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Introduction - Liberia:
BackgroundSettlement 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 DOEs 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 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 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.
Location - Liberia:
LocationWestern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote dIvoire and Sierra Leone
Geographic coordinates6 30 N, 9 30 W
Map referencesAfrica
Areatotal: 111,370 sq km
land: 96,320 sq km
water: 15,050 sq km
Area comparativeslightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundariestotal: 1,585 km
border countries: Guinea 563 km, Cote dIvoire 716 km, Sierra Leone 306 km
Coastline579 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 200 nm
Climatetropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers
Terrainmostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast
Elevation extremeslowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m
Natural resourcesiron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower
Land usearable land: 3.43%
permanent crops: 1.98%
other: 94.59% (2005)
Irrigated land30 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardsdust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)
Environment current issuestropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage
Environment international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
Geography notefacing the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline is characterized by lagoons, mangrove swamps, and river-deposited sandbars; the inland grassy plateau supports limited agriculture
People - Liberia:
Population3,195,931 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 43.6% (male 698,382/female 695,409)
15-64 years: 53.6% (male 848,951/female 865,380)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 42,745/female 45,064) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.1 years
male: 17.9 years
female: 18.2 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate4.836% (2007 est.)
Birth rate43.75 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate22.24 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate26.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.004 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.981 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.949 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 149.73 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 165.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 133.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 40.39 years
male: 38.93 years
female: 41.89 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate5.94 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate5.9% (2003 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids100,000 (2003 est.)
Hiv aids deaths7,200 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Liberian(s)
adjective: Liberian
Major infectious diseasesdegree 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 (2007)
Ethnic groupsindigenous African 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)
ReligionsChristian 40%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 40%
LanguagesEnglish 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.5%
male: 73.3%
female: 41.6% (2003 est.)
Government - Liberia:
Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Liberia
conventional short form: Liberia
Government typerepublic
Capitalname: Monrovia
geographic coordinates: 6 18 N, 10 48 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions15 counties; Bomi, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Lofa, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba, River Cess, River Gee, Sinoe
Independence26 July 1847
National holidayIndependence Day, 26 July (1847)
Constitution6 January 1986
Legal systemdual 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
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief 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); election last held 8 November 2005 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF elected president; percent of vote, second round - Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF 59.6%, George WEAH 40.4%
Legislative branchbicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (30 seats; note - 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 2011); House of Representatives - last held 11 October 2005 (next to be held in 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, COTOL 8, UP 8, APD 5, NPP 4, other 15
note: junior senators - those who received the second most votes in each county in the 11 October 2005 election - will only serve a six-year first term because the Liberian constitution mandates staggered Senate elections to ensure continuity of government; all senators will be eligible for nine-year terms thereafter
Judicial branchSupreme Court
Political parties and leadersAlliance 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 leadersDemobilized former military officers
International organization participationACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, ITUC, NAM, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the uschief 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 uschief of mission: Ambassador Donald E. BOOTH
embassy: 111 United Nations Drive, P. O. Box 10-0098, Mamba Point, 1000 Monrovia, 10
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [231] 226-370 through 226-380
FAX: [231] 226-148
Flag description11 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 overviewCivil war and government mismanagement have destroyed much of Liberias economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. 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. President JOHNSON SIRLEAF, a Harvard-trained economist, has taken steps to reduce corruption, build support from international donors, and encourage private investment. An embargo on timber exports has been lifted, opening a source of revenue for the government, but diamonds remain under UN sanctions. 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 $2.821 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $902.9 million (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate7.8% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $900 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 76.9%
industry: 5.4%
services: 17.7% (2002 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 70%
industry: 8%
services: 22% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate85% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line80% (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate consumer prices 15% (2003 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $85.4 million
expenditures: $90.5 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Agriculture productsrubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
Industriesrubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds
Industrial production growth rateNA%
Electricity production325 million kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption302.3 million kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil consumption3,500 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exports23 bbl/day
Oil importsNA bbl/day
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)
Exports$910 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports commoditiesrubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
Exports partnersGermany 23.4%, South Africa 16.1%, Poland 15.7%, US 11.3%, Spain 11%, Thailand 4.1% (2006)
Imports$4.839 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports commoditiesfuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
Imports partnersSouth Korea 40.2%, Singapore 16%, Japan 13.6%, China 8.7% (2006)
Debt external$3.2 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid recipient$94 million (1999)
Currency code Liberian dollar (LRD)
Exchange ratesLiberian dollars per US dollar - 59.43 (2006), 53.098 (2005), 54.906 (2004), 59.379 (2003), 61.754 (2002)
Communications - Liberia:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use6,900 (2002)
Telephones mobile cellular160,000 (2005)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: the limited services available are found almost exclusively in the capital Monrovia
domestic: fully automatic system with very low density of less than 1 fixed main line per 100 persons; limited wireless service available
international: country code - 231; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 0, FM 7, shortwave 2 (2001)
Television broadcast stations1 (plus 4 repeaters) (2001)
Internet country
Internet hosts8 (2006)
Internet users1,000 (2002)
Transportation - Liberia:
Airports53 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 51
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 38 (2006)
Railwaystotal: 490 km
standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 145 km 1.067-m gauge
note: railway is inoperable because of damage suffered during the civil war (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 10,600 km
paved: 657 km
unpaved: 9,943 km (1999)
Merchant marinetotal: 1,687 ships (1000 GRT or over) 62,522,787 GRT/96,776,521 DWT
by type: barge carrier 3, bulk carrier 322, cargo 83, chemical tanker 199, combination ore/oil 2, container 477, liquefied gas 75, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 397, refrigerated cargo 76, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 11, vehicle carrier 35
foreign-owned: 1,611 (Argentina 7, Australia 2, Austria 13, Bahamas, The 1, Bermuda 1, Brazil 3, Canada 2, China 35, Croatia 7, Cyprus 3, Denmark 8, Estonia 1, France 3, Germany 587, Greece 267, Hong Kong 37, India 3, Indonesia 1, Isle of Man 5, Israel 5, Italy 16, Japan 102, South Korea 3, Kuwait 1, Latvia 14, Lebanon 2, Mexico 1, Monaco 10, Netherlands 29, Norway 38, Poland 14, Qatar 2, Russia 77, Saudi Arabia 24, Singapore 28, Slovenia 2, Sweden 8, Switzerland 7, Taiwan 69, Turkey 1, UAE 18, UK 41, Ukraine 16, Uruguay 3, US 93, unknown 1) (2006)
Ports and terminalsBuchanan, Monrovia
Military - Liberia:
Military branchesArmed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Navy, Air Force
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 575,384
females age 18-49: 588,780 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 267,430
females age 18-49: 286,231 (2005 est.)
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 6,592 (Cote dIvoire)
IDPs: 13,000 (civil war from 1990-2004; IDP resettlement began in November 2004) (2006)
Military expenditures percent of gdp1.3% (2006 est.)
Disputes internationalalthough 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 dIvoire, Sierra Leone, and Ghana; Liberia, in turn, shelters refugees fleeing turmoil in Cote dIvoire; despite the presence of over 9,000 UN forces (UNOCI) in Cote dIvoire 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
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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