About Liberia


Bordered by Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia is Africa's oldest republic, but it gained itself a bad reputation towards the end of the 20th century for its long-running and brutal 14-year civil war — around a quarter of a million people were killed, and many thousands fled. Liberia's rebellion in Sierra Leone also didn't set it in good steed, then Liberians experienced another deadly conflict in 2014 — the Ebola virus.

However, the country did redeem itself by electing Africa's first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in 2005, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her efforts to secure peace and promote economic and social development. Big programmes are now underway to address the shortage of electricity and running water and, according to Reporters Without Borders, the country does enjoy real media freedom. In 2013, the UN Refugee Agency completed a programme that helped more than 155,000 Liberians return home, and in 2016 UN peacekeeping forces handed back responsibility for security to the country's army and police. These occasions are positive signs that Liberia is taking independent steps in a peaceful direction.

Although the nation has been officially declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organisation, it is still struggling to recover from the blow this had to its economy. However, as travel restrictions have been lifted, tourism can hopefully now play a role in helping the country get on its feet. Liberia has just one national park — the lush, 1,808km² Sapo National Park — but it is arguably one of West Africa's best national parks due to some of the region's last remaining primary rainforest. Although its wildlife populations suffered greatly during the civil war, it is still home to forest elephants, chimpanzees, and pygmy hippos. The capital of Monrovia is filled with a newfound energy, and climbing Mt Nimba (Liberia's tallest peak) is a great activity to do if you wish to beat the heat of Monrovia. The climate is tropical in Liberia, so it is hot and humid all-year-round, with a rainy season from May to October, which is good for agriculture.

Liberia's establishment in the 1820s as a colony in Africa for thousands of freed slaves from America and the Caribbean, who consequently spread the Christian faith, is considered to be a reason why the majority of the population are now of a Christian denomination. Even though the descendants of these slaves only make up about 5% of the population, the country is still noted for having a confident American spirit combined with original West African roots.

In spite of this religious majority, Liberia has a diverse spiritual profile, which has created tensions. There are 16 tribes in Liberia, and up to 20% of the 4.7-million population —concentrated among the Mandingo and Vai clans — is thought to follow Islam. Furthermore, a good chunk of the population still exclusively practices traditional indigenous religions, which promote the veneration of ancestors. Even the Bahá'I faith has a small following, and Liberia is one of the few West African countries that have a Bahá'I National Spiritual Assembly.

More than 30 indigenous languages are spoken in Liberia, but English is the country's official language with several varieties in daily practice — Standard Liberian English, Kru Pidgin English, Liberian Kreyol language, and Caribbean English.

Liberia's economy is still underdeveloped and has stagnated from 2014 to 2016. However, prospects for growth are improving, thanks to Liberia being blessed with natural resources, such as gold, rubber and iron ore. Hopefully, economic growth will increase with a recovery in mining, and improvements in energy, transport, and services, as well as an increase in agricultural productivity and trade. In 2012, energy companies also reported the discovery of oil off the coasts of Liberia and Sierra Leone, and work continues to estimate the size and commercial viability.

Consequently, there are good opportunities for expats in this West African nation, despite private and foreign investment remaining hampered by bureaucratic inefficiency and restrictions. Certain reforms have dismantled some barriers to trade, eased credit restrictions, and have simplified business licensing making the future bright for this 99,067km² country.