Home

Liberia vs. Sierra Leone

Introduction

LiberiaSierra Leone
BackgroundSettlement of freed slaves from the US in what is today Liberia began in 1822; by 1847, the Americo-Liberians were able to establish a republic. William TUBMAN, president from 1944-71, did much to promote foreign investment and to bridge the economic, social, and political gaps between the descendants of the original settlers and the inhabitants of the interior. In 1980, a military coup led by Samuel DOE ushered in a decade of authoritarian rule. In December 1989, Charles TAYLOR launched a rebellion against DOE's regime that led to a prolonged civil war in which DOE was killed. A period of relative peace in 1997 allowed for an election that brought TAYLOR to power, but major fighting resumed in 2000. An August 2003 peace agreement ended the war and prompted the resignation of former president Charles TAYLOR, who was convicted by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague for his involvement in Sierra Leone's civil war. After two years of rule by a transitional government, democratic elections in late 2005 brought President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF to power. She subsequently won reelection in 2011 and remains challenged to rebuild Liberia's economy, particularly following the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic, and to reconcile a nation still recovering from 14 years of fighting. The UN Security Council in September 2015 passed Resolution 2239, which renewed the mandate for the UN Mission in Liberia for another year. In July 2016, the UN handed over peacekeeping responsibility to Liberia and reduced the UN troop presence, which now serves a support role. Liberia is scheduled to hold presidential and legislative elections in October 2017. Constitutional term limits bar
The British set up a trading post near present-day Freetown in the 17th century. Originally the trade involved timber and ivory, but later it expanded into slaves. Following the American Revolution, a colony was established in 1787 and Sierra Leone became a destination for resettling black loyalists who had originally been resettled in Nova Scotia. After the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, British crews delivered thousands of Africans liberated from illegal slave ships to Sierra Leone, particularly Freetown. The colony gradually expanded inland during the course of the 19th century; independence was attained in 1961. Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war (1991-2002) that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, has developed as a guarantor of the country's stability; the armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 and 2012 national elections. In March 2014, the closure of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone marked the end of more than 15 years of peacekeeping and political operations in Sierra Leone. The government's stated priorities include furthering development - including recovering from the Ebola epidemic - creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.

Geography

LiberiaSierra Leone
LocationWestern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia
Geographic coordinates6 30 N, 9 30 W
8 30 N, 11 30 W
Map referencesAfrica
Africa
Areatotal: 111,369 sq km
land: 96,320 sq km
water: 15,049 sq km
total: 71,740 sq km
land: 71,620 sq km
water: 120 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly larger than Tennessee
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundariestotal: 1,667 km
border countries (3): Guinea 590 km, Cote d'Ivoire 778 km, Sierra Leone 299 km
total: 1,093 km
border countries (2): Guinea 794 km, Liberia 299 km
Coastline579 km
402 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climatetropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers
tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)
Terrainmostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast
coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 243 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wuteve 1,380 m
mean elevation: 279 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m
Natural resourcesiron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower
diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
Land useagricultural land: 28.1%
arable land 5.2%; permanent crops 2.1%; permanent pasture 20.8%
forest: 44.6%
other: 27.3% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 56.2%
arable land 23.4%; permanent crops 2.3%; permanent pasture 30.5%
forest: 37.5%
other: 6.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land30 sq km (2012)
300 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsdust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)
dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms
Environment - current issuestropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage
rapid population growth pressuring the environment; overharvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion; civil war depleted natural resources; overfishing
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - notefacing the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline is characterized by lagoons, mangrove swamps, and river-deposited sandbars; the inland grassy plateau supports limited agriculture
rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa

