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Countries > Liberia Liberia Flag

Languages   9 languages are spoken in Liberia. We have 4192 products available for 7 of those languages.


Capital: Monrovia
Population: 2,600,000
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Liberia Map

Introduction

Current issues: Years of civil strife have destroyed much of Liberia's economic infrastructure, made civil administration nearly impossible, and brought economic activity virtually to a halt. The deterioration of economic conditions has been greatly exacerbated by the flight of most business people with their expertise and capital. Civil order ended in 1990 when President Samuel Kenyon DOE was killed by rebel forces. In April 1996, when forces loyal to faction leaders Charles Ghankay TAYLOR and Alhaji KROMAH attacked rival ethnic Krahn factions, the fighting further damaged Monrovia's dilapidated infrastructure. Fighting waned in late May 1996, allowing West African peacekeepers to regain control of Monrovia. The Abuja II peace accord was signed in August 1996 replacing the Chairman of the ruling Council of State, Wilton SANKAWULO, with Ruth PERRY. National elections were scheduled for 30 May 1997, but long-term prospects for peace will remain poor unless the warring factions can overcome their greed, mutual suspicions and ethnic hatreds.

Geography

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: 111,370 sq km
land : 96,320 sq km
water: 15,050 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

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 extremes:
lowest point : Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m

Natural resources: iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold

Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 3%
permanent pastures: 59%
forests and woodland: 18%
other: 19% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 30 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)

Environment - current issues: tropical rain forest subject to deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of rivers from the dumping of iron ore tailings and of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation

People

Population: 3,288,198 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43.3% (male 714,563; female 709,582)
15-64 years:53.2% (male 854,324; female 894,753)
65 years and over : 3.5% (male 57,925; female 57,051) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.91% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 45.95 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 16.05 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:-10.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: by the end of 1999, all Liberian refugees who had fled the domestic strife were assumed to have returned (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth : 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female
total population : 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 130.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 51.8 years
male :50.33 years
female: 53.33 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.29 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Nationality:
noun : Liberian(s)
adjective: Liberian

Ethnic groups: indigenous African tribes 95% (including Kpelle, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, and Bella), Americo-Liberians 5% (descendants of former slaves)

Religions: traditional 70%, Muslim 20%, Christian 10%

Languages: English 20% (official), about 20 tribal languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence

Literacy:
definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 38.3%
male : 53.9%
female: 22.4% (1995 est.)

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
conventional short form: Liberia

Data code: LI

Government type: republic

National capital: Monrovia

Administrative divisions: 15 counties; Bomi, Bong, Gparbolu, 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: 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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Charles Ghankay TAYLOR (since 2 August 1997); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government :President Charles Ghankay TAYLOR (since 2 August 1997); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (renewable); election last held 19 July 1997 (next to be held NA July 2003)
Election results Charles Ghankay TAYLOR elected president; percent of vote - Charles Ghankay TAYLOR (NPP) 75.3%, Ellen Johnson SIRLEAF (UP) 9.6%, Alhaji KROMAH (ALCOP) 4%, other 11.1%

Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (26 seats; 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 19 July 1997 (next to be held NA 2006); House of Representatives - last held 19 July 1997 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NPP 21, UP 3, ALCOP 2; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NPP 49, UP 7, ALCOP 3, Alliance of Political Parties 2, UPP 2, LPP 1; note - the Alliance of Political Parties was a coalition of the LAP and the Liberia Unification Party or LUP

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: pAll Liberia Coalition Party or ALCOP [David KORTIE]; Free Democratic Party or FDP [George BORWAH]; Liberian Action Party or LAP [C. Gyude BRYANT]; Liberian National Union or LINU [Victor MOMOH]; Liberian People's Party or LPP [Koffa NAGBE]; National Democratic Party of Liberia or NDPL [Isaac D. DIKENAH]; National Patriotic Party or NPP [Cyril ALLEN] - governing party; People's Progressive Party or PPP [Weah A. WEAH]; Reformation Alliance Party or RAP [James THOMAS]; True Whig Party or TWP [Rudolph SHERMAN]; United People's Party or UPP [Wesley JOHNSON]; Unity Party or UP [Charles Clarke]

Political pressure groups and leaders:NA

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, NAM, OAU, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador William V. S. BULL
chancery: 5201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone : [1] (202) 723-0437
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission : Ambassador Bismarck MYRICK
embassy: 111 United Nations Drive, Monrovia
mailing address: P. O. Box 100098, Mamba Point, Monrovia
telephone: [231] 226-370
FAX : [231] 226-148

