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Liberia Economy

    Economy—overview: A civil war in 1989-97 has destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around Monrovia. Many businessmen have fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them. Some returned during 1997. Many will not return. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products, while local manufacturing, mainly foreign owned, had been small in scope. The democratically elected government, installed in August 1997, inherited massive international debts and currently relies on revenues from its maritime registry to provide the bulk of its foreign exchange earnings. The restoration of the infrastructure and the raising of incomes in this ravaged economy depends on the implementation of sound macro- and micro-economic policies of the new government, including the encouragement of foreign investment.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$2.8 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: NA%

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,000 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 30%
    industry: 36%
    services: 34%

    Population below poverty line: 80%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 70%

    Unemployment rate: 70%

    Budget:
    revenues: $NA
    expenditures: $NA

    Industries: rubber processing, palm oil processing, diamonds

    Industrial production growth rate: 0%

    Electricity—production: 480 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 480 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

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

    Exports: $1.1 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Exports—commodities: diamonds, iron ore, rubber, timber, coffee

    Exports—partners: Belgium, Norway, Ukraine, Singapore (1997)

    Imports: $3.65 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Imports—commodities: fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; rice and other foodstuffs

    Imports—partners: South Korea, Japan, Italy, Singapore (1997)

    Debt—external: $2 billion (1997 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $122.8 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Liberian dollar (L$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: Liberian dollars (L$) per US$1—1.0000 (officially fixed rate since 1940); market exchange rate: Liberian dollars (L$) per US$1—40 (December 1998), 50 (October 1995), 7 (January 1992); market rate floats against the US dollar

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)