Demographics

LiberiaSierra Leone
Population4,299,944 (July 2016 est.)
6,018,888 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 42.3% (male 917,354/female 901,627)
15-24 years: 18.9% (male 400,013/female 412,869)
25-54 years: 31.32% (male 669,630/female 677,321)
55-64 years: 4.3% (male 89,264/female 95,519)
65 years and over: 3.17% (male 66,658/female 69,689) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 41.9% (male 1,257,997/female 1,263,961)
15-24 years: 18.57% (male 542,975/female 574,669)
25-54 years: 32.04% (male 924,331/female 1,003,895)
55-64 years: 3.74% (male 104,415/female 120,953)
65 years and over: 3.75% (male 94,520/female 131,172) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.3 years
male: 18.1 years
female: 18.5 years (2016 est.)
total: 19 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 19.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.44% (2016 est.)
2.36% (2016 est.)
Birth rate33.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
36.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate9.5 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
10.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-2.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 65.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 69.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 61.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 70 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 78.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 61.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 59 years
male: 57.3 years
female: 60.8 years (2016 est.)
total population: 58.2 years
male: 55.6 years
female: 60.9 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.6 children born/woman (2016 est.)
4.76 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.09% (2015 est.)
1.34% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Liberian(s)
adjective: Liberian
noun: Sierra Leonean(s)
adjective: Sierra Leonean
Ethnic groupsKpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, other 20.1% (2008 Census)
Temne 35%, Mende 31%, Limba 8%, Kono 5%, Kriole 2% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century; also known as Krio), Mandingo 2%, Loko 2%, other 15% (includes refugees from Liberia's recent civil war, and small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians) (2008 census)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS30,200 (2015 est.)
51,100 (2015 est.)
ReligionsChristian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.4% (2008 Census)
Muslim 60%, indigenous beliefs 30%, Christian 10%
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,900 (2015 est.)
2,500 (2015 est.)
LanguagesEnglish 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence
English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 47.6%
male: 62.4%
female: 32.8% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic
total population: 48.1%
male: 58.7%
female: 37.7% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
aerosolized dust or soil contact disease: Lassa fever
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies
aerosolized dust or soil contact disease: Lassa fever (2016)
Education expenditures2.8% of GDP (2012)
2.7% of GDP (2014)
Urbanizationurban population: 49.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.36% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 39.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.75% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 88.6% of population
rural: 62.6% of population
total: 75.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 11.4% of population
rural: 37.4% of population
total: 24.4% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 84.9% of population
rural: 47.8% of population
total: 62.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 15.1% of population
rural: 52.2% of population
total: 37.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 28% of population
rural: 5.9% of population
total: 16.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 72% of population
rural: 94.1% of population
total: 83.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 22.8% of population
rural: 6.9% of population
total: 13.3% of population
unimproved:
urban: 77.2% of population
rural: 93.1% of population
total: 86.7% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationMONROVIA (capital) 1.264 million (2015)
FREETOWN (capital) 1.007 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate725 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
1,360 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight15.3% (2013)
18.1% (2013)
Health expenditures10% of GDP (2014)
11.1% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.01 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density0.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
0.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate5.8% (2014)
6.6% (2014)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 177,160
percentage: 21% (2007 est.)
total number: 573,287
percentage: 48% (2005 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth19.2 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)
19.2 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)
Demographic profileLiberia’s high fertility rate of nearly 5 children per woman and large youth cohort – more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25 – will sustain a high dependency ratio for many years to come. Significant progress has been made in preventing child deaths, despite a lack of health care workers and infrastructure. Infant and child mortality have dropped nearly 70% since 1990; the annual reduction rate of about 5.4% is the highest in Africa.
Nevertheless, Liberia’s high maternal mortality rate remains among the world’s worst; it reflects a high unmet need for family planning services, frequency of early childbearing, lack of quality obstetric care, high adolescent fertility, and a low proportion of births attended by a medical professional. Female mortality is also increased by the prevalence of female genital cutting (FGC), which is practiced by 10 of Liberia’s 16 tribes and affects more than two-thirds of women and girls. FGC is an initiation ritual performed in rural bush schools, which teach traditional beliefs on marriage and motherhood and are an obstacle to formal classroom education for Liberian girls.
Liberia has been both a source and a destination for refugees. During Liberia’s 14-year civil war (1989-2003), more than 250,000 people became refugees and another half million were internally displaced. Between 2004 and the cessation of refugee status for Liberians in June 2012, the UNHCR helped more than 155,000 Liberians to voluntarily repatriate, while others returned home on their own. Some Liberian refugees spent more than two decades living in other West African countries. Liberia hosted more than 125,000 Ivoirian refugees escaping post-election violence in 2010-11; as of mid-2017, about 15,000 Ivoirian refugees were still living in Liberia because of instability.
Sierra Leone’s youthful and growing population is driven by its high total fertility rate (TFR) of almost 5 children per woman, which has declined little over the last two decades. Its elevated TFR is sustained by the continued desire for large families, the low level of contraceptive use, and the early start of childbearing. Despite its high TFR, Sierra Leone’s population growth is somewhat tempered by high infant, child, and maternal mortality rates that are among the world’s highest and are a result of poverty, a lack of potable water and sanitation, poor nutrition, limited access to quality health care services, and the prevalence of female genital cutting.
Sierra Leone’s large youth cohort – about 60% of the population is under the age of 25 – continues to struggle with high levels of unemployment, which was one of the major causes of the country’s 1991-2002 civil war and remains a threat to stability today. Its estimated 60% youth unemployment rate is attributed to high levels of illiteracy and unskilled labor, a lack of private sector jobs, and low pay.
Sierra Leone has been a source of and destination for refugees. Sierra Leone’s civil war internally displaced as many as 2 million people, or almost half the population, and forced almost another half million to seek refuge in neighboring countries (370,000 Sierra Leoneans fled to Guinea and 120,000 to Liberia). The UNHCR has helped almost 180,000 Sierra Leoneans to return home, while more than 90,000 others have repatriated on their own. Of the more than 65,000 Liberians who took refuge in Sierra Leone during their country’s civil war (1989-2003), about 50,000 have been voluntarily repatriated by the UNHCR and others have returned home independently. As of 2015, less than 1,000 Liberians still reside in Sierra Leone.
Contraceptive prevalence rate20.2% (2013)
16.6% (2013)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 82.9
youth dependency ratio: 77.4
elderly dependency ratio: 5.5
potential support ratio: 18.2 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 81.9
youth dependency ratio: 77.1
elderly dependency ratio: 4.9
potential support ratio: 20.6 (2015 est.)

