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Liberia, See : Flags, Maps

Liberia (Africa)

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 continues.

Geography ::Liberia


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

Geographic coordinates:
6 30 N, 9 30 W

Map references:



total: 111,369 sq km country comparison to the world: 103 land: 96,320 sq km

water: 15,049 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries:

total: 1,585 km

border countries: Guinea 563 km, Cote d'Ivoire 716 km, Sierra Leone 306 km


579 km

Maritime claims:

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

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m

Natural resources:

iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 3.43%

permanent crops: 1.98%

other: 94.59% (2005)

Irrigated land:

30 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

232 cu km (1987)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.11 cu km/yr (27%/18%/55%)

per capita: 34 cu m/yr (2000)

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; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage

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 ::Liberia


3,685,076 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 129

Age structure:

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) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 18.4 years

male: 18.3 years

female: 18.4 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.782% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 19

Birth rate:

38.14 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 18

Death rate:

10.88 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 41

Net migration rate:

0.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 61


urban population: 60% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 5.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 76.43 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 18 male: 80.92 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 71.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 56.58 years country comparison to the world: 194 male: 55.05 years

female: 58.14 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

5.24 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 16

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

1.7% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 35

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

35,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 68

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

2,300 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 59

Major infectious diseases:

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

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%, other 20.1% (2008 Census)


Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.4% (2008 Census)


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.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 11 years

male: 13 years

female: 9 years (2000)

Education expenditures:

2.7% of GDP (2008) country comparison to the world: 157

Government ::Liberia

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Liberia

conventional short form: Liberia

Government type:



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


26 July 1847

National holiday:

Independence Day, 26 July (1847)


6 January 1986

Legal system:

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

Executive branch:

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 (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 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%

Legislative branch:

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 on 11 October 2005 (next to be held in October 2011); House of Representatives - last held on 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 - the UP now holds 13 out of 30 senate seats and 16 out of 64 house seats following a merger with several smaller parties in 2009

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

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders:

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]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: demobilized former military officers

International organization participation:

(correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO,

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Edwin F. SELE

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 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

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 anthem:

name: "All Hail, Liberia Hail!"

lyrics/music: Daniel Bashiel WARNER/Olmstead LUCA

note: lyrics adopted 1847, music adopted 1860; the anthem's author would become the third president of Liberia

Economy ::Liberia

Economy - overview:

Liberia is a low income country heavily reliant on foreign assistance for revenue. Civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. Many businesses fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them, but with the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically-elected government in 2006, several have returned. Liberia has the distinction of having the highest ratio of direct foreign investment to GDP in the world. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products, primarily raw timber and rubber and is reviving those sectors. Local manufacturing, mainly foreign owned, had been small in scope. President JOHNSON SIRLEAF, a Harvard-trained banker and administrator, has taken steps to reduce corruption, build support from international donors, and encourage private investment. Embargos on timber and diamond exports have been lifted, opening new sources of revenue for the government and Liberia shipped its first major timber exports to Europe in 2010. The country reached its Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative completion point in 2010 and nearly $5 billion of international debt was permanently eliminated. This new status will enable Liberia to estabilish a sovereign credit rating and issue bonds. Liberia's Paris Club creditors agreed to cancel Liberia's debt as well. Rebuilding infrastructure and raising incomes will depend on generous financial and technical assistance from donor countries and foreign investment in key sectors, such as infrastructure and power generation.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$1.76 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 190 $1.66 billion (2009 est.)

$1.587 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$977 million (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

6% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 40 4.6% (2009 est.)

8.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$500 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 226 $500 (2009 est.)

$500 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 76.9%

industry: 5.4%

services: 17.7% (2002 est.)

Labor force:

1.372 million (2007) country comparison to the world: 134

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 70%

industry: 8%

services: 22% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:

85% (2003 est.) country comparison to the world: 198

Population below poverty line:

80% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.4%

highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

11.2% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 202

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

14.4% (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 45 15.05% (31 December 2007)

Stock of narrow money:

$206.9 million (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 174 $145.6 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of broad money:

$NA (31 December 2009)

$NA (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:

$1.202 billion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 145 $1.157 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber


rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:

350 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 164

Electricity - consumption:

325.5 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 165

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 153

Oil - consumption:

4,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 174

Oil - exports:

23 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 136

Oil - imports:

4,263 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 163

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 158

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 164

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 119

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 161

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 163

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 150

Current account balance:

-$224 million (2007) country comparison to the world: 92


$1.197 billion (2006) country comparison to the world: 148

Exports - commodities:

rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee

Exports - partners:

Germany 27.92%, Poland 17.12%, South Africa 15.83%, India 10.48%,
Greece 7.09%, US 6.23%, Norway 5.24% (2009)


$7.143 billion (2006) country comparison to the world: 102

Imports - commodities:

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

Imports - partners:

South Korea 28.29%, Singapore 19.06%, Japan 17.06%, China 14.58%,
Taiwan 4.02% (2009)

Debt - external:

$3.2 billion (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 125

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Exchange rates:

Liberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 59.43 (2006), 53.098 (2005), 54.906 (2004), 59.379 (2003)

Communications ::Liberia

Telephones - main lines in use:

2,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 224

Telephones - mobile cellular:

842,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 148

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

domestic: mobile-cellular subscription base growing and teledensity reached 25 per 100 persons in 2009

international: country code - 231; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)

Broadcast media:

3 private TV stations; satellite TV service is 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)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

8 (2010) country comparison to the world: 224

Internet users:

20,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 193

Transportation ::Liberia


29 (2010) country comparison to the world: 115

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 2

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 27

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 8

under 914 m: 14 (2010)


total: 429 km country comparison to the world: 117 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: 135 paved: 657 km

unpaved: 9,943 km (2000)

Merchant marine:

total: 2,512 country comparison to the world: 2 by type: barge carrier 3, bulk carrier 507, cargo 136, carrier 1, chemical tanker 232, combination ore/oil 6, container 875, liquefied gas 93, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 509, refrigerated cargo 109, roll on/roll off 2, specialized tanker 10, vehicle carrier 25

foreign-owned: 2,356 (Angola 1, Argentina 3, Australia 2, Belgium 1, Bermuda 4, Brazil 20, Canada 4, Chile 7, China 10, Croatia 2, Cyprus 7, Denmark 4, Finland 2, Germany 1049, Gibraltar 5, Greece 454, Hong Kong 47, India 1, Indonesia 4, Isle of Man 19, Israel 31, Italy 48, Japan 102, Latvia 9, Lebanon 1, Monaco 10, Netherlands 35, Nigeria 4, Norway 42, Poland 13, Qatar 5, Romania 3, Russia 108, Saudi Arabia 24, Singapore 27, Slovenia 5, South Korea 1, Sweden 10, Switzerland 17, Syria 1, Taiwan 88, Turkey 15, UAE 27, UK 25, Ukraine 16, Uruguay 1, US 39, Vietnam 3) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Buchanan, Monrovia

Military ::Liberia

Military branches:

Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Navy, Air Force

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 797,084

females age 16-49: 808,017 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 510,337

females age 16-49: 527,737 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 33,411

female: 35,264 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1.3% of GDP (2006 est.) country comparison to the world: 116

Transnational Issues ::Liberia

Disputes - international:

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 and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 12,600 (Cote d'Ivoire)

IDPs: 13,000 (civil war from 1990-2004; IDP resettlement began in
November 2004) (2007)

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


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