Africa :: Liberia
  • Introduction :: Liberia
  • Background:
    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 but was 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. In July 2016, the UN handed over peacekeeping responsibility to Liberia and reduced the UN troop presence, which now serves a support role. Constitutional term limits barred President JOHNSON SIRLEAF from running for re-election. The November 2017 presidential runoff election was halted pending a ruling on fraud allegations.
  • Geography :: Liberia
  • Location:
    Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone
    Geographic coordinates:
    6 30 N, 9 30 W
    Map references:
    Africa
    Area:
    total: 111,369 sq km
    land: 96,320 sq km
    water: 15,049 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Area - comparative:
    slightly larger than Tennessee
    Land boundaries:
    total: 1,667 km
    border countries (3): Guinea 590 km, Cote d'Ivoire 778 km, Sierra Leone 299 km
    Coastline:
    579 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 200 nm
    Climate:
    tropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers
    Terrain:
    mostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast
    Elevation:
    mean elevation: 243 m
    elevation extremes: 0 m lowest point: Atlantic Ocean
    1447 highest point: Mount Wuteve
    Natural resources:
    iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 28.1% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 5.2% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 2.1% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 20.8% (2011 est.)
    forest: 44.6% (2011 est.)
    other: 27.3% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    30 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    more than half of the population lives in urban areas, with approximately one-third living within an 80-km radius of Monrovia
    Natural hazards:
    dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)
    Environment - current issues:
    tropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; hunting of endangered species for bushmeat; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage; pollution of rivers from industrial run-off; burning and dumping of household waste
    Environment - international agreements:
    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
    Geography - note:
    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
  • Population:
    4,809,768 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    Nationality:
    noun: Liberian(s)
    adjective: Liberian
    Ethnic groups:
    Kpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, Krahn 4%, Vai 4%, Mandingo 3.2%, Gbandi 3%, Mende 1.3%, Sapo 1.3%, other Liberian 1.7%, other African 1.4%, non-African .1% (2008 est.)
    Languages:
    English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence
    Religions:
    Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.5% (2008 est.)
    Demographic profile:

    Liberia’s high fertility rate of nearly 5 children per woman and large youth cohort – more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25 – will sustain a high dependency ratio for many years to come. Significant progress has been made in preventing child deaths, despite a lack of health care workers and infrastructure. Infant and child mortality have dropped nearly 70% since 1990; the annual reduction rate of about 5.4% is the highest in Africa.

    Nevertheless, Liberia’s high maternal mortality rate remains among the world’s worst; it reflects a high unmet need for family planning services, frequency of early childbearing, lack of quality obstetric care, high adolescent fertility, and a low proportion of births attended by a medical professional. Female mortality is also increased by the prevalence of female genital cutting (FGC), which is practiced by 10 of Liberia’s 16 tribes and affects more than two-thirds of women and girls. FGC is an initiation ritual performed in rural bush schools, which teach traditional beliefs on marriage and motherhood and are an obstacle to formal classroom education for Liberian girls.

    Liberia has been both a source and a destination for refugees. During Liberia’s 14-year civil war (1989-2003), more than 250,000 people became refugees and another half million were internally displaced. Between 2004 and the cessation of refugee status for Liberians in June 2012, the UNHCR helped more than 155,000 Liberians to voluntarily repatriate, while others returned home on their own. Some Liberian refugees spent more than two decades living in other West African countries. Liberia hosted more than 125,000 Ivoirian refugees escaping post-election violence in 2010-11; as of mid-2017, about 12,000 Ivoirian refugees were still living in Liberia as of October 2017 because of instability.

    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 43.72% (male 1,062,766 /female 1,040,211)
    15-24 years: 19.9% (male 478,041 /female 478,999)
    25-54 years: 30.1% (male 711,963 /female 735,878)
    55-64 years: 3.43% (male 84,474 /female 80,410)
    65 years and over: 2.85% (male 67,229 /female 69,797) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 83.2 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 77.6 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.5 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 18.1 (2015 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 17.8 years
    male: 17.6 years
    female: 18.1 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 217
    Population growth rate:
    2.59% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    Birth rate:
    37.9 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    Death rate:
    7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    Net migration rate:
    -5.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    Population distribution:
    more than half of the population lives in urban areas, with approximately one-third living within an 80-km radius of Monrovia
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 51.2% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 3.41% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    1.418 million MONROVIA (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 0.97 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth:
    19.2 years (2013 est.)

