- Location and climate: Liberia is situated on the West Coast of Africa, surrounded by Ivory Coast in the East, Sierra Leone in the west, Guinea in the North and a long coastal strip along the Atlantic Ocean in the South. The country enjoys a Tropical rainforest climate, from March till October heavy rains are part of life, Monrovia, the capital, is the wettest capital of the world. During the winter months the days are hot and humid, at night temperatures can drop to around 20 degrees.
- Natural resources: Liberia is rich in natural resources, iron, gold and diamonds to name a few, it also has rich fertile, yet unused, agricultural soil. Most products are imported into the country.
- Poverty: In 2020 Liberia was leading the list ‘Poorest Countries in the world’.
- Population: 5,073,296 (July 2020 est.) representing 16 tribes. Over 60% is under the age of 24, only 2.8% is over 65 years old. Life expectancy at birth: 64.7. Urbanizations: 51.6% .
- Healthcare: Minimal, lack of medical personnel (4 doctors on 100,000), lack of medication and in-patient facilities (8 beds on every 10.000 people)
- Literacy: 47% of the population over 15 years of age can read or write to a certain level. (men: 62.4%, women: 32.8%.)
- Corruption: Corruption is deeply ingrained, Liberia ranks 137 on the list of 180 countries, When dealing with public-facing government functionaries, 89% of Liberians say they have had to pay a bribe, the highest national percentage in the world.
The country declared its independence on July 26, 1847, making it Africa’s first and oldest modern republic. Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society (ACS), who believed the former slaves would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa. The former slaves, Americo-Liberians replicated the only society most of them knew: the racist culture of the American South. Believing themselves different from and culturally and educationally superior to the indigenous peoples, the Americo-Liberians developed as an elite minority that held on to political power. In 1980 political tensions from the rule of president William R. Tolbert resulted in a military coup during which Tolbert was killed, the coup was led by Samual Doe a member of the Khran tribe. The long awaited reforms didn’t materialize, privileges previously held by the American-Librarians were switched to members of the Khran tribe causing much unrest and disappointment. Eventually Samuel Doe was assassinated in 1990 triggering the 14 year bloody civil war, killing 250.000 people ( 8% of the population), displacing over 1 million civilians, forcefully enlisting child soldiers and leaving behind a badly weakened economy which had shrunk by 90%.
After 14 years of civil war, a peace deal was reached in Ghana greatly influenced by the role Liberian women played. Leeneh Gbowe was later recognized for her leadership to this women’s movement by receiving a share of the 2012 Nobel peace prize. The first post war democratic elections of 2005 was won by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, she made history as the first female president of the continent. Under president Sirleaf the country started its reconstruction with the help of the International Community and the UN peacekeepers. A big setback came when Liberia was hard hit by Ebola from 2014-2016 leaving over 4000 persons dead and many orphaned and widowed. After serving 2 terms president Sirleaf stepped down in 2018,handing over the rule to the winner of the 2017 elections, the immensely popular George Weah, former professional footballer in Europe.
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