COUNTRIES BRIEFS Newsletter ISSN 1563-4108

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The Republic of Liberia is located in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone

Total area: 111,370 sq. km (land: 96,320 sq. km water: 15,050 sq. km)

Bordering countries:
Guinea over 563 km, Cote d'Ivoire over 716 km, Sierra Leone over 306 km

Coastline: 579 km

Population: 3,164,156 (July 2000); 3,317,176 (July 2003 est.). Population growth rate: 1.94% (2000); 1.67% (2003 est.)

Independence: July 26, 1847
National holiday: Independence Day: July 26
Constitution: January 6, 1986

Capital-City: Monrovia

Natural resources: iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower

Agriculture productions: rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava, palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber

Industrial productions: rubber processing, palm oil processing, diamonds
Industrial production growth rate: 0%]

Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia has everything - as far as natural resources are concerned - to build up a strong economy and enter the circle of rich / wealthy nations.

Currently this is not the case. The country is listed among the poorest nations in the world.

To understand why it is so, a quick history is necessary.

From the inception of the Republic of Liberia in 1847, till 1979, the elite / rulers - freed African slaves from the United States of America; roughly 2.5% of the population - dominated the social, cultural and political life of the country for more than one century and three decades. They neglected the integration of natives indigenous people into the political and economic game. And what always happens in such circumstances did occurred: a bloody coup - led by an army Sergeant: Samuel Doe - put an end to their domination and brought to power the army in 1979. The seeds for a civil war were then sowed by the dictatorial regime of Sergeant Doe. In 1989 a savage civil strife begun. It lasted seven years and was brought to end in 1996 when free, open presidential and legislative elections were held.

President Taylor won and till the end of year 2000 ruled a strong executive power with no real political opposition.

However, starting from beginning of year 2001, the political landscape changed. Indeed, a coalition of opponents (the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy - LURD) to Taylor's regime ignited again the civil strife. They established a strong guerilla base in the Northern region to fighting Taylor's ragtag troops, which retreated to the capital city Monrovia and some vicinities around representing roughly 20% of Liberia's territory.

On June 7, 2003, Taylor was forced by the international community to leave power. He exiled to Nigeria. Click here for Sierra Leone International War Crimes Tribunal indicted Taylor

On August 18, 2003, at Accra, warring parties and Moses Blah's government signed a peace Agreement to ending the three years old civil war.

The Agreement sets pace for the establishment of an interim power-sharing government between Blah's followers, the two rebels groups and civilians. Under the deal, all warring parties waived any claim to the top posts in the interim government, instead allowing noncombatants to take the posts.

The United Nations Security Council's resolution 1509 (2003) of 19 September 2003 established UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the peace process; protect United Nations staff, facilities and civilians; support humanitarian and human rights activities; as well as assist in national security reform, including national police training and formation of a new, restructured military.

Under the strong leadership of Ambassador Jacques Klein, UNMIL performed well. On May 19, 2004, the retired American Airforce General declared that more than 30,000 combatants have so far been disarmed since the disarmament process began about five months ago. Ambassador Klein also said more than two million ammunition rounds have been collected and destroyed. Click here for more on UNMIL


On November 22, 2005, former World Bank economist Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was declared the winner of Liberia's presidential election (First leg on October 11, 2005 and Second leg on November 8, 2005) making her Africa's first democratically elected female head of state and her country's first elected leader after 14-years' brutal civil war. The 67-year-old grandmother, won nearly 60% of votes against former AC Milan and Chelsea footballer George Weah.

George Weah followers do not accept the ballot's results, that is the reason the proclamation was made 13 days after the second leg that took place on November 11, 2005. They made claims to Liberia's elections commission that the election was "rigged" and flawed by frauds. They found odd that Weah who was ahead for the first leg had been toppled at the second leg - Click above link for more.

The near future shall tell if Weah' supporters would abide to Weah's repeated pleas for calm to avoid another fatal political turbulence.


Sergeant Doe's erratic political regime and the first civil war period (1889-1996) triggered the dash to overseas of most if not all businessmen and brains. They fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them. The economy was completely disrupted and formal economic activity nil. Taylor did quite nothing from 1996 to 2003 to improve the economic and social situation.

The country has no viable infrastructure (schools, hospitals, administrative centers). Roads network do no exist to connect the country's three million people, and Monrovia, the Capital-City, lacks mains (electricity and water).

The populations are tired and have immense social and economic expectations. Therefore, the new elected president has an uphill battle to satisfy demand, while the threat of tribal or factional violence remains close to the surface. Not to mention Weah' supporters frustrations.

For three decades running the national budget's revenues originated mainly (if not only) from the flag of convenience registry (around US$ 42 million a year) - which is not enough to efficiently manage the economy. The new rulers need absolutely to find additional resources to battle exiting catastrophic poverty level and jobless problems.

A relatively small country with a population of just three million, Liberia has the potential to be a middle income country. Its land is crisscrossed by rivers watering fertile soil that supports rubber, palm oil and tropical fruit plantations. It has some of the richest timber resources anywhere in Africa; mountains bearing some of the world's highest quality iron ore; and significant deposits of diamonds and gold.

Unfortunately, these assets had never been exploited to establish a powerful economy capable of creating jobs to cope with demand and riches to alleviate rampant poverty.

The setup of a
strategic integrated economic scheme would be necessary to restore devastated infrastructure and establish new ones. Said necessary strategic integrated economic scheme would assist the country:

    • 1- To develop and diversify the agricultural system
    • 2- To establish a sound and solid agribusiness / industrial sector.

