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Liberia

 
Flag of Liberia
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Coordinates:
06.50 N  09.50 W

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Liberia Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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. After two years of rule by a transitional government, democratic elections in late 2005 brought President Ellen JOHNSON-SIRLEAF to power. The legislative and presidential polls were broadly deemed free and fair despite fraud allegations from JOHNSON-SIRLEAF's rival George WEAH. 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:
Definition Field Listing
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
6 30 N, 9 30 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Africa
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 111,370 sq km
land: 96,320 sq km
water: 15,050 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,585 km
border countries: Guinea 563 km, Cote d'Ivoire 716 km, Sierra Leone 306 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
579 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
tropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers
Terrain:
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mostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 3.43%
permanent crops: 1.98%
other: 94.59% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
30 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
tropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,042,004 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 43.1% (male 656,016/female 653,734)
15-64 years: 54.2% (male 816,443/female 832,152)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 40,591/female 43,068) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 18.1 years
male: 18 years
female: 18.3 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.91% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
44.77 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
23.1 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
27.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: at least 238,500 Liberian refugees are in surrounding countries; the uncertain security situation has hindered their ability to return (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 155.76 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 171.96 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 139.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 39.65 years
male: 37.99 years
female: 41.35 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.02 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.9% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7,200 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
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 (2005)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Liberian(s)
adjective: Liberian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
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)
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
conventional short form: Liberia
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
republic
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Monrovia
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
26 July 1847
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 26 July (1847)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
6 January 1986
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 6 January 2006); 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 (eligible for a second term); election last held 8 November 2005 (next to be held NA 2011)
election results: Ellen JOHNSON-SIRLEAF elected president; percent of vote, second round - Ellen JOHNSON-SIRLEAF (UP) 59.6%, George WEAH (CDC) 40.4%
note: 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; free elections were held 11 October 2005, with a runoff election between the two leading candidates on 8 November 2005
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (30 seats - 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 2014); House of Representatives - last held 11 October 2005 (next to be held NA 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, UP 8, COTOL 8, APD 5, NPP 4, other 15
note: the current six-year term for junior senators - those who received the second most votes in the election - is mandated by the Liberian constitution to stagger Senate elections and ensure continuity of government
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, NAM, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Donald E. BOOTH
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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 have helped defuse the political crisis, but have done little to encourage economic development. Wealthy international donors, who are ready to assist reconstruction efforts, are withholding funding until Liberia's National Assembly signs onto a Governance and Economic Management Action Plan (GEMAP). The Plan was created in October 2005 by the International Contact Group for Liberia to help ensure transparent revenue collection and allocation - something that was lacking under the Transitional Government and that has limited Liberia's economic recovery. 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):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.755 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
NA
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1,000 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 76.9%
industry: 5.4%
services: 17.7% (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 70%
industry: 8%
services: 22% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
85% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
80%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15% (2003 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $85.4 million
expenditures: $90.5 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA%
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
509.4 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
473.8 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,400 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$910 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Belgium 33.5%, Denmark 21.9%, Spain 9.4%, US 7.4% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4.839 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
South Korea 38.4%, Japan 20.8%, Singapore 14%, Croatia 4.6% (2005)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.2 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$94 million (1999)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Liberian dollar (LRD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Liberian dollars per US dollar - NA (2005), 54.906 (2004), 59.379 (2003), 61.754 (2002), 48.583 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Liberia Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6,900 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
47,300 (2003)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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 main lines per 100 persons; limited wireless service available
international: country code - 231; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 0, FM 7, shortwave 2 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (plus four low-power repeaters) (2001)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.lr
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Liberia Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
53 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 51
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 38 (2005)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 490 km
standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 145 km 1.067-m gauge
note: none of the railways are in operation because of results of civil war (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 10,600 km
paved: 657 km
unpaved: 9,943 km (1999)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 1,533 ships (1000 GRT or over) 56,681,509 GRT/88,825,842 DWT
by type: barge carrier 9, bulk carrier 290, cargo 82, chemical tanker 189, combination ore/oil 14, container 409, liquefied gas 75, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 355, refrigerated cargo 55, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 11, vehicle carrier 34
foreign-owned: 1,460 (Argentina 8, Australia 2, Austria 14, The Bahamas 2, Bermuda 1, Brazil 4, Canada 4, Chile 1, China 35, Croatia 6, Cyprus 6, Denmark 5, France 3, Germany 510, Greece 229, Hong Kong 40, India 4, Indonesia 1, Isle of Man 5, Israel 5, Italy 20, Japan 100, Kuwait 1, Latvia 17, Lebanon 1, Monaco 11, Netherlands 13, Norway 46, Poland 14, Russia 65, Saudi Arabia 24, Singapore 16, Slovenia 2, Sweden 8, Switzerland 7, Taiwan 68, Thailand 1, Turkey 2, Ukraine 15, UAE 15, UK 49, US 77, Uruguay 3) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Buchanan, Monrovia
   Military    Liberia Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Navy, Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 575,384
females age 18-49: 588,780 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 267,430
females age 18-49: 286,231 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$67.4 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.5% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Liberia Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
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
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 13,941 (Sierra Leone) 12,408 (Cote d'Ivoire)
IDPs: 464,000 (civil war from 1990-2004; IDP resettlement began in November 2004) (2005)
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook