|Republic of Liberia
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
Liberia is located in the tropical part of West
Africa and is the oldest republic on the continent. At
the same time, alongside Ethiopia, it is the only
country in Africa that has never been under European
colonial rule. With an area of 111,370 km², Liberia is
almost a third the size of Germany. Liberia borders the
Republic of Ivory Coast in the east, Guinea in the north
and Sierra Leone in the northwest .
There are three landscape zones: a low plain that
runs along the coast, a hill zone with table land in the
center and a low mountain range. These form the Nimba
Mountains in the north, where the highest elevation in
the country is at 1,384 m. The compensation coast in the
north shows a change from steep and flat coast lines, is
difficult to access by ship and has a length of around
550 km. The center of the country is divided into three
by deep valleys of the rivers Saint Paul and Cestos into
a fertile, cultivated western part, a central region and
large deserted forest areas in the east.
In the coastal area there is a tropical climate with
consistently hot and humid weather. In the northern
parts of the country the rainy season is from June to
October, while in the northern coastal plain the rainy
season in August is interrupted by a dry period. In the
extreme south there are two rainy seasons. In the
capital Monrovia, the annual rainfall is 5 130 mm, the
average temperatures are 26 กใ C in January and 24 กใ C in
July. Precipitation decreases towards the interior, but
increases again in the low mountain ranges in the north.
Especially in the interior, the dusty-hot Harmattan
wind, a trade wind from the northeast, drives the
temperatures up in the dry season from October to March.
Flora and fauna
The evergreen rainforest is typical of Liberia's
vegetation. In particular, teak and mahogany woods are
particularly valuable tree species. Only in places where
less than 2,000 mm of precipitation falls annually are
the forests partially deciduous. In the far north of the
country there are wet savannas, the coasts are partially
covered by mangrove swamps.
A variety of different animals can be found in the
country's rainforests, such as chimpanzees, antelopes
and anteaters, as well as dwarf hippos. But also bush
oxen and elephants as well as the rare leopards are at
home here, as well as a variety of poisonous snake
species, bats and birds as well as scorpions and
lizards. The reptile species are particularly numerous,
including crocodiles. The coastal seas and the numerous
rivers are also home to a variety of fish and shellfish.
The tsetse fly is a problem as a carrier of sleeping
sickness. Since this leads to death if left untreated,
livestock farming is only possible to a limited extent.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 3.48 million residents, about a quarter of whom live
in the metropolitan area of the capital Monrovia, live
in Liberia. The descendants of the slaves from America
who once founded the country make up only a few percent
of the population, but they continue to shape social and
social life in the state as an elite and upper class.
There are also 16 main and numerous smaller tribes; the
largest ethnic groups are the Kpelle (just under a fifth
of the population), Bassa, Grebo, Gio and Kru.
The civil war had drastic ramifications for Liberia's
social fabric. More than three quarters of the
population have had to flee their home region in the
past ten years and have since lived either in
neighboring countries or in other regions of the
country. Half a million Liberians are still in refugee
camps in the country itself.
10% of the population are Christians, around 70% are
followers of natural religions, 20% are Muslims. In
addition to English, the official national language,
which speaks only about a fifth of the population, more
than a dozen different native languages are spoken,
including Kpelle and Bassa.
Life expectancy in Liberia is very low at 48 years of
age due to the catastrophic medical care and the high
HIV infection rate (official estimate in 2003 was almost
6%; more recent data are not available, estimates by
local doctors are significantly higher). Population
growth is still high at just under 4%. Almost two thirds
of men, but only 42% of women in Liberia can read and
According to the constitution that came into force in
1986, Liberia is a presidential republic. The president,
elected directly by the people for six years, is also
head of state, commander-in-chief of the armed forces
and head of government of the executive. He appoints his
cabinet with the approval of the Senate. Ellen
Johnson-Sirleaf has been the first elected female head
of state in Africa since January 2006.
A two-chamber system forms the legislature. It
consists on the one hand of the Senate with 30 members
and a term of office of nine years, on the other hand of
a House of Representatives that has 73 members who are
elected by the people for six years.
Liberia is divided into 15 districts.
Liberia has good basic economic conditions as it has
high-quality iron ore deposits and numerous other raw
materials. In addition, fertile soils, fish-rich coastal
waters, a stable climate and the presence of precious
tropical woods in the rainforests represent rich natural
resources. However, the foundations for a successful
economy were largely destroyed in the civil war.
Unemployment is 85%; around 64% of the population live
below the poverty line.
Most Liberians practice agriculture (cultivation of
cassava and rice in chopping) as subsistence production.
Nevertheless, food has to be imported. The plantations
in the cleared central part of the country, which are
mostly foreign-owned, are managed effectively and
success-oriented. Rubber is the country's most important
export product. In addition to rubber, cocoa and coffee
are also grown for export.
The iron ore export, which was important before the
civil war, is growing again. But precious woods, gold
and diamonds are again exported to South Korea, China,
Japan and Germany. The most important imports are
machinery, vehicles, food and fuel from South Africa,
the USA and Spain. Numerous tankers and merchant ships
from foreign shipowners sail under the Liberian flag due
to the favorable conditions.
The country's main port is Monrovia, which has a free
port. Liberia International Airport is also near the
capital in Robertsfield.
The currency is the Liberian dollar.