Government

LiberiaSierra Leone
Country name"conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
conventional short form: Liberia
etymology: name derives from the Latin word ""liber"" meaning ""free""; so named because the nation was created as a homeland for liberated African-American slaves
"
"conventional long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
conventional short form: Sierra Leone
local long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
local short form: Sierra Leone
etymology: the Portuguese explorer Pedro de SINTRA named the country ""Serra Leoa"" (Lion Mountains) for the impressive mountains he saw while sailing the West African coast in 1462
"
Government typepresidential republic
presidential republic
Capitalname: Monrovia
geographic coordinates: 6 18 N, 10 48 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Freetown
geographic coordinates: 8 29 N, 13 14 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions15 counties; Bomi, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Lofa, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba, River Cess, River Gee, Sinoe
3 provinces and 1 area*; Eastern, Northern, Southern, Western*
Independence26 July 1847
27 April 1961 (from the UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, 26 July (1847)
Independence Day, 27 April (1961)
Constitutionprevious 1847 (at independence); latest drafted 19 October 1983, revised version adopted by referendum 3 July 1984, effective 6 January 1986; amended 2011; note - a series of amendment proposals approved by the Constitution Review Conference in early 2015 are pending government review (2016)
several previous; latest in effect 1 October 1991; amended several times, last in 2013 (2016)
Legal systemmixed legal system of common law (based on Anglo-American law) and customary law
mixed legal system of English common law and customary law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF (since 16 January 2006); Vice President Joseph BOAKAI (since 16 January 2006); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF (since 16 January 2006); Vice President Joseph BOAKAI (since 16 January 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 October and 8 November 2011 (next to be held on 10 October 2017)
election results: Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF reelected president; percent of vote in second round - Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF (UP) 90.7%, Winston TUBMAN (NDPL) 9.3%
chief of state: President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007)
cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president, approved by Parliament; the cabinet is responsible to the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 November 2012 (next to be on 7 March 2018)
election results: Ernest Bai KOROMA reelected president; percent of vote - Ernest Bai KOROMA (APC) 58.7%, Julius Maada BIO (SLPP) 37.4%, other 3.9%
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (30 seats; members directly elected in 15 two-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 9-year staggered terms with half the membership renewed at 3- and 6-year intervals; eligible for a second term; and the House of Representatives (73 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms; eligible for a second term)
elections: Senate - last held on 20 December 2014 (originally scheduled for 14 October 2014, but postponed due to Ebola-virus epidemic; next to be held in fall 2020); House of Representatives - last held on 11 October 2011 (next to be held on 10 October 2017)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - CDC 29.8%, LP 11.5%, NPP 6.1%, PUP 4.9%, NDC 1.3%, other parties 11.8%, independent 24.3%; seats by party - UP 4, CDC 2, LP 2, ANC 1, NDC 1, NPP 1, PUP 1, independent 3; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - UP 17.8%, CDC 12.8%, LP 9.2%, NDC 5.7%, LTP 4.5%, PUP 3.9%, NPP 3.3%, MPC 2.4%, LDP 1.0%, NRP 0.8%, other parties 16.8% independent 19.7% ; seats by party - UP 24, CDC 11, LP 7, PUP 6, NDC 5, APD 3, NPP 3, MPC 2, LDP 1, LTP 1, NRP 1, independent 9
"description: unicameral Parliament (124 seats; 112 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 12 seats filled in separate elections by non-partisan members of Parliament called ""paramount chiefs;"" members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 17 November 2012 (next to be held on 7 March 2018)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 69, SLPP 43
"
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 4 associate justices); note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction for all constitutional cases