Flag description: 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

Economy - overview: A civil war in 1989-96 destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around Monrovia. Many businessmen fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them. Some returned; many will not return. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products, while local manufacturing, mainly foreign owned, had been small in scope. The democratically elected government, installed in August 1997, inherited massive international debts and currently relies on revenues from its maritime registry and timber industry to provide the bulk of its foreign exchange earnings. The restoration of the infrastructure and the raising of incomes in this ravaged economy depend on the implementation of sound macro- and micro-economic policies of the new government, including the encouragement of foreign investment. Recent growth has been from a low base, and continued growth will require major policy successes and containment of armed rebellion.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $1,100 (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,100 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 60%
industry:10%
services: 30% (2001 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 8% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total: 510,000 including 220,000 in the monetary economy
by occupation: agriculture 70%, industry 8%, services 22% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:70%

Budget:
revenues: $85.4 million
expenditures: $90.5 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries: rubber processing, food processing, construction materials, furniture, palm oil processing, iron ore, diamonds

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: 430,000 kW (1991)

Electricity - production: 450 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 418.5 million kWh (2000)

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

Exports:
total value: $55 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
commodities:rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
partners:Belgium 38.5%, Germany 17.6%, Italy 6.0%, US 5.8% (2000)

Imports:
total value : $170 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
commodities: France 29.1%, South Korea 20.6%, Japan 15.8%, Singapore 8.4% (2000)
partners: France 29.1%, South Korea 20.6%, Japan 15.8%, Singapore 8.4% (2000)

Debt - external: $2.1 billion (2000 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: $94 million (1999)

Currency: 1 Liberian dollar (LRD) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Liberian dollars per US dollar - 46.0400 (December 2001), 48.5833 (2001), 40.9525 (2000), 41.9025 (1999), 41.5075 (1998), 1.0000 (officially fixed rate 1940-97); market exchange rate: Liberian dollars per US dollar - 40 (December 1998), 50 (October 1995)
note: until December 1997, rates were based on a fixed relationship with the US dollar; beginning in January 1998, rates are market determined

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones: 6,700 (2000)

Telephone system: telephone and telegraph service via microwave radio relay network; main center is Monrovia
domestic: NA
international : satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 7, shortwave 2 (2001)

Radios: 790,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus four low-power repeaters) (2001)

Televisions: 70,000 (1997)

Transportation

Railways:
total: 490 km (single track); note - three rail systems owned and operated by foreign steel and financial interests in conjunction with Liberian Government; one of these, the Lamco Railroad, closed in 1989 after iron ore production ceased; the other two have been shut down by the civil war
standard gauge : 345 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 145 km 1.067-m gauge (2001)

Highways:
total:10,600 km
paved:657 km
unpaved : 9,943 km
note: there is major deterioration on all highways due to heavy rains and lack of maintenance (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Buchanan, Greenville, Harper, Monrovia

Merchant marine:
total : 1,513 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 51,912,244 GRT/79,297,046 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 3, bulk 313, cargo 89, chemical tanker 167, combination bulk 16, combination ore/oil 32, container 318, liquefied gas 99, multi-functional large-load carrier 4, passenger 23, petroleum tanker 302, refrigerated cargo 69, roll on/roll off 20, short-sea passenger 3, specialized tanker 13, vehicle carrier 42
note:includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Argentina 9, Australia 2, Austria 15, Belgium 9, Brazil 5, Canada 4, Cayman Islands 1, Chile 7, China 39, Croatia 11, Denmark 4, Ecuador 1, Estonia 1, Germany 437, Greece 154, Hong Kong 69, India 5, Indonesia 1, Israel 1, Italy 5, Japan 90, Latvia 20, Man, Isle of 5, Monaco 56, Netherlands 12, New Zealand 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 103, Pakistan 1, Portugal 5, Russia 66, Saudi Arabia 21, Singapore 20, Slovenia 1, South Africa 1, South Korea 10, Spain 2, Sweden 9, Switzerland 17, Taiwan 29, Turkey 3, Ukraine 4, United Arab Emirates 12, United Kingdom 39, United States 113, Uruguay 3, Vietnam 1 (2002 est.)

Airports: 47 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 45
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m : 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total : 45
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m:35 (2001)

Military

Military branches: NA; the ultimate structure of the Liberian military force will depend on who is the victor in the ongoing civil war

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49 : 729,469 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 393,028 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $7.8 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.3% (FY01)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: rebels and refugees contribute to border instabilities with Sierra Leone

Illicit drugs:transshipment point for Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin and South American cocaine for the European and US markets