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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... See More



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

Geographic Coordinates:

 6 30 N, 9 30 W


 Total: 111,369 sq km
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 (Rank: 100)

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 (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 232 cu km (1987)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 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

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 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)


 English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence


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


 3,786,764 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 44.3% (male 843,182/female 834,922)
15-64 years: 52.7% (male 989,623/female 1,007,577)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 56,189/female 55,271) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 18.3 years
Male: 18.2 years
Female: 18.3 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.663% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 37.25 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 10.62 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 48% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 MONROVIA (capital) 882,000 (2009)

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 (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 990 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 74.52 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 78.96 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 69.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 57 years
Male: 55.44 years
Female: 58.6 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 5.13 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 3.9% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.014 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital Bed Density:

 0.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 79% of population
Rural: 51% of population
Total: 68% of population
Urban: 21% of population
Rural: 49% of population
Total: 32% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 25% of population
Rural: 4% of population
Total: 17% of population
Urban: 75% of population
Rural: 96% of population
Total: 83% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 1.5% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 37,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 3,600 (2009 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
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
Aerosolized dust or soil contact disease: Lassa fever
Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 20.4% (2007)

Education Expenditures:

 2.7% of GDP (2008)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 57.5%
Male: 73.3%
Female: 41.6% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 11 years
Male: 13 years
Female: 9 years (2000)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 4.7%
Male: 5.7%
Female: 3.7% (2007)

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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)


 January 6, 1986

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


 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); elections last held on 11 October and 8 November 2011 (next to be held in 2017)

Election results: Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF re-elected president; percent of vote, second round - Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF 90.7%, Winston TUBMAN 9.3%

Legislative Branch:

 Bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (30 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve nine-year terms) and the House of Representatives (73 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)

Elections: Senate - last held on 11 October 2011 (next to be held in 2020); House of Representatives - last held on 11 October 2011 (next to be held 1n 2017)

Election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UP 10, NPP 6, CDC 3, ADP 2, NUDP 2, LDP 1, LP 1, NDC 1, NDP 1, independents 3 ; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UP 30, CDC 11, LP 7, NUDP 6, NDC 5, ADP 3, NPP3, MPC 2, LDP1, LTP 1, NRP 1, independents 9

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Alliance for Peace and Democracy or APD [Togba-na TIPOTEH]; 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 [Varney SHERMAN]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Other: demobilized former military officers

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires William V. BULL
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 Symbols:

 White star

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

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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 establish 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):

 $1.691 billion (2010 est.)
$1.608 billion (2009 est.)
$1.537 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $974 million (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 5.1% (2010 est.)
4.6% (2009 est.)
7.1% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $500 (2010 est.)
$400 (2009 est.)
$400 (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)

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 / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2.4%
Highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 38.2 (2007)

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)


 Revenues: $NA
Expenditures: $NA

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 34.3% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -0.7% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 7.3% (2010 est.)
7.4% (2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 14.3% (31 December 2010 est.)
14.183% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $206.9 million (31 December 2008)
$145.6 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $65.36 million (31 December 2008)
$49.89 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $289 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$260.1 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $398.6 million
$343.6 million

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $1.334 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.269 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

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:

 335 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 311.6 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 4,500 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 23 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 4,552 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$692.5 million (2010 est.)
-$541.1 million (2009 est.)


 $207 million (2010 est.)
$180 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee

Exports - Partners:

 South Africa 26.9%, US 18.1%, Spain 7.8%, Denmark 5.4%, Venezuela 4.8%, Malaysia 4.3% (2010)


 $726.7 million (2010 est.)
$559 million (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

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

Imports - Partners:

 South Korea 37.2%, China 26.3%, Singapore 17.3%, Japan 11.5% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $399.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$372.5 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $1.66 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$3.2 billion (2005 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Liberian Dollar to Any Currency

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

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 5,900 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 1.571 million (2010)

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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 0, FM 10, shortwave 2 (2007)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 5 (plus 4 repeaters) (2007)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 8 (2010)

Internet Users:

 20,000 (2009)

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 29 (2010)

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)


 Oil 4 km


 Total: 429 km
Standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge
Narrow gauge: 84 km 1.067-m gauge

Note: most sections of the railways were inoperable because of damage suffered during the civil wars from 1980 to 2003, but many are being rebuilt (2010)


 Total: 10,600 km
Paved: 657 km
Unpaved: 9,943 km (2000)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 2,512
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)

Note: this country allows large numbers of ships owned by foreign entities to be registered in its national shipping registry and to fly its flag; these ships operate under the laws of the flag state (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Buchanan, Monrovia

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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: 815,826
Females age 16-49: 828,484 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 524,243
Females age 16-49: 544,349 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 36,585
Female: 38,516 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 1.3% of GDP (2006 est.)

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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

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

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Liberia is a source, transit, and destination country, principally for young women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; most trafficking victims originate from within the country's borders and are subjected to domestic servitude, forced begging, forced labor in street vending, on rubber plantations, and alluvial diamond sites, or sex trafficking; victims of cross-border trafficking come to Liberia from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, and Nigeria and are subjected to the same types of exploitation as internally trafficked victims

Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the government has not shown evidence of increased efforts to prosecute and to punish trafficking offenders and to protect trafficking victims; the Liberian Government has never convicted a trafficking offender using its 2005 anti-trafficking law; it reported conducting two investigations of trafficking cases during the year, but did not initiate any prosecutions or convict any traffickers; it also did not provide training to law enforcement officials or magistrates (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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