    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

    Maternal mortality rate:
    725 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 50.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 55 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 46 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 63.8 years (2018 est.)
    male: 61.6 years (2018 est.)
    female: 66 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    Total fertility rate:
    5 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Contraceptive prevalence rate:
    31% (2016)
    Health expenditures:
    10% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    Physicians density:
    0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    Hospital bed density:
    0.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 88.6% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 62.6% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 75.6% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 11.4% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 37.4% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 24.4% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 28% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 5.9% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 16.9% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 72% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 94.1% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 83.1% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    1.4% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    40,000 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    2,500 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Major infectious diseases:
    degree of risk: very high (2016)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever (2016)
    vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever (2016)
    water contact diseases: schistosomiasis (2016)
    animal contact diseases: rabies (2016)
    aerosolized dust or soil contact diseases: Lassa fever (2016)
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
    9.9% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
    15.3% (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Education expenditures:
    2.8% of GDP (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    Literacy:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
    total population: 47.6% (2015 est.)
    male: 62.4% (2015 est.)
    female: 32.8% (2015 est.)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 3.3% (2010 est.)
    male: 2.5% (2010 est.)
    female: 4.1% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
  • Government :: Liberia
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
    conventional short form: Liberia
    etymology: name derives from the Latin word "liber" meaning "free"; so named because the nation was created as a homeland for liberated African-American slaves
    Government type:
    presidential republic
    Capital:
    name: Monrovia
    geographic coordinates: 6 18 N, 10 48 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions:
    15 counties; Bomi, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Lofa, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba, River Cess, River Gee, Sinoe
    Independence:
    26 July 1847
    National holiday:
    Independence Day, 26 July (1847)
    Constitution:
    history: previous 1847 (at independence); latest drafted 19 October 1983, revised version adopted by referendum 3 July 1984, effective 6 January 1986 (2018)
    amendments: proposed by agreement of at least two-thirds of both National Assembly houses or by petition of at least 10,000 citizens; passage requires at least two-thirds majority approval of both houses and approval in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of registered voters; amended 2011 (2018)
    International law organization participation:
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship:
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Liberia
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 2 years
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President George WEAH (since 22 January 2018); Vice President Jewel TAYLOR (since 22 January 2018); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President George WEAH (since 22 January 2018); Vice President Jewel Taylor (since 22 January 2018)
    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 10 October 2017 with a run-off on 26 December 2017); the runoff originally scheduled for 7 November 2017 was been halted pending a ruling on fraud allegations, which the Supreme Court dismissed
    election results: George WEAH elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - George WEAH (Coalition for Democratic Change) 38.4%, Joseph BOAKAI (UP) 28.8%, Charles BRUMSKINE (LP) 9.6%, Prince JOHNSON (MDR) 8.2%, Alexander B. CUMMINGS (ANC) 7.2%, other 7.8%; percentage of vote in second round - George WEAH 61.5%, Joseph BOAKAI 38.5%
    Legislative branch:
    description: bicameral National Assembly consists of:
    The Liberian Senate (30 seats; members directly elected in 15 2-seat districts by simple majority vote to serve 9-year staggered terms; each district elects 1 senator and elects the second senator 3 years later, followed by a 6-year hiatus, after which the first Senate seat is up for election)
    House of Representatives (73 seats; members directly elected in single-seat districts 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 October 2020)
    House of Representatives - last held on 10 October 2017 (next to be held in October 2023)
    election results:
    Senate - percent of vote by party - CDC 29.8%, UP 10.3%, LP 11.5%, NPP 6.1%, PUP 4.9%, ANC 4.2%, NDC 1.3%, other 7.6%, independent 24.3%; seats by party - UP 4, CDC 2, LP 2, ANC 1, NDC 1, NPP 1, PUP 1, independent 3
    House of Representatives - percent of vote by party/coalition - Coalition for Democratic Change 15.6%, UP 14%, LP 8.7%, ANC 6.1%, PUP 5.9%, ALP 5.1%, MDR 3.4%, other 41.2%; seats by party/coalition - Coalition for Democratic Change 21, UP 19, PUP 5, LP 3, ALP 3, MDR 2, independent 12, other 6, vacant 2
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: 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
    Political parties and leaders:
    Alliance for Peace and Democracy or APD [Marcus S. G. DAHN]
    All Liberian Party or ALP [Benoi UREY]
    Alternative National Congress or ANC [Orishil GOULD]
    Coalition for Democratic Change [George WEAH] (includes CDC, NPP, LPDP)Congress for Democratic Change or CDC [George WEAH]
    Liberia Destiny Party or LDP [Nathaniel BARNES]
    Liberia National Union or LINU [Nathaniel BLAMA]
    Liberia Transformation Party or LTP [Julius SUKU]
    Liberian People Democratic Party or LPDP [Alex J. TYLER]
    Liberian People's Party or LPP
    Liberty Party or LP [J. Fonati KOFFA]
    Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR [Prince Y. JOHNSON]
    Movement for Economic Empowerment [J. Mill JONES, Dr.]
    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 [Jewel HOWARD TAYLOR]
    National Reformist Party or NRP [Maximillian T. W. DIABE]
    National Union for Democratic Progress or NUDP [Victor BARNEY]
    People's Unification Party or PUP [Isobe GBORKORKOLLIE]
    Unity Party or UP [Varney SHERMAN]
    United People's Party [MacDonald WENTO]
    Victory for Change Party [Marcus R. JONES]
    International organization participation:
    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)
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Lois Cheche BRUTUS (since 29 November 2017)
    chancery: 5201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
    telephone: [1] (202) 723-0437
    FAX: [1] (202) 723-0436
    consulate(s) general: New York
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Christine A. ELDER (since 23 June 2016)
    embassy: U.S. Embassy, 502 Benson Street, Monrovia
    mailing address: P.O. Box 98, Monrovia
    telephone: [231] 77-677-7000
    FAX: [231] 77-677-7370
    Flag description:
    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

