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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 descendants 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 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. She subsequently won reelection in 2011 and remains challenged to rebuild Liberia’s economy, particularly following the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic, and to reconcile a nation still recovering from 14 years of fighting.

The UN Security Council in September 2012 passed Resolution 2066 which calls for a halving of UN troops in Liberia by 2015, reducing the troop level to fewer than 4,000, and challenging Liberia’s security sector to fill the gaps.

Liberia is a low income country that relies heavily on foreign assistance. It is richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture. It’s principal exports are iron ore, rubber, gold and timber.

The Government has attempted to revive raw timber extraction and is encouraging oil exploration. In the 1990s and early 2000s, civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia’s economy, especially infrastructure in and around the capital. With the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically elected government in 2006, businesses that had fled the country began to return. The country achieved high growth during 2010-13 due to favorable world prices for its commodities.

However, in 2014 as the Ebolavirus began to spread, the economy declined and many businesses departed, taking capital and expertise with them. The epidemic forced the government to divert scarce resources to combat the spread of the virus, reducing funds available for needed public investment. Revitalizing the economy in the future will depend on increasing investment and trade, higher global commodity prices, sustained foreign aid and remittances, development of infrastructure and institutions, and maintaining political stability and security.

The cost of addressing the Ebola epidemic will weigh heavily on public finances at the same time decreased economic activity reduces government revenue, although higher donor support will partly offset this loss.

Liberia GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.771 billion (2014 est.)
$3.679 billion (2013 est.)
$3.386 billion (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2014 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 178

Liberia GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.073 billion (2014 est.)

Liberia GDP – real growth rate:
2.5% (2014 est.)
8.7% (2013 est.)
8.3% (2012 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 127

Liberia GDP – per capita (PPP):
$900 (2014 est.)
$900 (2013 est.)
$900 (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 225

Liberia Gross national saving:
-35% of GDP (2012 est.)
-35% of GDP (2012 est.)

Liberia GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 116.3%
government consumption: 18.4%
investment in fixed capital: 25.4%
investment in inventories: -1.6%
exports of goods and services: 32.4%
imports of goods and services: -89.5%
(2011 est.)

Liberia GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 38.8%
industry: 16.4%
services: 44.7%
(2012 est.)

Liberia Agriculture – products:
rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (manioc, tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber

Liberia Industries:
mining (iron ore), rubber processing, palm oil processing, timber, diamonds

Liberia Industrial production growth rate:
50% (2011 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 2

Labor force:
1.554 million (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 129

Liberia Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 70%
industry: 8%
services: 22% (2000 est.)

Liberia Unemployment rate:
85% (2003 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 202

Liberia Population below poverty line:
63.8% (2007 est.)

Liberia Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)

revenues: $490.5 million
expenditures: $581.7 million (2014 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
23.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-4.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150

Public debt:
8.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
4.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11.2% (2014 est.)
7.6% (2013 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
14% (31 December 2014 est.)
13.48% (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 50

Stock of narrow money:
$512 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$459.1 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163

Stock of broad money:
$738.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$656 million (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 172

Stock of domestic credit:
$605 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$690.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Current account balance:
-$992.8 million (2014 est.)
-$953.2 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118

$897.9 million (2014 est.)
$831.4 million (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 163

Exports – partners:
China 18.9%, US 11.1%, Spain 10.6%, France 8.8%, Algeria 7.9%, Poland 6.8%, Germany 5.6%, Canada 4.2% (2013)

Exports – commodities:
rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee

$2.615 billion (2014 est.)
$2.457 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154

Imports – commodities:
fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs

Imports – partners:
Singapore 29.6%, South Korea 26.9%, China 17.9%, Japan 13.8% (2013)

Debt – external:
$625.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$586.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$17.01 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$16.56 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
$201 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$201 million (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88

Exchange rates:
Liberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar –
86.65 (2014 est.)
77.52 (2013 est.)
73.52 (2012 est.)
72.227 (2011 est.)
71.403 (2010 est.)

Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone

Geographic coordinates:
6 30 N, 9 30 W

Map references:

total: 111,369 sq km
land: 96,320 sq km
water: 15,049 sq km
* country comparison to the world: 104

Area – comparative:
slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries:
total: 1,667 km
border countries (3): Guinea 590 km, Cote d’Ivoire 778 km, Sierra Leone 299 km

579 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm

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

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m

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

Land use:
agricultural land: 28.1%
arable land 5.2%; permanent crops 2.1%; permanent pasture 20.8%
forest: 44.6%
other: 27.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:
21 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
232 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.13 cu km/yr (55%/37%/8%)
per capita: 43.66 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards:
dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)

Environment – current issues:
tropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation

Geography – note:
facing the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline is characterized by lagoons, mangrove swamps, and river-deposited sandbars; the inland grassy plateau supports limited agriculture

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