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and associate justices appointed by the president of Liberia with consent of the Senate; judges can serve until age 70
subordinate courts: judicial circuit courts; special courts including criminal, civil, labor, traffic; magistrate and traditional or customary courts
highest court(s): Superior Court of Judicature (consists of the Supreme Court - at the apex - with the chief justice and 4 other judges, the Court of Appeal with the chief justice and 7 other judges, and the High Court of Justice with the chief justice and 9 other judges; note – the Judicature has jurisdiction in all civil, criminal, and constitutional matters
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice and other judges of the Judicature appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (a 7-member independent body of judges, presidential appointees, and the Commission chairman) and subject to the approval of Parliament; all Judicature judges appointed until retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; District Appeals Court; local courts
Political parties and leadersAlliance for Peace and Democracy or APD [Marcus S. G. DAHN]
Alternative National Congress or ANC [Orishil GOULD]
Congress for Democratic Change or CDC [George WEAH]
Liberia Destiny Party or LDP [Nathaniel BARNES]
Liberia Transformation Party or LTP [Julius SUKU]
Liberty Party or LP [J. Fonati KOFFA]
Movement for Progressive Change or MPC [Simeon FREEMAN]
National Democratic Coalition or NDC [Dew MAYSON]
National Democratic Party of Liberia or NDPL [D. Nyandeh SIEH]
National Patriotic Party or NPP
National Reformist Party or NRP [Maximillian T. W. DIABE]
National Union for Democratic Progress or NUDP [Victor BARNEY]
People's Unification Party [Isobe GBORKORKOLLIE]
Unity Party or UP [Varney SHERMAN]
All People's Congress or APC [Ernest Bai KOROMA]
Sierra Leone People's Party or SLPP [Somano KAPEN]
numerous other parties
Political pressure groups and leadersother: demobilized former military officers
other: student unions; trade unions
International organization participationACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jeff Gongoer DOWANA (since 12 April 2017)
chancery: 5201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 723-0437
FAX: [1] (202) 723-0436
consulate(s) general: New York
chief of mission: Ambassador Bockari Kortu STEVENS (since 28 March 2008)
chancery: 1701 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9261 through 9263
FAX: [1] (202) 483-1793
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Christine A. ELDER (since 23 June 2016)
embassy: U.S. Embassy, 502 Benson Street, Monrovia
mailing address: P.O. Box 98, Monrovia
telephone: [231] 77-677-7000
FAX: [231] 77-677-7370
chief of mission: Ambassador John HOOVER (since 4 November 4 December 2014))
embassy: Southridge-Hill Station, Freetown
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [232] 99 1055 00
FAX: [232] 99 515 355
Flag description11 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; a white five-pointed star appears on a blue square in the upper hoist-side corner; the stripes symbolize the signatories of the Liberian Declaration of Independence; the blue square represents the African mainland, and the star represents the freedom granted to the ex-slaves; according to the constitution, the blue color signifies liberty, justice, and fidelity, the white color purity, cleanliness, and guilelessness, and the red color steadfastness, valor, and fervor
note: the design is based on the US flag
three equal horizontal bands of light green (top), white, and light blue; green symbolizes agriculture, mountains, and natural resources, white represents unity and justice, and blue the sea and the natural harbor in Freetown
National anthem"name: ""All Hail, Liberia Hail!""
lyrics/music: Daniel Bashiel WARNER/Olmstead LUCA
note: lyrics adopted 1847, music adopted 1860; the anthem's author later became the third president of Liberia
"
"name: ""High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free""
lyrics/music: Clifford Nelson FYLE/John Joseph AKA
note: adopted 1961
"
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)white star; national colors: red, white, blue
lion; national colors: green, white, blue
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Liberia
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 2 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent or grandparent must be a citizen of Sierra Leone
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