    National symbol(s):
    white star; national colors: red, white, blue
    National anthem:
    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
  • Economy - overview:

    Liberia is a low-income country that relies heavily on foreign assistance and remittances from the diaspora. It is richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture. Its principal exports are iron ore, rubber, diamonds, and gold. Palm oil and cocoa are emerging as new export products. 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. Much of the conflict was fueled by control over Liberia’s natural resources. 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 the period 2010-13 due to favorable world prices for its commodities. However, during the 2014-2015 Ebola crisis, the economy declined and many foreign-owned businesses departed with their capital and expertise. The epidemic forced the government to divert scarce resources to combat the spread of the virus, reducing funds available for needed public investment. The cost of addressing the Ebola epidemic coincided with decreased economic activity reducing government revenue, although higher donor support significantly offset this loss. During the same period, global commodities prices for key exports fell and have yet to recover to pre-Ebola levels.

    In 2017, gold was a key driver of growth, as a new mining project began its first full year of production; iron ore exports are also increased as Arcelor Mittal opened new mines at Mount Gangra. The completion of the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydroelectric Dam increased electricity production to support ongoing and future economic activity, although electricity tariffs remain high relative to other countries in the region and transmission infrastructure is limited. Presidential and legislative elections in October 2017 generated election-related spending pressures.

    Revitalizing the economy in the future will depend on economic diversification, increasing investment and trade, higher global commodity prices, sustained foreign aid and remittances, development of infrastructure and institutions, combating corruption, and maintaining political stability and security.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $6.112 billion (2017 est.)
    $5.965 billion (2016 est.)
    $6.064 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 173
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $3.285 billion (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    2.5% (2017 est.)
    -1.6% (2016 est.)
    0% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $1,300 (2017 est.)
    $1,300 (2016 est.)
    $1,300 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 221
    Gross national saving:
    NA% (2017)
    -21.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
    1.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 128.8% (2016 est.)
    government consumption: 16.7% (2016 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 19.5% (2016 est.)
    investment in inventories: 6.7% (2016 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 17.5% (2016 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -89.2% (2016 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 34% (2017 est.)
    industry: 13.8% (2017 est.)
    services: 52.2% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (manioc, tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
    Industries:
    mining (iron ore and gold), rubber processing, palm oil processing, diamonds
    Industrial production growth rate:
    9% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    Labor force:
    1.677 million (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 70%
    industry: 8%
    services: 22% (2000 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    2.8% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    Population below poverty line:
    54.1% (2014 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 30.1% (2007)
    highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index:
    32 (2014)
    38.2 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Budget:
    revenues: 553.6 million (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 693.8 million (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    16.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    -4.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    Public debt:
    34.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
    28.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Fiscal year:
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    12.4% (2017 est.)
    8.8% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    Central bank discount rate:
    3.2% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    Commercial bank prime lending rate:
    13.3% (31 December 2017 est.)
    13.59% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    Stock of narrow money:
    $423 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $438.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Stock of broad money:
    $423 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $438.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Stock of domestic credit:
    $792.3 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $789.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    Market value of publicly traded shares:

