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Quick Facts
CurrencyLiberian dollar (LRD)
Areatotal: 111,370 sq km
water: 15,050 sq km
land: 96,320 sq km
Population3,288,198 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageEnglish 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence
Religionindigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%

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.

In August 2003, a comprehensive peace agreement ended 14 years of civil war and prompted the resignation of former president Charles TAYLOR, who was exiled to Nigeria. The National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) - composed of rebel, government, and civil society groups - assumed control in October 2003. Chairman Gyude BRYANT, who was given a two-year mandate to oversee efforts to rebuild Liberia, heads the new government. The United Nations 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. The election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a former finance minister, has given the country its most stable government in years, but physically, Liberia retains many of the scars of war.


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: 111,370 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
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: 1.97%
permanent crops: 2.08%
other: 95.95% (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


3,482,211 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 43.6% (male 765,662/female 751,134)
15-64 years: 52.8% (male 896,206/female 940,985)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 64,547/female 63,677) (2005 est.)
Population growth rate 
2.64% (2005 est.)
Birth rate 
44.22 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate 
17.87 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate 
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population

note: at least 200,000 Liberian refugees are in surrounding countries; the uncertain security situation has hindered their ability to return (2005 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: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
128.87 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 38.89 years
female: 37.03 years (2005 est.)
male: 40.81 years
Total fertility rate 
6.09 children born/woman (2005 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.)
noun: Liberian(s)
adjective: Liberian
Ethnic groups 
indigenous African tribes 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)
indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%
English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.5%
male: 73.3%
female: 41.6% (2003 est.)


Country name 
conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
conventional short form: Liberia
Government type 
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
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
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch 
chief of state: Chairman Gyude BRYANT (since 14 October 2003); note - this is an interim position until presidential elections in 2005; the chairman is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: Chairman Gyude BRYANT (since 14 October 2003); note - this is an interim position until presidential elections in 2005; the chairman 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 11 October 2005)
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%; note - TAYLOR stepped down in August 2003
a UN-brokered cease-fire among warring factions and the Liberian government resulted in the August 2003 resignation of former president Charles TAYLOR; a jointly agreed upon replacement, Chairman Gyude BRYANT, assumed office as head of the National Transitional Government on 14 October 2003
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: last held 19 July 1997 (next to be held 11 October 2005); House of Representatives - last held 19 July 1997 (next to be held 11 October 2005)
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
Judicial branch 
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders 
All Liberia Coalition Party or ALCOP [Peter KERBAY]; 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 
International organization participation 
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador William V. S. BULL
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 723-0436
telephone: [1] (202) 723-0437
chancery: 5201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Aaron B. KOLLIE
embassy: 111 United Nations Drive, P. O. Box 10-0098, Mamba Point, 1000 Monrovia, 10 Liberia
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 - overview 
Civil war and government mismanagement have destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around Monrovia, while continued international sanctions on diamonds and timber exports will limit growth prospects for the foreseeable future. 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. The departure of the former president, Charles TAYLOR, to Nigeria in August 2003, the establishment of the all-inclusive Transitional Government, and the arrival of a UN mission are all necessary for the eventual end of the political crisis, but thus far have done little to encourage economic development. 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.
purchasing power parity - $2.903 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
21.8% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $900 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: 76.9%
industry: 5.4%
services: 17.7% (2002 est.)
Unemployment Rate 
85% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line 
80% (2003 est.)
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 
revenues: $85.4 million
expenditures: $90.5 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
Industrial production growth rate 
Electricity - production 
488.8 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
454.6 million kWh (2002)
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
$55 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities 
rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
Exports - partners 
Denmark 29.5%, Germany 18.9%, Poland 14.3%, US 8.9%, Greece 8% (2004)
$5.051 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities 
fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; rice and other foodstuffs
Imports - partners 
South Korea 38.8%, Japan 21.2%, Singapore 12.2%, Croatia 5.3%, Germany 4.2% (2004)
Debt - external 
$2.1 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient 
$94 million (1999)
Liberian dollar (LRD)
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
Liberian dollars per US dollar - 54.906 (2004), 59.379 (2003), 61.754 (2002), 48.583 (2001), 40.953 (2000)
Fiscal year 
calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use 
7,000 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
2,000 (2001)
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 .21 fixed mainlines 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)
790,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
1 (plus four low-power repeaters) (2001)
70,000 (1997)
Internet country code 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
14 (2004)
Internet users 
1,000 (2002)


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: 145 km 1.067-m gauge
none of the railways are in operation because of the civil war (2004)
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, Monrovia
Merchant marine 
total: 1,465 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 50,555,752 GRT/79,125,329 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: 1,392 (Argentina 8, Australia 2, Austria 13, Bahamas 3, Brazil 6, British 1, Canada 2, Chile 1, China 36, Croatia 7, Cyprus 1, Denmark 5, France 3, Germany 511, Greece 149, Hong Kong 29, India 4, Indonesia 1, Isle of Man 5, Israel 7, Italy 12, Japan 106, Latvia 18, Monaco 10, Netherlands 18, Nigeria 1, Norway 57, Pakistan 1, Poland 14, Romania 1, Russia 63, Saudi Arabia 23, Singapore 29, Slovenia 1, South Korea 4, Sweden 12, Switzerland 10, Taiwan 54, Turkey 4, Ukraine 7, UAE 10, United Kingdom 56, United States 84, Uruguay 3) (2005)
ships by type: barge carrier 3, bulk carrier 275, cargo 91, chemical tanker 173, combination ore/oil 22, container 388, liquefied gas 78, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 324, refrigerated cargo 57, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 9, vehicle carrier 35
53 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 51
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 34 (2002)


Military branches 
Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - availability 
males age 18-49: 659,795 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service 
males age 18-49: 360,373 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure 
$1.5 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 
0.2% (2004)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
although Liberia's domestic fighting among disparate rebel groups, warlords, and youth gangs was declared over in 2003, civil unrest persists, and in 2004, 133,000 Liberian refugees remained in Guinea, 72,000 in Cote d'Ivoire, 67,000 in Sierra Leone, and 43,000 in Ghana; Liberia, in turn, shelters refugees fleeing turmoil in Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone; since 2003, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has maintained about 18,000 peacekeepers in Liberia; the Cote d'Ivoire Government accuses Liberia of supporting Ivoirian rebels; 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

External links