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This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Liberia



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Liberia Top of Page
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 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 was exiled to Nigeria. 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), which maintains a strong presence throughout the country, completed a disarmament program for former combatants in late 2004, but the security situation is still volatile and the process of rebuilding the social and economic structure of this war-torn country remains sluggish.

   Geography    Liberia Top of Page
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, hydropower
Land use:

arable land: 3.43%
permanent crops: 1.98%
other: 94.59% (2005)
Irrigated land:

30 sq km (2003)
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, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, 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 Top of Page
Population:

3,195,931 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 43.6% (male 698,382/female 695,409)
15-64 years: 53.6% (male 848,951/female 865,380)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 42,745/female 45,064) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 18.1 years
male: 17.9 years
female: 18.2 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

4.836% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

43.75 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

22.24 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

26.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.004 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.981 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.949 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 149.73 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 165.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 133.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 40.39 years
male: 38.93 years
female: 41.89 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

5.94 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

5.9% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

100,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

7,200 (2003 est.)
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 are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
aerosolized dust or soil contact disease: Lassa fever (2007)
Nationality:

noun: Liberian(s)
adjective: Liberian
Ethnic groups:

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)
Religions:

Christian 40%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 40%
Languages:

English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group 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: 57.5%
male: 73.3%
female: 41.6% (2003 est.)
   Government    Liberia Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
conventional short form: Liberia
Government type:

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:

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
Suffrage:

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
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 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 11 October 2005 (next to be held in 2011); House of Representatives - last held 11 October 2005 (next to be held in 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
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; Congress for Democratic Change or CDC [George WEAH]; Liberian Action Party or LAP [H. Varney SHERMAN]; Liberty Party or LP [Charles BRUMSKINE]; National Patriotic Party or NPP [Cyril ALLEN]; Unity Party or UP [Charles CLARKE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:

Demobilized former military officers
International organization participation:

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, NAM, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Charles A. MINOR
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 Donald E. BOOTH
embassy: 111 United Nations Drive, P. O. Box 10-0098, Mamba Point, 1000 Monrovia, 10
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [231] 226-370 through 226-380
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    Liberia Top of Page
Economy - overview:

Civil war and government mismanagement have destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. Many businessmen have fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them. Some have returned, but many will not. 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 economist, has taken steps to reduce corruption, build support from international donors, and encourage private investment. An embargo on timber exports has been lifted, opening a source of revenue for the government, but diamonds remain under UN sanctions. The reconstruction of infrastructure and the raising of incomes in this ravaged economy will largely depend on generous financial support and technical assistance from donor countries.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$2.821 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$902.9 million (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

7.8% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$900 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 76.9%
industry: 5.4%
services: 17.7% (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 70%
industry: 8%
services: 22% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:

85% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line:

80% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

15% (2003 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $85.4 million
expenditures: $90.5 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Agriculture - products:

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

rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
Industrial production growth rate:

NA%
Electricity - production:

319.3 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

296.9 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:

3,500 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:

23.31 bbl/day
Oil - imports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl
Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports:

$910 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:

rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
Exports - partners:

Germany 22.6%, South Africa 15.5%, Poland 15.1%, US 11%, Spain 10.6%, South Korea 4.1% (2006)
Imports:

$4.839 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:

fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
Imports - partners:

South Korea 43.2%, Singapore 15%, Japan 12.8%, China 8.2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:

$236.2 million (2005)
Debt - external:

$3.2 billion (2005 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$NA
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$NA
Currency (code):

Liberian dollar (LRD)
Exchange rates:

Liberian dollars per US dollar - 59.43 (2006), 53.098 (2005), 54.906 (2004), 59.379 (2003), 61.754 (2002)
Fiscal year:

calendar year
   Communications    Liberia Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

6,900 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

160,000 (2005)
Telephone system:

general assessment: the limited services available are found almost exclusively in the capital Monrovia
domestic: fully automatic system with very low density of less than 1 fixed main line per 100 persons; limited wireless service available
international: country code - 231; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:

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

1 (plus 4 repeaters) (2001)
Internet country code:

.lr
Internet hosts:

38 (2007)
Internet users:

1,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Liberia Top of Page
Airports:

53 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 51
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 38 (2007)
Railways:

total: 490 km
standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 145 km 1.067-m gauge
note: railway is inoperable because of damage suffered during the civil war (2006)
Roadways:

total: 10,600 km
paved: 657 km
unpaved: 9,943 km (1999)
Merchant marine:

total: 1,948 ships (1000 GRT or over) 71,387,243 GRT/109,450,945 DWT
by type: barge carrier 3, bulk carrier 338, cargo 91, chemical tanker 211, combination ore/oil 9, container 614, liquefied gas 81, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 455, refrigerated cargo 91, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 11, vehicle carrier 35
foreign-owned: 1,904 (Argentina 3, Australia 2, Belgium 1, Brazil 3, Canada 3, China 32, Croatia 5, Cyprus 5, Denmark 12, Estonia 1, France 5, Germany 728, Gibraltar 7, Greece 311, Hong Kong 21, India 2, Indonesia 1, Israel 9, Italy 31, Japan 111, South Korea 4, Kuwait 1, Latvia 15, Lebanon 2, Mexico 1, Monaco 8, Netherlands 28, Norway 42, Poland 14, Qatar 2, Russia 87, Saudi Arabia 24, Singapore 42, Slovenia 1, Sweden 11, Switzerland 11, Taiwan 82, Turkey 7, Ukraine 24, UAE 22, UK 74, US 103, Uruguay 3, Vietnam 3) (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Buchanan, Monrovia
   Military    Liberia Top of Page
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 (2001)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 18-49: 575,384
females age 18-49: 588,780 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 267,430
females age 18-49: 286,231 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

1.3% (2006 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Liberia Top of Page
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): 6,592 (Cote d'Ivoire)
IDPs: 13,000 (civil war from 1990-2004; IDP resettlement began in November 2004) (2006)
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

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


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