Liberia Country Facts

By | June 16, 2024
Liberia
Capital city Monrovia
Surface 111,369 km²
Population 4,503,000
Road network length 657 km
Length of highway network 0 km
First highway N/A
Motorway name N/A
Traffic drives Right
License plate code LB

Liberia, formally the Republic of Liberia is a small country in western Africa. The country is approximately 3 times the size of the Netherlands and has 4.5 million inhabitants. The capital is Monrovia.

Geography

Liberia is located in West Africa, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It borders Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. The country measures 490 kilometers along its longitudinal axis and up to 250 kilometers inland from the coast. The country consists mostly of densely forested area, which is flat to sloping in much of the country, with somewhat higher terrain in the north, the highest point being the 1440 meter high Mount Wuteve. The rivers flow in a southwesterly direction from the mountains to the coast.

The country largely has a tropical climate, in the extreme south an equatorial climate and in the northeast a savanna climate. There is an extreme amount of rain in Liberia, in the capital Monrovia there is 4600 mm of precipitation per year, it is the wettest capital in the world. Most precipitation falls from May to October, when there is a monthly rainfall of 400 to 800 mm. In the drier season there is still quite a bit of precipitation. Liberia is not very sunny due to the heavy rainfall.

Demographics

The population of Liberia grew from approximately 1 million in 1960 to 2.2 million in the mid-1980s, then contracted to 2 million as a result of the war, then rapidly growing to 4 million in 2010.  The main city in Liberia is the capital. Monrovia which has approximately 1 million inhabitants. Other cities have no more than 50,000 inhabitants, Monrovia is larger than all other cities combined.

There are more than 16 ethnic groups in Liberia, with no group larger than 20% of the population. English is the official language and lingua franca in Liberia. More than 30 indigenous languages ​​are spoken, but none are spoken as a first language by more than a few percent of the population, making English dominant.

Economy

Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, there is hardly any formal economy. Many ships fly the flag of Liberia, although they never dock in that country. This provides the Liberian government with the main source of income. The civil war from 1989 led to an economic contraction of around 90%, the economy virtually ceased to exist, this is one of the largest economic contractions in world history. The main export products are oil and rubber, but are small in total volume.

History

The area that is now Liberia was known to Europeans as the Pepper Coast or the Grain Coast. Between 1461 and the end of the 17th century, the Portuguese, Dutch and British built trading posts on the coast. In the 19th century, former slaves in the United States were encouraged to move to this region. In 1847 the Republic of Liberia was proclaimed. Liberia was therefore one of two countries in Africa that were not colonized by Europeans.

In the mid-20th century, Liberia began to modernize with American support. During World War II, the Americans financed the construction of roads, the port and airport of Monrovia. During the Cold War, Liberia was an allies of the west against the rise of communism in Africa. Between 1989 and 1997, the first Liberian civil war led by Charles Taylor against the government ensued, which fell in 1990 when Monrovia was taken and Taylor came to power. The peace of 1997 was short-lived, in 1999 a second Liberian civil war started. Under Taylor, Liberia became a pariah state because of the export of blood diamonds that financed the civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone. Taylor resigned in 2003 and fled to Nigeria. The 2005 elections were called the freest and fairest in Liberia’s history.

Road Network

Liberia’s road network has been devastated by the latest civil war and lack of maintenance, coupled with the tropical climate. About 600 kilometers of road is paved, mostly in poor condition. There are only a few main roads, the road from Monrovia to Buchanan and Bomi Hills, and from Monrovia to Gahnpa on the border with Guinea. The road network is very poorly integrated with neighboring countries, but there are plans to build a through route from Dakar to Lagos, which will also run through Liberia. There are no highways in Liberia. The capital Monrovia is located on two peninsulas, with one bridge connecting both parts. A second bridge was in ruins until 2012. A four-lane road runs through Monrovia, with no lane separation. Almost all side streets of this are unpaved.

Road numbering

There is no road numbering in Liberia.

Signage

Signage is virtually non-existent in Liberia. Since it has never been a colony, no colonial powers have posted signage, as is the case in many African countries.

 

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