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Liberia Flag

Capital City: Monrovia

Border countries: Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone

Internet Links

Official Sites of Liberia
Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT)

Bureau of Maritime Affairs

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

Political Map of Liberia



Background:  Seven years of civil strife were brought to a close in
1996 when free and open presidential and legislative elections were
held. President TAYLOR now holds strong executive power with no real
political opposition.  The years of fighting coupled with the flight of
most businesses have disrupted formal economic activity. A still unsettled
domestic security situation has slowed the process of rebuilding the
social and economic structure of this war-torn country. In 2001, the UN
imposed sanctions on Liberian diamonds along with an army embargo and
a travel ban on government officials for Liberia's support of the rebel
insurgency in Sierra Leone.

Geography Liberia

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 water: 15,050 sq km land: 96,320 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: 2% permanent crops: 2% other: 96% (1998 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 deforestation;
soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from
oil residue and raw sewage

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

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

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  9% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  125,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  13,000 (2001 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 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:  indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%

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: 38.3% male: 53.9% female: 22.4% (1995 est.)  note: these
figures are increasing because of the improving school system

Government Liberia

Country name:   Republic of Liberia conventional short form: Government
type:  republic

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:  All 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,
IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW (signatory), UN,

Diplomatic representation in the US:   Ambassador William V. S. BULL
consulate(s) general:  Washington, DC 20011

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Bismarck MYRICK embassy: 111 United Nations Drive, P. O. Box 10-0098,
Mamba Point, Monrovia mailing address: use
 [231] 226-370 through 226-380 FAX:
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

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 - $3.6 billion (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.)

Population below poverty line:  80%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  8% (2001 est.)

Labor force - 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, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds

Industrial production growth rate:  NA

Electricity - production:  450 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  418.5 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

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

Exports:  $55 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

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

Exports - partners:  Belgium 38.5%, Germany 17.6%, Italy 6.0%, US 5.8%

Imports:  $170 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Imports - commodities:  fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation
equipment, manufactured goods; rice and other foodstuffs

Imports - 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:  Liberian dollar (LRD)

Currency code:  LRD

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 Liberia

Telephones - main lines in use:  6,700 (2000)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  0 (1998)

Telephone system:  general assessment: telephone and telegraph service
via microwave radio
 NA international:
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)

Internet country code:  .lr

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  2 (2001)

Internet users:  500 (2000)

Transportation Liberia

Railways:  total: 490 km (328 km single-track) standard gauge: 345 km
1.435-m gauge note: in 1989, Liberia had three rail systems owned and
operated by foreign steel and financial interests in conjunction with
the Liberian Government; one of these, the Lamco Railroad, closed in
1989 after iron ore production ceased; the other two were shut down by
the civil war; large sections of the rail lines have been dismantled;
approximately 60 km of railroad track was exported for scrap (2001)
narrow gauge: 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.)

Waterways:  none

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 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.)  ships by type:  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

Airports:  47 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 2 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 Liberia

Military branches:  Army, Navy, Air Force

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

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 393,028
(2002 est.)

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

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

Transnational Issues Liberia

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

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

News - Liberia News

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Bits of History of Liberia

Discussion of Current Liberian History

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Newsgroup of Liberia




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