 July 1984, effective 6 January 1986; amended 2011 (2011)
    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 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, confirmed by the Senate
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term (eligible for a second term); election 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 in second round - Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF (UP) 90.7%, Winston TUBMAN (NDPL) 9.3%
    description: bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (30 seats; members directly elected in 15 two-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 9-year staggered terms with half the membership renewed at 3- and 6-year intervals; eligible for a second term; and the House of Representatives (73 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms; eligible for a second term)
    elections: Senate - last held on 20 December 2014 (originally scheduled for 14 October 2014, but postponed due to Ebola-virus epidemic; next to be held in fall 2020); 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, independent 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, independent 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]
    Alternative National Congress or ANC [Orishil GOULD]
    Congress for Democratic Change or CDC [George WEAH]
    Liberia Destiny Party or LDP [Nathaniel BARNES]
    Liberia Transformation Party or LTP [Julius SUKU]
    Liberty Party or LP [J. Fonati KOFFA]
    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 [Victor BARNEY]
    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), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Jeremiah Congbeh SULUNTEH (since 25 April 2012)
    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 (since 26 July 2012)
    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; national colors: red, white, blue
    name: "All Hail, Liberia Hail!"
    lyrics/music: Daniel Bashiel WARNER/Olmstead LUCA
    note: lyrics adopted 1847, music adopted 1860; the anthem's author later became the third president of Liberia
  • Economy :: LIBERIA

  • Liberia is a low income country that relies heavily on foreign assistance. It is richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture. It’s principal exports are iron ore, rubber, gold and timber. The Government has attempted to revive raw timber extraction and is encouraging oil exploration. In the 1990s and early 2000s, civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially infrastructure in and around the capital. With the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically elected government in 2006, businesses that had fled the country began to return. The country achieved high growth during 2010-13 due to favorable world prices for its commodities. However, in 2014 as the Ebolavirus began to spread, the economy declined and many businesses departed, taking capital and expertise with them. The epidemic forced the government to divert scarce resources to combat the spread of the virus, reducing funds available for needed public investment. Revitalizing the economy in the future will depend on increasing investment and trade, higher global commodity prices, sustained foreign aid and remittances, development of infrastructure and institutions, and maintaining political stability and security. The cost of addressing the Ebola epidemic will weigh heavily on public finances at the same time decreased economic activity reduces government revenue, although higher donor support will partly offset this loss.
    $3.691 billion (2014 est.)
    $3.672 billion (2013 est.)
    $3.38 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 178
    $2.028 billion (2014 est.)
    0.5% (2014 est.)
    8.7% (2013 est.)
    8.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    $900 (2014 est.)
    $900 (2013 est.)
    $800 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 225
    NA
    -35% of GDP (2012 est.)
    -35% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 116.3%
    government consumption: 18.4%
    investment in fixed capital: 25.4%
    investment in inventories: -1.6%
    exports of goods and services: 32.4%
    imports of goods and services: -89.5%
    (2011 est.)
    agriculture: 38.8%
    industry: 16.4%
    services: 44.7% (2012 est.)
    rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (manioc, tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
    mining (iron ore), rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
    50% (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    1.554 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    agriculture: 70%
    industry: 8%
    services: 22% (2000 est.)
    85% (2003 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    63.8% (2007 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.4%
    highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)
    revenues: $490.5 million
    expenditures: $581.7 million (2014 est.)
    23.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    -4.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    8.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
    4.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    calendar year
    9.9% (2014 est.)
    7.6% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    14% (31 December 2014 est.)
    13.48% (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    $512 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $459.1 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    $738.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $656 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    $605 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $690.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    $NA
    -$646 million (2014 est.)
    -$953.2 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    $897.9 million (2014 est.)
    $831.4 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
    China 18.9%, US 11.1%, Spain 10.6%, France 8.8%, Algeria 7.9%, Poland 6.8%, Germany 5.6%, Canada 4.2% (2013)
    $2.615 billion (2014 est.)
    $2.457 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
    Singapore 29.6%, South Korea 26.9%, China 17.9%, Japan 13.8% (2013)
    $625.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $586.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    $17.01 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $16.56 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $201 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $201 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    Liberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar -
    86.65 (2014 est.)
    77.52 (2013 est.)
    73.52 (2012 est.)
    72.227 (2011 est.)
    71.403 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: LIBERIA

  • 335 million kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    311.6 million kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    197,000 kW (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    100% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    3,780 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    23 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    3,673 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    541,600 Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
  • Communications :: LIBERIA

  • total subscriptions: 10,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    total: 3.2 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 79 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    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)
    AM 0, FM 10, shortwave 2 (2007)
    5 (plus 4 repeaters) (2007)
    .lr
    total: 177,600
    percent of population: 4.3% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
  • 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
    standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge
    narrow gauge: 84 km 1.067-m gauge
    note: most sections of the railways inoperable due to damage sustained during the civil wars from 1980 to 2003, but many are being rebuilt (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    total: 10,600 km
    paved: 657 km
    unpaved: 9,943 km (2000)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    total: 2,771
    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, Ukraine 10, Uruguay 1, US 53) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    major seaport(s): Buchanan, Monrovia
  • Military :: LIBERIA

  • Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Navy, Air Force
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
    males age 16-49: 815,826
    females age 16-49: 828,484 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 524,243
    females age 16-49: 544,349 (2010 est.)
    male: 36,585
    female: 38,516 (2010 est.)
    0.82% of GDP (2012)
    0.86% of GDP (2011)
    0.82% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 114
  • Transnational Issues :: LIBERIA

  • although civil unrest continues to abate with the assistance of 6,500 UN Mission in Liberia peacekeepers, as of January 2013, 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): 38,102 (Cote d'Ivoire) (2015)
    IDPs: up to 23,000 (civil war from 1990-2004; post-election violence in March and April 2011; unclear how many have found durable solutions; many dwell in slums in Monrovia) (2014)
    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
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