Liberia Country Profile
Liberia is situated on the west coast of Africa with an approximate population of 3.489 million. The country declared her independence in 1847 becoming the first black independent country in Africa.
Liberia has a Republican form of government with three branches including Legislature, Judiciary and Executive. The country is endowed with natural resources including iron ore, diamond, timber and maritime.
After 142 years of stability and a one party system of government, Liberians experienced violent conflict in 1989 which had immense social, political, and humanitarian implications. The system of governance collapsed resulting in abuses of human rights. In August of 2003, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led peace talks in Accra, Ghana. The peace talks culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement by Liberia's three warring factions:
• The Government of Liberia Armed Forces (GOL)
• Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), and
•The Movement for Democracy (MODEL).
As a result of the Accra agreement, the National Transitional Government headed by Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant and comprising of a conglomerate of technocrats and actors from different warring fractions, was installed. This marked the launch of a two-year transitional period within which the UN integrated mission, comprised of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the various humanitarian agencies, was mandated to stabilise and improve the security and humanitarian situation in Liberia in readiness for the 2005 elections.
The task of the international community was daunting as 14-years of war annihilated the social and economic infrastructure, and decimated the social fabric. An estimated 250,000 lives were lost, 464,000 Liberians became internally displaced (IDPs), over 350,000 sought refuge in neighboring Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone, and thousands more fled to other African countries or to the United States. Schools, hospitals, water and electricity supply systems were looted or destroyed. The economy suffered major blows, which were reinforced by an introduction of the international embargos on the purchase of Liberian timber and diamonds in December 2003 (UN Resolution 1521). The security situation was volatile and the country was awash with arms.
By the end of 2004, owing to dedicated efforts by the international community, the security situation was stabilized. This created the basis for the continuing efforts of the international community to rebuild and rehabilitate the country. Refugees and IDPs have returned home. Hospitals, schools and roads are undergoing reconstruction, and the government has been making headway in reinstating the rule of law and eradicating corruption. Nevertheless, great challenges still lie ahead before life resumes to normal in Monrovia, Montserrado County, and the remaining 14 counties. However, international actors and the Liberian government contributed jointly to the smooth conduct of the first post conflict elections in 2005 which paved the way for the first democratic elected woman president of Liberia in person of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
For a list of the current key decision makers in the Government of Liberia, please click here.
LISGIS Preliminary Census Result, 2008
Liberia Millennium Development Goals Report 2004
Liberian Economic Review 2003/4, Joint Needs Assessment 2004.
Map of Liberia
The State of Food and Nutrition Security in Liberia (COMPREHENSIVE FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION SURVEY 2010)
Additional information on Liberia can be obtained from the U.S. State Department's Website. Note: This is an external link. The UNDP is not responsible for its contents.