LiberiaSierra Leone
Economy - overviewLiberia is a low income country that relies heavily on foreign assistance and remittances from the diaspora. It is richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture. Its principal exports are iron ore, rubber, diamonds, and gold. Palm oil and cocoa are emerging as new export products. The government has attempted to revive raw timber extraction and is encouraging oil exploration.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially infrastructure in and around the capital. Much of the conflict was fueled by control over Liberia’s natural resources. With the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically elected government in 2006, businesses that had fled the country began to return. The country achieved high growth during 2010-13 due to favorable world prices for its commodities. However, during the 2014-2015 Ebola crisis, the economy declined and many foreign-owned businesses departed, taking capital and expertise with them. The epidemic forced the government to divert scarce resources to combat the spread of the virus, reducing funds available for needed public investment. The cost of addressing the Ebola epidemic coincided with decreased economic activity reducing government revenue, although higher donor support significantly offset this loss. During the same period, global commodities prices for key exports fell and have yet to recover to pre-Ebola levels.

In 2017, gold is expected to be a key driver of growth, as a new mining project begins its first full year of production, and iron ore exports are also expected to improve as Arcelor Mittal opens new mines at Mount Gangra. The completion of the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydroelectric Dam in 2017 will increase electricity production to support ongoing and future economic activity, although electricity tariffs remain high relative to other countries in the region and transmission infrastructure is limited. Scheduled presidential and legislative elections in October 2017 will generate election-related spending pressures. Revitalizing the economy in the future will depend on economic diversification, increasing investment and trade, higher global commodity prices, sustained foreign aid and remittances, development of infrastructure and institutions, combating corruption, and maintaining political stability and security.
Sierra Leone is extremely poor and nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture. The country possesses substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources, but it is still recovering from a civil war that destroyed most institutions before ending in the early 2000s.

In recent years economic growth has been driven by mining - particularly iron ore. The country’s principal exports are iron ore, diamonds, and rutile, and the economy is vulnerable to fluctuations in international prices. Until 2014, the government had relied on external assistance to support its budget, but it was gradually becoming more independent. The Ebola outbreak of 2014 and 2015, combined with falling global commodities prices, caused a significant contraction of economic activity in all areas. While the World Health Organization declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone in November 2015, low commodity prices in 2015-2016 contributed to the country’s biggest fiscal shortfall since 2001. In 2017, increased iron ore exports are expected to support modest economic growth. Non-mining activities will remain constrained by inadequate infrastructure, such as power and roads, even though power sector projects may provide some additional electricity capacity in the near term.

