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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Liberia

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Liberia
Definition Field Listing
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
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
Definition Field Listing
total: 111,370 sq km
water: 15,050 sq km
land: 96,320 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
Definition Field Listing
579 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 200 NM
Definition Field Listing
tropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers
Definition Field Listing
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: 1.97%
permanent crops: 2.08%
other: 95.95% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
30 sq km (1998 est.)
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, 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:
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
Definition Field Listing
3,288,198 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
1.91% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
45.95 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
16.05 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
130.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 51.8 years
female: 53.33 years (2002 est.)
male: 50.33 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.29 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
9% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
125,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
13,000 (2001 est.)
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)
Definition Field Listing
indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%
Definition Field Listing
English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
conventional short form: Liberia
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
15 counties; Bomi, Bong, Gparbolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Lofa, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba, River Cess, River Gee, Sinoe
Definition Field Listing
26 July 1847
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 26 July (1847)
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
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 October 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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador John William BLANEY III
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
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
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.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $3.6 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $1,100 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 60%
industry: 10%
services: 30% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
8% (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 70%, industry 8%, services 22% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $85.4 million
expenditures: $90.5 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Definition Field Listing
rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
450 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
418.5 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
Definition Field Listing
$55 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Belgium 38.5%, Germany 17.6%, Italy 6.0%, US 5.8% (2000)
Definition Field Listing
$170 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; rice and other foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
France 29.1%, South Korea 20.6%, Japan 15.8%, Singapore 8.4% (2000)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$2.1 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$94 million (1999)
Definition Field Listing
Liberian dollar (LRD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Liberia
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
6,700 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
0 (1998)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: telephone and telegraph service via microwave radio relay network; main center is Monrovia
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 0, FM 7, shortwave 2 (2001)
Definition Field Listing
790,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (plus four low-power repeaters) (2001)
Definition Field Listing
70,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
2 (2001)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
500 (2000)
   Transportation    Liberia
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
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.)
Definition Field Listing
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Buchanan, Greenville, Harper, Monrovia
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
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: barge carrier 3, bulk 313, cargo 89, chemical tanker 167, combination 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
Definition Field Listing
47 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 45
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 34 (2002)
   Military    Liberia
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 729,469 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 393,028 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$7.8 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
1.3% (FY01)
   Transnational Issues    Liberia
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
rebels and refugees contribute to border instabilities with Sierra Leone
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 19 March 2003

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