Africa :: Liberia
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Liberia
Location of Liberia
 
Map of 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 descendents 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 himself 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. The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) maintains a strong presence throughout the country, but the security situation is still fragile and the process of rebuilding the social and economic structure of this war-torn country will take many years.
Geography ::Liberia
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone
6 30 N, 9 30 W
total: 111,369 sq km
country comparison to the world: 103
land: 96,320 sq km
water: 15,049 sq km
slightly larger than Tennessee
total: 1,585 km
border countries: Guinea 563 km, Cote d'Ivoire 716 km, Sierra Leone 306 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
arable land: 3.43%
permanent crops: 1.98%
other: 94.59% (2005)
30 sq km (2003)
232 cu km (1987)
total: 0.11 cu km/yr (27%/18%/55%)
per capita: 34 cu m/yr (2000)
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 ::Liberia
3,441,790 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
0-14 years: 44.1% (male 760,989/female 758,554)
15-64 years: 53% (male 904,770/female 920,704)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 47,013/female 49,760) (2009 est.)
total: 18 years
male: 17.9 years
female: 18.2 years (2009 est.)
2.665% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
42.25 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
20.73 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
5.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
urban population: 60% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 5.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 138.24 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 4
male: 153.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 122.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 41.84 years
country comparison to the world: 218
male: 40.71 years
female: 43 years (2009 est.)
5.79 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
1.7% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
35,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
2,300 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
aerosolized dust or soil contact disease: Lassa fever
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
noun: Liberian(s)
adjective: Liberian
indigenous African 95% (including Kpelle, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, Dei, Bella, Mandingo, and Mende), Americo-Liberians 2.5% (descendants of immigrants from the US who had been slaves), Congo People 2.5% (descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean who had been slaves)
Christian 40%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 40%
English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.5%
male: 73.3%
female: 41.6% (2003 est.)
total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 8 years (2000)
NA
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)
6 January 1986
dual system of statutory law based on Anglo-American common law for the modern sector and customary law based on unwritten tribal practices for indigenous sector; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF (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)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 8 November 2005 (next to be held in October 2011)
election results: Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF elected president; percent of vote, second round - Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF 59.6%, George WEAH 40.4%
bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (30 seats; note - number of seats changed in 11 October 2005 elections; members elected by popular vote to serve nine-year terms) and the House of Representatives (64 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 11 October 2005 (next to be held in October 2011); House of Representatives - last held 11 October 2005 (next to be held in October 2011)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - COTOL 7, NPP 4, CDC 3, LP 3, UP 3, APD 3, other 7; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CDC 15, LP 9, COTOL 8, UP 8, APD 5, NPP 4, other 15
note: junior senators - those who received the second most votes in each county in the 11 October 2005 election - will only serve a six-year first term because the Liberian constitution mandates staggered Senate elections to ensure continuity of government; all senators will be eligible for nine-year terms thereafter
Supreme Court
Alliance for Peace and Democracy or APD [Togba-na TIPOTEH]; Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia or COTOL [H. Varney SHERMAN]; Congress for Democratic Change or CDC [George WEAH]; Liberty Party or LP [Charles BRUMSKINE]; National Patriotic Party or NPP [Roland MASSAQUOI]; Unity Party or UP [Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF]
other: demobilized former military officers
ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
chief of mission: Ambassador Milton Nathaniel BARNES
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 Linda THOMAS-GREENFIELD
embassy: 111 United Nations Drive, P. O. Box 98, Mamba Point, 1000 Monrovia, 10
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [231] 7-705-4826
FAX: [231] 7-701-0370
11 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; there is a white five-pointed star on a blue square in the upper hoist-side corner; the design was based on the US flag
Economy ::Liberia
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, some have returned. 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. 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. The reconstruction of infrastructure and the raising of incomes in this ravaged economy will largely depend on generous financial and technical assistance from donor countries and foreign investment in key sectors, such as infrastructure and power generation.
$1.526 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
$1.425 billion (2007 est.)
$1.303 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$836 million (2008 est.)
7.1% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
9.4% (2007 est.)
7.8% (2006 est.)
$500 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 226
$400 (2007 est.)
$400 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 76.9%
industry: 5.4%
services: 17.7% (2002 est.)
agriculture: 70%
industry: 8%
services: 22% (2000 est.)
85% (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
80% (2000 est.)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: NA
expenditures: NA
11.2% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 40
15.05% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 159
$145.6 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 165
$49.89 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 126
$1.157 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA
rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
NA%
350 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
325.5 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
4,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
23.37 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
4,263 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 74
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
$-224 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 90
$1.197 billion (2006)
country comparison to the world: 147
rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
Malaysia 38.2%, US 15.9%, Poland 12.3%, Germany 9%, Belgium 6% (2008)
$7.143 billion (2006)
country comparison to the world: 103
fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
South Korea 27.5%, Singapore 25.2%, Japan 11.6%, China 11.2% (2008)
$3.2 billion (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
$124.2 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
$NA
Liberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 59.43 (2006), 53.098 (2005), 54.906 (2004), 59.379 (2003)
Communications ::Liberia
2,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 224
732,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 148
general assessment: the limited services available are found almost exclusively in the capital Monrovia; coverage extended to a number of other towns and rural areas by four mobile-cellular network operators
domestic: fixed line service stagnant and extremely limited; mobile-cellular subscription base growing and teledensity exceeding 20 per 100 persons
international: country code - 231; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
AM 0, FM 10, shortwave 2 (2007)
4 (plus 4 repeaters) (2007)
.lr
5 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 226
20,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 190
Transportation ::Liberia
33 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 112
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)
total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 18 (2009)
total: 429 km
country comparison to the world: 118
standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 84 km 1.067-m gauge
note: most sections of the railway are inoperable because of damage suffered during the civil wars from 1980 to 2003 (2008)
total: 10,600 km
country comparison to the world: 137
paved: 657 km
unpaved: 9,943 km (2000)
total: 2,204
country comparison to the world: 2
by type: barge carrier 3, bulk carrier 390, cargo 107, chemical tanker 241, combination ore/oil 7, container 750, liquefied gas 84, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 460, refrigerated cargo 103, roll on/roll off 7, specialized tanker 12, vehicle carrier 36
foreign-owned: 2,109 (Argentina 3, Belgium 4, Brazil 3, Canada 7, China 11, Croatia 2, Cyprus 63, Denmark 12, Estonia 1, France 5, Germany 849, Gibraltar 5, Greece 358, Hong Kong 44, India 2, Indonesia 2, Isle of Man 5, Israel 23, Italy 41, Japan 116, South Korea 3, Latvia 21, Lebanon 2, Mexico 2, Monaco 8, Netherlands 6, Nigeria 2, Norway 40, Poland 13, Qatar 4, Romania 2, Russia 94, Saudi Arabia 27, Singapore 32, Slovenia 3, Sweden 10, Switzerland 13, Taiwan 91, Turkey 7, Ukraine 25, UAE 23, UK 20, US 98, Uruguay 3, Vietnam 4) (2008)
Buchanan, Monrovia
Military ::Liberia
Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Navy, Air Force
16 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
males age 16-49: 729,813
females age 16-49: 741,223 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 387,417
females age 16-49: 382,334 (2009 est.)
male: 34,059
female: 33,281 (2009 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
Transnational Issues ::Liberia
although civil unrest continues to abate with the assistance of 18,000 UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) 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 (UNOCI) 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): 12,600 (Cote d'Ivoire)
IDPs: 13,000 (civil war from 1990-2004; IDP resettlement began in November 2004) (2007)
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