    NA

    Current account balance:
    -$627 million (2017 est.)
    -$464 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    Exports:
    $260.6 million (2017 est.)
    $169.8 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Exports - partners:
    Germany 36.2%, Switzerland 14.2%, UAE 8.8%, US 6.8%, Indonesia 4.7% (2017)
    Exports - commodities:
    rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
    Imports:
    $1.166 billion (2017 est.)
    $1.296 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Imports - commodities:
    fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
    Imports - partners:
    Singapore 29.8%, China 24.4%, South Korea 17.5%, Japan 9.4% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
    $459.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $528.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Debt - external:
    $1.036 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $938.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
    $17.01 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $16.56 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
    $201 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $201 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    Exchange rates:
    Liberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar -
    109.4 (2017 est.)
    93.4 (2016 est.)
    93.4 (2015 est.)
    85.3 (2014 est.)
    83.893 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Liberia
  • Electricity access:
    population without electricity: 3.9 million (2013)
    electrification - total population: 10% (2013)
    electrification - urban areas: 17% (2013)
    electrification - rural areas: 3% (2013)
    Electricity - production:
    300 million kWh (2016 est.)

    note: according to a 2014 household survey, only 4.5% of Liberians use Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) power, 4.9% use a community generator, 4.4% have their own generator, 3.9% use vehicle batteries, and 0.8% use other sources of electricity, and 81.3% have no access to electricity; LEC accounts for roughly 70 million kWh of ouput.

    country comparison to the world: 184
    Electricity - consumption:
    279 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    Electricity - exports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    Electricity - imports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    151,000 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    57% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    43% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    8,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    8,181 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    1.163 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
  • Communications :: Liberia
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 8,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 3,117,002 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 66 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    Telephone system:
    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 (2015)
    domestic: mobile-cellular subscription base growing and teledensity approached 90 per 100 persons in 2016 (2015)
    international: country code - 231; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
    Broadcast media:
    8 private and 1 government-owned TV station; satellite TV service available; 1 state-owned radio station; 19 independent radio stations broadcasting in Monrovia, with another 77 local stations operating in other areas; transmissions of 4 international broadcasters are available (2017)
    Internet country code:
    .lr
    Internet users:
    total: 314,717 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 7.3% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 8,000 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
  • Transportation :: Liberia
  • Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    A8 (2016)
    Airports:
    29 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 2 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 27 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2013)
    under 914 m: 14 (2013)
    Pipelines:
    4 km oil (2013)
    Railways:
    total: 429 km (2008)
    standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
    narrow gauge: 84 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)

    note: most sections of the railways inoperable due to damage sustained during the civil wars from 1980 to 2003, but many are being rebuilt

    country comparison to the world: 117
    Roadways:
    total: 10,600 km (2000)
    paved: 657 km (2000)
    unpaved: 9,943 km (2000)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    Merchant marine:
    total: 3,296 (2017)
    by type: bulk carrier 984, container ship 892, general cargo 120, oil tanker 750, other 550 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Buchanan, Monrovia
  • Military and Security :: Liberia
  • Military expenditures:
    0.62% of GDP (2016)
    0.66% of GDP (2015)
    0.71% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Military branches:
    Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Navy, Air Force (2014)
    Military service age and obligation:
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: Liberia
  • Disputes - international:
    as the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) continues to drawdown prior to the 1 March 2018 closure date, the peacekeeping force is being reduced to 434 soldiers and two police unitssome Liberian refugees still remain in Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and GhanaLiberia shelters almost 15,000 Ivoirian refugees, as of May 2017; in 2017, Liberia's 3 refugee camps will be converted into "settlements" and remaining Ivoirian refugees will be integrated into local communities
    Refugees and internally displaced persons:
    refugees (country of origin): 9,202 (Cote d'Ivoire) (2018)
    IDPs: up to 23,000 (civil war from 1990-2004; post-election violence in March and April 2011; many dwell in slums in Monrovia) (2014)
    Illicit drugs:
    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