That is the only way Liberia could break the vicious circle of unemployment - 70% of the population - and avoid political disturbances that could lead to another civil war.

Recent economic growth (15% GNP increase between 1999- 2000 and 20% (2002-2003) is the perfect illustration of the Catch-Up factor extensively exposed here


1- D&B Export Guide To Liberia
Digital Delivery In PDF by D&B
2- Liberia - The Heart of Darkness
by Gabriel I.H. Williams
3- The Mask of Anarchy
The Destruction of Liberia And The Religious Dimension of An African Civil War
4- Liberia's Civil War
Nigeria, Ecomog And Regional Security In West Africa by Adekeye Adebayo
5- Peacekeepers, Politicians And Wardlords
The Liberian Peace Process
by Abiodun Alao, et Al
6- Speaking And Social Identity
English In The Lives of Urban Africans
by Lawrence B. Breitborde

7- Swing Low, Swing Chariot
The Mortality Cost of Colonizing Liberia In The Nineteenth Century by Antonio McDaniel
8- African-American Exploration In West Africa.
Four Nineteenth Century Diaries
by James Fairhead
9- Liberian Dreams
Back-To-Africa Naratives frrom 1850s / by Wilson jeremiah Moses
10- Democracy Versus Dictatorship
by Emmanuel Dolo
11- The Mandingo In Liberia
Religion, Commerce And Integration
by Augustine Konneh
12- The Cultural Politics of Religious Change
A Study of The Sanoyea Kpelle In Liberia / by Randolph Stakeman
13- More News On Liberia
by Yahoo update

Click to contact Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum



US$ 1.116 billion (2000); 1.712 billion (2001); 1.798 billion (2002); 1.878 billion (2003)
GNP- growth rate: 0.5% (1998); 15% (2000); 5% (2001); 4.5% (2002); 20% (2003)
GNP-per capita: US$ 366 (2000); 566 (2003)

Click here for the difference between
GNP and Parity Purchasing Power

GNP-composition by sector

  1. agriculture: 74%

  2. industry: 7%
  3. services: 19%

Exports: US$ 39 million (f.o.b. 1999); US$ 55 million (f.o.b., 2000) 110 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: diamonds, iron ore, rubber, timber, coffee, cocoa
Exports - partners: Germany 54.8%, Poland 8.9%, France 8.5%, China 4.9%, Italy 4.5%, US 4.2% (2002)

Imports: US$ 142 million (f.o.b. 1999); US$ 170 million (f.o.b., 2000); 165 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; rice and other foodstuffs Imports
Imports - partners: South Korea 30.3%, Japan 19.1%, Germany 15.6%, France 9.1%, Singapore 7.9% (2002)




A passport and visa are required, as is evidence of a yellow fever vaccination. For persons who are traveling from countries that do not have a Liberian embassy or consulate, an airport entry visa may be obtained, but the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization must authorize the visa in advance of arrival. Further information on entry requirements for Liberia can be obtained from the nearest Liberian embassy or consulate.

If you intend staying more than 15 days in Liberia, it is compulsory to report within 48 hours of arrival to the Immigration Office in Broad Street, Monrovia; with 2 passport-sized photos
Diplomatic representation in the US
5303 Colorado Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20011
Tel: +(1) 202 723-0437
Fax: +(1) 202 723-0436
Website URL:
Click here
Click here
Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

2 Pembridge Place
London, W2 4XB
Tel: +(44) 171 221 1036


Main airlines servicing Liberia include Ethiopian Airlines, Aeroflot and Zambia Airways. After an interruption of 10 years SABENA the Belgian Airlines is resuming - end October 2000 - it twice weekly flights schedule to Monrovia from Brussels.

There are unscheduled freighter services with passenger accommodation from some European ports.

The main Liberian ports are Monrovia, Buchanan, Greenville, Harper and Robertsport.

Merchant marine: 1,593 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 54,513,479 GRT/85,495,576 DWT ships by type: barge carrier 3, bulk 360, cargo 109, chemical tanker 185, combination bulk 22, combination ore/oil 50, container 225, liquefied gas 91, multifunctional large load carrier 1, passenger 40, petroleum tanker 351, refrigerated cargo 76, roll-on/roll-off 16, short-sea passenger 3, specialized tanker 15, vehicle carrier 46 (1999 est.) note:

Liberia runs one of the oldest flag of convenience registry in the world. Ships from 54 countries are listed; among which are Germany 186, US 161, Norway 142, Greece 144, Japan 124, Hong Kong 100, China 53, UK 32, Singapore 39, and Monaco 38 (1998 est.) Below in the Investor Contact section is listed The Bureau of Maritime Affairs


Executive Mansion
Presidential, Economic and Financial Adviser
P. O. Box 10-9001
Capitol Hill 1000 Monrovia 10
Email: Click here
Bureau of Maritime Affairs
P. O. Box 10-9042
197 Ashmun Street
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
Tel: +(231) 22 22 29 / 22 26 47
/ 22 33 67
Telex: 44249
Chamber of Commerce
Capitol Hill
P.O. Box 92
Tel: +(231) 22 37 38
Click here to review funding available to rebuild power generation system

Hotel accommodation can be expensive. It is advisable to book well in advance, whatever the category of accommodation. Contact the ministry of tourism below listed for more.

Africa Hotel O.A.U.
Island Virginia
PO Box 1522
Monrovia O.A.U. Island Liberia
Tel: +(231) 22 42 16 / 22 38 88
Fax: +(231) 22 37 32
Ministry of Information,
Cultural Affairs and Tourism

PO Box 10-9021
110 United Nations Drive
Tel: +(231) 22 62 69
Fax: +(231) 22 60 69

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