Continued economic growth will depend on rising commodities prices and increased efforts to diversify the sources of growth. Pervasive corruption and undeveloped human capital will continue to deter foreign investors. Sustained international donor support in the near future will partially offset these fiscal constraints.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$3.787 billion (2016 est.)
$3.806 billion (2015 est.)
$3.806 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$10.64 billion (2016 est.)
$10.2 billion (2015 est.)
$12.92 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate-0.5% (2016 est.)
0% (2015 est.)
0.7% (2014 est.)
4.3% (2016 est.)
-21.1% (2015 est.)
4.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$900 (2016 est.)
$900 (2015 est.)
$900 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$1,700 (2016 est.)
$1,600 (2015 est.)
$2,100 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 44.7%
industry: 6.8%
services: 48.5% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 71.1%
industry: 7.9%
services: 21% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line54.1% (2014 est.)
70.2% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 33.6% (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)8.8% (2016 est.)
7.8% (2015 est.)
7.1% (2016 est.)
8% (2015 est.)
Labor force1.654 million (2016 est.)
2.678 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 70%
industry: 8%
services: 22% (2000 est.)
agriculture: 61.1%
industry: NA%
services: 33.4% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate2.8% (2014 est.)
9.1% (2014 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index32 (2014)
38.2 (2007)
34 (2011)
62.9 (1989)
Budgetrevenues: $560.2 million
expenditures: $600.2 million (2016 est.)
revenues: $558.1 million
expenditures: $738.6 million (2016 est.)
Industriesmining (iron ore and gold), rubber processing, palm oil processing, diamonds
diamond mining; iron ore, rutile and bauxite mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, footwear)
Industrial production growth rate-4.7% (2016 est.)
14% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsrubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (manioc, tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Exports$370.4 million (2016 est.)
$499.4 million (2015 est.)
$886.4 million (2016 est.)
$569.4 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesrubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
iron ore, diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
Exports - partnersPoland 32.9%, China 20.7%, India 9.4%, US 5%, Greece 4.6%, France 4.3% (2015)
China 31.4%, Belgium 27.9%, Romania 11.4%, US 7.3% (2015)
Imports$1.885 billion (2016 est.)
$2.541 billion (2015 est.)
$1.303 billion (2016 est.)
$1.575 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals
Imports - partnersSingapore 28.8%, China 16%, South Korea 15.3%, Japan 10.3%, Philippines 6.7% (2015)
China 23.1%, India 8%, US 6.5%, Netherlands 5.1% (2015)
Debt - external$501.4 million (30 November 2016 est.)
$383.8 million (30 November 2015 est.)
$1.561 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.403 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesLiberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar -
92.33 (2016 est.)
85.3 (2015 est.)
85.3 (2014 est.)
83.893 (2013 est.)
73.52 (2012 est.)
leones (SLL) per US dollar -
6,201.4 (2016 est.)
5,080.8 (2015 est.)
5,080.8 (2014 est.)
4,524.2 (2013 est.)
4,344 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt36.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
32.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
43.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
41.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$530 million (2016 est.)
-$718 million (2015 est.)
-$767 million (2016 est.)
-$742 million (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$2.112 billion (2016 est.)
$4.289 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$17.01 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$16.56 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.629 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.296 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$201 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$201 million (31 December 2012 est.)
$9.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$6.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
$NA
Central bank discount rate3.2% (2016)
NA%
Commercial bank prime lending rate13.59% (31 December 2016 est.)
13.61% (31 December 2015 est.)
18.9% (31 December 2016 est.)
18.78% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$622.4 million (30 November 2016 est.)
$564.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$505.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$501.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$398.4 million (30 November 2016 est.)
$463.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$444 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$458.4 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$609.8 million (30 November 2016 est.)
$685.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$967.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$904.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues26.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
13% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
-4.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 128.8%
government consumption: 16.7%
investment in fixed capital: 19.5%
investment in inventories: 6.7%
exports of goods and services: 17.5%
imports of goods and services: -89.2% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 83.7%
government consumption: 9.5%
investment in fixed capital: 33.7%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 15.2%
imports of goods and services: -42.2% (2016 est.)
Gross national savingNA% (2016 est.)
-41% of GDP (2015 est.)
-2.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
2% of GDP (2016 est.)
2.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
-7.2% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

LiberiaSierra Leone
Electricity - production70.07 million kWh
note: according to a 2014 household survey, only 4.5% of Liberians use Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC)power. 4.9% use a community generator, 4.4% have their own generator, 3.9% use vehicle batteries, and 0.8% use other sources of electricity. 81.3% have no access to electricity. LEC accounts for roughly 70 million kWh of ouput. (2016 est.)
300 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption39 million kWh (2016 est.)
200 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity60,000 kW (2016 est.)
100,000 kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels63.3% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
33.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants36.7% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
66.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption6,600 bbl/day (2014 est.)
7,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports6,611 bbl/day (2013 est.)
7,354 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy600,000 Mt (2013 est.)
1.4 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 3,900,000
electrification - total population: 10%
electrification - urban areas: 17%
electrification - rural areas: 3% (2013)
population without electricity: 5,800,000
electrification - total population: 5%
electrification - urban areas: 11%
electrification - rural areas: 1% (2013)

