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People and Society






Settlement 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 DOE's 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 faces war crimes charges in The Hague related to his involvement in Sierra Leone's civil war. 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) maintains a strong presence throughout the country, but the security situation is still fragile and the process of rebuilding the social and economic structure of this war-torn country continues.


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Economy - overview
Liberia is a low income country heavily reliant on foreign assistance for revenue. Civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. Many businesses fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them, but with the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically-elected government in 2006, several have returned. Liberia has the distinction of having the highest ratio of direct foreign investment to GDP in the world. 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 and is reviving those sectors. Local manufacturing, mainly foreign owned, had been small in scope. President JOHNSON SIRLEAF, a Harvard-trained banker and administrator, has taken steps to reduce corruption, build support from international donors, and encourage private investment. Embargos on timber and diamond exports have been lifted, opening new sources of revenue for the government and Liberia shipped its first major timber exports to Europe in 2010. The country reached its Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative completion point in 2010 and nearly $5 billion of international debt was permanently eliminated. This new status will enable Liberia to establish a sovereign credit rating and issue bonds. Liberia''s Paris Club creditors agreed to cancel Liberia''s debt as well. The IMF has completed the sixth review of Liberia''s extended credit facility, bringing total disbursements to over $379 million. The African Development Bank approved a grant of $48 million in 2011 to support economic governance and competitiveness. Rebuilding infrastructure and raising incomes will depend on generous financial and technical assistance from donor countries and foreign investment in key sectors, such as infrastructure and power generation.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 191
$1.792 billion (2011 est.)
$1.684 billion (2010 est.)
$1.604 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$1.154 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 39
6.4% (2011 est.)
5% (2010 est.)
2.8% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 225
$500 (2011 est.)
$400 (2010 est.)
$400 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 76.9%
Industry 5.4%
Services 17.7% (2002 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 131
1.372 million (2007)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 70%
Industry 8%
Services 22% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 198
85% (2003 est.)

Population below poverty line
80% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 2.4%
Highest 10% 30.1% (2007)

Revenues $430.3 million
Expenditures $441.4 million (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 60
37.3% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 60
-1% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 145
3.3% of GDP
2.7% of GDP

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 158
7.4% (2011 est.)
7.3% (2010 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 53
13.75% (31 December 2011 est.)
14.3% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 163
$431.7 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$301.3 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 174
$588.3 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$401.7 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 149
$1.454 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.334 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

Agriculture - products
Rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (manioc)), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber

Rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds

Industrial production growth rate

Electricity - production World Ranking: 162
335 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 166
311.6 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 191
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 170
4,500 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 128
23.37 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 158
4,552 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 154
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 205
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 198
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 133
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 87
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 197
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 116
-$758.5 million (2011 est.)
-$737.8 million (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 175
$422.6 million (2011 est.)
$241.5 million (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee

Exports - partners
South Africa 29.9%, US 15.7%, Spain 7.6%, Cote dIvoire 4.9%, Germany 4.2%, Japan 4.1%, China 4% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 185
$755.9 million (2011 est.)
$719.9 million (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs

Imports - partners
South Korea 42.4%, China 28.6%, Japan 18.9% (2011)

Debt - external World Ranking: 182
$228 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.66 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

Exchange rates
Liberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar -
72.227 (2011 est.)
71.403 (2010 est.)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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  Liberia (Monrovia):

  GPS points from Liberia (Monrovia)

Zalaimu Bomi County

Heya Creek Bong County

Kolota Grand Bassa County

Tembo River Cess County

Goin Creek Nimba County

Jarbli Grand Bassa County

Mount Doh Grand Bassa County

Tone Wai Town Sinoe County
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