Photos of Liberia

Introduction

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. Constitutional term limits barred President JOHNSON SIRLEAF from running for re-election. Legal challenges delayed the 2017 presidential runoff election, which was eventually won by George WEAH. In March 2018, the UN completed its 15-year peacekeeping mission in Liberia.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone

Area

total: 111,369 sq km

land: 96,320 sq km

water: 15,049 sq km

country comparison to the world: 104

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: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 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

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,447 m

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 as shown in this population distribution map

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

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: 43.35% (male 1,111,479/female 1,087,871)

15-24 years: 20.35% (male 516,136/female 516,137)

25-54 years: 30.01% (male 747,983/female 774,615)

55-64 years: 3.46% (male 89,150/female 86,231)

65 years and over: 2.83% (male 70,252/female 73,442) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 77.6

youth dependency ratio: 71.7

elderly dependency ratio: 5.9

potential support ratio: 17 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 18 years

male: 17.7 years

female: 18.2 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 215

Birth rate

36.96 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

Death rate

6.78 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 102

Net migration rate

-2.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Population distribution

more than half of the population lives in urban areas, with approximately one-third living within an 80-km radius of Monrovia as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 52.1% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 3.41% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.517 million MONROVIA (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 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

661 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

Infant mortality rate

total: 45.98 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 50.16 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 41.68 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 193

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 65.1 years

male: 62.86 years

female: 67.4 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 93.8% of population

rural: 67.9% of population

total: 81% of population

unimproved: urban: 6.2% of population

rural: 32.1% of population

total: 19% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.04 physicians/1,000 population (2015)

Hospital bed density

0.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 64.1% of population

rural: 23.5% of population

total: 44.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 35.9% of population

rural: 76.5% of population

total: 55.9% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

aerosolized dust or soil contact diseases: Lassa fever

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 48.3%

male: 62.7%

female: 34.1% (2017)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 2.3%

male: 2.4%

female: 2.2% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 174

Government

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)

etymology: named after James Monroe (1758-1831), the fifth president of the United States and supporter of the colonization of Liberia by freed slaves; one of two national capitals named for a US president, the other is Washington, D.C.

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

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

Legal system

mixed legal system of common law, based on Anglo-American law, and customary law

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 HOWARD-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 HOWARD-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) (next to be held on 10 October 2023); the runoff originally scheduled for 7 November 2017 was delayed due to allegations of fraud in the first round, 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 ; byelection to fill the senate seats vacated by WEAH and HOWARD-TAYLOR was held on 31 July 2018 (next general election to be held on 31 December 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; composition - men 27, women 3, percent of women 10%
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 coalition/party - Coalition for Democratic Change 21, UP 20, PUP 5, LP 3, ALP 3, MDR 2, independent 13, other 6; composition - men 64, women 9, percent of women 12.3%; total Parliament percent of women 11.7%

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, and 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 George PATTEN (since 11 January 2019)

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: Charge d'Affaires Alyson GRUNDER (since 21 March2020)

telephone: [231] 77-677-7000

embassy: U.S. Embassy, 502 Benson Street, Monrovia

mailing address: P.O. Box 98, Monrovia

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

Economic 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 (official exchange rate)

$3.071 billion (2019 est.)

Gross national saving

-21.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

1.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 184

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 34% (2017 est.)

industry: 13.8% (2017 est.)

services: 52.2% (2017 est.)

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.)

Agricultural products

cassava, sugar cane, oil palm fruit, rice, bananas, vegetables, plantains, rubber, taro, maize

Industries

mining (iron ore and gold), rubber processing, palm oil processing, diamonds

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 70%

industry: 8%

services: 22% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.4%

highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)

Budget

revenues: 553.6 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 693.8 million (2017 est.)

Public debt

34.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

28.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 154

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$627 million (2017 est.)

-$464 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 129

Exports

$330 million (2019 est.)

$362 million (2018 est.)

$359 million (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 184

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

$1.82 billion (2019 est.)

$1.956 billion (2018 est.)

$2.118 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 174

Imports - partners

Singapore 29.8%, China 24.4%, South Korea 17.5%, Japan 9.4% (2017)

Imports - commodities

fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs

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: 164

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

Electricity access

population without electricity: 4 million (2019)

electrification - total population: 12% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 18% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 6% (2019)

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

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 8,394

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 193

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2,793,316

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 56.57 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 145

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the limited services available are found almost exclusively in the capital, Monrovia; fixed-line service is stagnant and extremely limited; telephone coverage recently extended to a number of other towns and rural areas by four mobile-cellular network operators; Liberia is almost entirely a wireless telecommunications market; a number of operators avoid paying dues and operate despite regulations; govt. regulatory impose SIM card registration in an attempt to reduce crime, but makes mobile penetration seem low; the high cost and limited bandwidth of connections means that Internet access is expensive and data rates are very low (2020)

domestic: fixed-line less than 1 per 100; mobile-cellular subscription base growing and teledensity approached 57 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 231; landing point for the ACE submarine cable linking 20 West African countries and Europe; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

8 private and 1 government-owned TV station; satellite TV service available; 1 state-owned radio station; approximately 20 independent radio stations broadcasting in Monrovia, with approximately 80 more local stations operating in other areas; transmissions of 4 international (including the British Broadcasting Corporation and Radio France Internationale) broadcasters are available (2019)

Internet users

total: 383,819

percent of population: 7.98% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 159

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 8,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 174

Transportation

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2 (2019)

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

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 (2018)

paved: 657 km (2018)

unpaved: 9,943 km (2018)

country comparison to the world: 135

Merchant marine

total: 3,716

by type: bulk carrier 1,325, container ship 858, general cargo 141, oil tanker 820, other 572 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 5

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Buchanan, Monrovia

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Liberia Air Wing, Liberian Coast Guard (2019)

Military expenditures

0.5% of GDP (2019)

0.4% of GDP (2018)

0.4% of GDP (2017)

0.4% of GDP (2016)

0.5% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 147

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) have approximately 2,000 personnel (2019)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the AFL has almost no significant combat hardware as nearly all aircraft, equipment, materiel, and facilities were damaged or destroyed during the country's civil war; it has received little new equipment outside of ammunition, small arms, and trucks from China in 2008 and boats donated to the Coast Guard by the US in 2011 and 2016 (2019)

Military deployments

150 Mali (MINUSMA) (2020)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Transnational Issues

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 units; some Liberian refugees still remain in Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Ghana; Liberia shelters 8,804 Ivoirian refugees, as of 2019

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 8,098 (Cote d'Ivoire) (2020)

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