Telecommunications

LiberiaSierra Leone
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 9,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 17,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 3.652 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 87 (July 2015 est.)
total: 5.657 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 96 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: the limited services available are found almost exclusively in the capital, Monrovia; fixed-line service stagnant and extremely limited; telephone coverage extended to a number of other towns and rural areas by 4 mobile-cellular network operators
domestic: mobile-cellular subscription base growing and teledensity reached 85 per 100 persons in 2015
international: country code - 231; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
general assessment: marginal telephone service with poor infrastructure
domestic: the national microwave radio relay trunk system connects Freetown to Bo and Kenema; while mobile-cellular service is growing rapidly from a small base, service area coverage remains limited
international: country code - 232; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
Internet country code.lr
.sl
Internet userstotal: 248,000
percent of population: 5.9% (July 2015 est.)
total: 147,000
percent of population: 2.5% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast media8 private and 1 government-owned TV station; satellite TV service available; 1 state-owned radio station; 19 independent radio stations broadcasting in Monrovia, with another 77 local stations operating in other areas; transmissions of 4 international broadcasters are available (2017)
1 government-owned TV station; 3 private TV stations; a pay-TV service began operations in late 2007; 1 government-owned national radio station; about two-dozen private radio stations primarily clustered in major cities; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2016)

Transportation

LiberiaSierra Leone
Roadwaystotal: 10,600 km
paved: 657 km
unpaved: 9,943 km (2000)
total: 11,300 km
paved: 904 km
unpaved: 10,396 km (2002)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Buchanan, Monrovia
major seaport(s): Freetown, Pepel, Sherbro Islands
Merchant marinetotal: 2,771
by type: barge carrier 5, bulk carrier 662, cargo 143, carrier 2, chemical tanker 248, combination ore/oil 8, container 937, liquefied gas 92, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 526, refrigerated cargo 102, roll on/roll off 5, specialized tanker 10, vehicle carrier 27
foreign-owned: 2,559 (Angola 1, Argentina 1, Australia 1, Belgium 1, Bermuda 4, Brazil 20, Canada 2, Chile 9, China 4, Croatia 1, Cyprus 9, Denmark 8, Egypt 3, Germany 1185, Gibraltar 5, Greece 505, Hong Kong 48, India 8, Indonesia 4, Israel 34, Italy 47, Japan 110, Latvia 5, Lebanon 1, Monaco 8, Netherlands 31, Nigeria 4, Norway 38, Poland 13, Qatar 5, Romania 3, Russia 109, Saudi Arabia 20, Singapore 22, Slovenia 7, South Korea 2, Sweden 12, Switzerland 25, Syria 1, Taiwan 94, Turkey 16, UAE 37, UK 32, Ukraine 10, Uruguay 1, US 53) (2010)
total: 215
by type: bulk carrier 22, cargo 120, carrier 2, chemical tanker 19, container 6, liquefied gas 3, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 28, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 98 (Bangladesh 1, China 19, Cyprus 2, Egypt 3, Estonia 2, Hong Kong 7, Japan 4, Lebanon 2, North Korea 2, Romania 2, Russia 7, Singapore 9, Syria 13, Taiwan 7, Turkey 9, UAE 1, UK 1, Ukraine 5, Yemen 2) (2010)
Airports29 (2013)
8 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 27
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 14 (2013)
total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)

Military

LiberiaSierra Leone
Military branchesArmed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Navy, Air Force (2014)
Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF): Army (includes Maritime Wing and Air Wing) (2013)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent); women are eligible to serve; no conscription; candidates must be HIV negative (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP0.62% of GDP (2016)
0.66% of GDP (2015)
0.71% of GDP (2014)
0.78% of GDP (2013)
0.87% of GDP (2012)
0.82% of GDP (2015)
0.97% of GDP (2014)
0.64% of GDP (2013)
0.78% of GDP (2012)
0.87% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

LiberiaSierra Leone
Disputes - international"as the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) continues to drawdown prior to the 1 March 2018 closure date, the peacekeeping force is being reduced to 434 soldiers and two police units; some Liberian refugees still remain in Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Ghana; Liberia shelters almost 15,000 Ivoirian refugees, as of May 2017; in 2017, Liberia's 3 refugee camps will be converted into ""settlements"" and remaining Ivoirian refugees will be integrated into local communities
"
Sierra Leone opposes Guinean troops' continued occupation of Yenga, a small village on the Makona River that serves as a border with Guinea; Guinea's forces came to Yenga in the mid-1990s to help the Sierra Leonean military to suppress rebels and to secure their common border but have remained there even after both countries signed a 2005 agreement acknowledging that Yenga belonged to Sierra Leone; in 2012, the two sides signed a declaration to demilitarize the area

Source: CIA Factbook