Economy overview: In 1989-96 the civil war destroyed much of the Liberian economy, especially the infrastructure of and around Monrovia. Many businessmen left the country, depriving it of their capital and experience. Some of them returned in 1997. Many did not want to return. With abundant water and mineral resources, vast forests and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia is a producer and exporter of key raw materials; local industrial enterprises, mainly owned by foreign companies, produce a very limited volume of products. The democratically elected government, which came to power in August 1997, inherited a huge international debt and now relies on the profits generated by the country’s maritime register, which make up the bulk of its hard currency income. Rebuilding the infrastructure of Liberia’s devastated economy and raising the incomes of its people will depend on the implementation of well-thought-out macro- and microeconomic reforms by the new government, in particular on creating an enabling environment for foreign investment. Recent growth has started from a very low level, and its continuation will require major political advances. See cheeroutdoor.com to know more about Liberia Business.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $3.35 billion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: 15% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $1,100 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 60%; industry: 10%; services: 30% (2000 est.).
Proportion of population below the poverty line: 80%
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: for the poorest 10% of families: n/a; by top 10% of households: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 5% (2000 OTs.).
Employment structure: agriculture 70%, industry 8%, services 22% (1999 est.).
Unemployment rate: 70%
Budget: income: NA; costs: no data.
Spheres of economy: rubber processing, palm oil processing, diamond mining.
Growth in industrial production: no data available.
Electricity generation: 432 million kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 100%; hydropower: 0%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 401.8 million kWh (1999)
Electricity export: 0 kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 0 kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, sugar cane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber.
Exports: $55 million (free on board, 2000 est.)
Exports: diamonds, iron ore, rubber, timber, coffee, cocoa.
Export partners: Belgium 53%, Switzerland 9%, USA 6%, France 4% (1999).
Imports: $170 million (free on board, 2000 est.)
Imports: various types of fuels, chemicals, machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods; rice and other foodstuffs.
Import partners: South Korea 30%, Italy 24%, Japan 15%, Germany 9% (1999).
External debt: $3 billion (1999 est.) Economic aid recipient: $200 million pledged (1998).
Economic aid donor:
Currency: Liberian dollar.
Currency code: LRD.
Exchange rate: LRD / USD – 39.81 (December 2000), 41.0483 (2000), 41.9025 (1999), 41.5075 (1998), 1 (official exchange rate in 1940-97); market rate: LRD / USD – 40 (December 1998), 50 (October 1995); note: exchange rate has been market driven since January 1998.
Fiscal year: calendar year.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 6,000 (1997).
Mobile cell phones: 0 (1995).
Telephone system: telephone and telegraph communication is carried out using a microwave radio relay system; the main center is in Monrovia; internal: no data; international: satellite earth stations – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean).
Broadcast stations: AM – 0, FM – 6, shortwave -4 (1999).
Radio receivers: 790,000 (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 2 (and 4 low power repeaters) (2000).
TVs: 70,000 (1997).
Internet country code: lr
Internet service providers: 1 (2000).
Number of users: 300 (2000).
Transport Railways: total length: 490 km (328 km single track); note – there are three rail systems jointly owned and operated by foreign steel and financial corporations with the Liberian government; one of these systems, the Lamco Railroad, closed in.1989 when iron ore mining ceased; two others closed due to the civil war; significant sections of the tracks were dismantled; approximately 60 km of tracks were exported as scrap metal; with standard gauge: 345 km (1.435 m gauge); narrow gauge: 145 km (1.067 m gauge).
Roads: total length: 10,600 km (all highways were severely damaged due to heavy rains and lack of control over their condition); coated: 657 km; unpaved: 9,943 km (1996 est.)
Ports and harbors: Buchanan, Greenville, Monrovia, Harper.
Merchant navy: in total: 1,478 ships (of 1,000 tons displacement and over) with a total displacement of 49,456,361 gross register tons / 76,620,648 long tons of gross tonnage; different types of ships: barges – 3, bulk carriers – 324, cargo ships – 97, chemical tankers – 163, dry bulk carriers – 20, combined ore and oil carriers – 38, container carriers – 245, liquefied gas carriers – 97, multifunctional heavy-duty ships – 4, passenger ships – 24, oil tankers – 310, refrigerated ships – 74, ferries – 19, coastal passenger ships – 3, specialized tankers – 12, cargo ships for transportation of vehicles – 45; note: including foreign vessels registered here for flag of convenience reasons: Argentina 8, Australia 1, Ashmore and Cartier Islands 1, Austria 5, Bermuda 5,
Airports: 46 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 2; over 3,047 m: 1; from 1524 to 2437 m: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 44; from 1524 to 2437 m:3; from 914 to 1523 m:5; less than 914 m: 36 (2000 est.).
Branches of the Armed Forces: Army, Air Force, Navy.
Total military manpower: male 15 to 49: 715,753 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: males aged 15 to 49: 385,460 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year:
Military spending in dollar terms: $1 million (1998).
Military spending as part of GDP: 2% (1998).
International issues International disputes: no.
Illicit drugs: The country’s role as a transit point for heroin from Southeast and Southwest Asia, as well as cocaine from South America destined for Europe and the United States, is growing.