[Country map of Liberia]



Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone

Map references: Africa

total area: 111,370 sq km
land area: 96,320 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries: total 1,585 km, Guinea 563 km, Cote d'Ivoire 716 km, Sierra Leone 306 km

Coastline: 579 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers

Terrain: mostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast

Natural resources: iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold

Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 3%
meadows and pastures: 2%
forest and woodland: 39%
other: 55%

Irrigated land: 20 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: tropical rain forest subject to deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of rivers from the dumping of iron ore tailings and of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage
natural hazards: dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)
international agreements: party to - Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation


Population: 3,073,245 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44% (female 674,155; male 680,952)
15-64 years: 52% (female 768,147; male 844,326)
65 years and over: 4% (female 55,575; male 50,090) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.32% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 43.08 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 12.05 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)
note: if the Ghanaian-led peace negotiations, under way in 1995, are successful, many Liberian refugees may return from exile

Infant mortality rate: 110.6 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 58.17 years
male: 55.67 years
female: 60.75 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.3 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Liberian(s)
adjective: Liberian

Ethnic divisions: indigenous African tribes 95% (including Kpelle, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, and Bella), Americo-Liberians 5% (descendants of former slaves)

Religions: traditional 70%, Muslim 20%, Christian 10%

Languages: English 20% (official), Niger-Congo language group about 20 local languages come from this group

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 40%
male: 50%
female: 29%

Labor force: 510,000 including 220,000 in the monetary economy
by occupation: agriculture 70.5%, services 10.8%, industry and commerce 4.5%, other 14.2%
note: non-African foreigners hold about 95% of the top-level management and engineering jobs


conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
conventional short form: Liberia

Digraph: LI

Type: republic

Capital: Monrovia

Administrative divisions: 13 counties; Bomi, Bong, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Lofa, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba, River Cess, Sinoe

Independence: 26 July 1847

National holiday: Independence Day, 26 July (1847)

Constitution: 6 January 1986

Legal system: 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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state and head of government: Chairman of the Council of State David KPOMAKPOR (since March 1994); election last held on 15 October 1985; results - Gen. Dr. Samuel Kanyon DOE (NDPL) 50.9%, Jackson DOE (LAP) 26.4%, other 22.7%
note: constitutional government ended in September 1990 when President Samuel Kanyon DOE was killed by rebel forces; civil war ensued and in July 1993 the Cotonou Peace Treaty was negotiated by the major warring factions under UN auspices; a transitional coalition government under David KROMAKPOR was formed in March 1994 but has been largely ineffective and unable to implement the provisions of the peace treaty; Ghanaian-led negotiations are now underway to seat a new interim government that would oversee elections proposed for late 1995
cabinet: Cabinet; selected by the leaders of the major factions in the civil war

Legislative branch: unicameral Transitional Legislative Assembly, the members of which are appointed by the leaders of the major factions in the civil war
note: the former bicameral legislature no longer exists and there is no assurance that it will be reconstituted very soon

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL), Augustus CAINE, chairman; Liberian Action Party (LAP), Emmanuel KOROMAH, chairman; Unity Party (UP), Joseph KOFA, chairman; United People's Party (UPP), Gabriel Baccus MATTHEWS, chairman; National Patriotic Party (NPP), Charles TAYLOR, chairman; Liberian Peoples Party (LPP), Dusty WOLOKOLLIE, chairman


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Konah K. BLACKETT
chancery: 5201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 723-0437
consulate(s) general: New York

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: (vacant); Charge d' Affaires William P. TWADDELL
embassy: 111 United Nations Drive, Monrovia
mailing address: P. O. Box 100098, Mamba Point, Monrovia
telephone: [231] 222991 through 222994
FAX: [231] 223710

Flag: 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


Overview: Civil war since 1990 has destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around Monrovia. Businessmen have fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them. 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. Political instability threatens prospects for economic reconstruction and repatriation of some 750,000 Liberian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. The political impasse between the interim government and rebel leader Charles TAYLOR has prevented restoration of normal economic life, including the re-establishment of a strong central government with effective economic development programs. The economy deteriorated further in 1994.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $2.3 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: NA%

National product per capita: $770 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $242.1 million
expenditures: $435.4 million, including capital expenditures of $29.5 million (1989 est.)

Exports: $505 million (f.o.b., 1989 est.)
commodities: iron ore 61%, rubber 20%, timber 11%, coffee
partners: US, EC, Netherlands

Imports: $394 million (c.i.f., 1989 est.)
commodities: mineral fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, rice and other foodstuffs
partners: US, EC, Japan, China, Netherlands, ECOWAS

External debt: $2.1 billion (September 1993 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate NA% (1993-94); much industrial damage caused by factional warfare

capacity: 330,000 kW
production: 440 million kWh
consumption per capita: 143 kWh (1993)

Industries: rubber processing, food processing, construction materials, furniture, palm oil processing, mining (iron ore, diamonds)

Agriculture: accounts for about 40% of GDP (including fishing and forestry); principal products - rubber, timber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava, palm oil, sugarcane, bananas, sheep, goats; not self-sufficient in food, imports 25% of rice consumption

Illicit drugs: increasingly a transshipment point for heroin and cocaine

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $665 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $870 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $25 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $77 million

Currency: 1 Liberian dollar (L$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Liberian dollars (L$) per US$1 - 1.00 (officially fixed rate since 1940); unofficial parallel exchange rate of US$1 - L$7 (January 1992), unofficial rate floats against the US dollar

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 490 km (single track); note - three rail systems owned and operated by foreign steel and financial interests in conjunction with Liberian Government; one of these, the Lamco Railroad, closed in 1989 after iron ore production ceased; the other two have been shut down by the civil war
standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 145 km 1.067-m gauge

total: 10,087 km
paved: 603 km
unpaved: gravel 5,171 km (includes 2,323 km of private roads of rubber and timber firms, open to the public); earth 4,313 km

Ports: Buchanan, Greenville, Harper, Monrovia

Merchant marine:
total: 1,549 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 56,709,634 GRT/97,038,680 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 3, bulk 392, cargo 121, chemical tanker 114, combination bulk 33, combination ore/oil 57, container 124, liquefied gas tanker 75, oil tanker 459, passenger 32, passenger-cargo 1, refrigerated cargo 58, roll-on/roll-off cargo 18, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 7, vehicle carrier 54
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes 53 countries; the 10 major fleet flags are: United States 232 ships, Japan 190, Norway 166, Greece 125, Germany 125, United Kingdom 102, Hong Kong 95, China 45, Russia 41, and the Netherlands 34

total: 59
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 43
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 3
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 11


Telephone system: NA telephones; telephone and telegraph service via radio relay network; main center is Monrovia; most telecommunications services inoperable due to insurgency movement
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 5
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: NA; the ultimate structure of the Liberian military force will depend on who is the victor in the ongoing civil war

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 732,063; males fit for military service 390,849 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $30 million, 2% of GDP (1994)