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Liberia

Liberia

Summary

Overview, Liberia The majority of the population in the coastal country of Liberia lives in poverty. The economy has not recovered from the civil war that devastated the country through 2003. Social issues include child labor and prostitution, along with domestic violence against women. Additionally, education is very poor and the literacy rates have not been improving. Healthcare is insufficient, and poor infrastructure hinders transportation and access to clean water.1 1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/li.html

Demographics

Nationality
Liberian
Population
3,989,703 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore Liberia Subcases

Click and view Liberia subcases and learn more about our Liberia

Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

Even after recovering from civil war that ended in 2003, Liberia is still one of the world’s poorest countries. The economy is largely driven by the agricultural sector, which also provides much of the citizens’ employment. Climate change negatively affects both the employment sector as well as the agricultural and economic sectors. The Global Environment Facility has been working to coordinate educational programs that will help farmers make decisions that are the most efficient environmentally.1 Liberia’s infrastructure is so weak that it is extremely difficult to effectively implement climate change legislation and measures.2

Family

Violence and discrimination against women is one of the biggest issues that women face in Liberia. 33% of married Liberian women have reported that they are victims of domestic violence. 77% reported that they are victims of sexual violence. Cases of Liberian domestic violence are rarely addressed inside of a courthouse, as many families and husbands prefer to settle it internally, so the number of reported incidents are likely much lower than the number of actual incidents. The Liberian government is currently working to restrict the amount of illegal settlements and to ameliorate this problem.1

Human Rights

Inconsistencies and abuses within both the judiciary and the security sectors are common. Police forces remain overzealous and corruption is endemic. Additionally, prison conditions are a human rights concern, as prisons are overcrowded and the majority of detainees were detained before their trials.1 One of the hindrances in reforming Liberia’s human rights record is the culture of impunity that does not allow for total transparency during court proceedings of those convicted of human rights abuses.2 Certain European authorities have taken the initiative to carry out arrests of three leaders who committed atrocities in the civil war, since the Liberian government has not taken action in that area.3

Education

In Liberia, the literacy rate is only at 62% for males and 33% for females, with an average literacy rate of 47.6%.1 For children under 15, however, the literacy rate is 54.5% on average.2 The lower literacy rate among females can be attributed to stigmas against girls receiving an education and females marrying at young ages. Primary school enrollment is at 98%.3

Poverty

Recovery from Liberia’s 14 year civil war has been arduous, and most of the population remains in poverty. Nearly three-fourths of materially poor Liberians live in rural areas and make their livelihood from agriculture and farming activities.1 The GDP per capita is very low at only $673 and unemployment remains stagnant at 85% of the population.2

Religion

Christians in Liberia constitute around 85.6% of the population, and 12.2% are Muslims. The remaining 2.2% follow other traditional indigenous religious beliefs. Many Christian Liberians have integrated indigenous beliefs into their Christian worship.1

Clean Water

Liberia is still attempting to rebuild their water infrastructure after the destruction incurred during the civil war. 76% of the population does not have access to potable water, and only 17% have access to clean sanitation facilities.1 1 in every 4 Liberian people has no access to clean water and 58% of the water that is provided has been found to be infected with E. coli. The World Health Organization estimates that this infected water has exacerbated the spread of preventable illnesses such as cholera and diarrhea.2

Economy

Liberia is strongly dependent on foreign aid and assistance since it is classified as a low income country. The civil war destroyed the country’s economy and infrastructure. This problem was exacerbated by the general mismanagement of funds and resources by the government. Liberia is rich in water, mineral resources, and agricultural products. Liberia’s primary exports are iron ore, rubber, diamonds, and gold. Current investments are being made in the infrastructure and power sector. Liberia continues to face challenges in overcoming corruption and ensuring political stability to build up the economy.1 Liberians have begun to receive assistance through micro-loans that are provided by the Access Bank Limited and the African Development Bank. The majority of future financial assistance programs will be provided for in conjunction Read More with the AfDB.2 Show Less

Government

Liberia is a republic government with a chief of state and head of government.1 Liberia has the distinction of being the oldest republic-style government in Africa. The country has a history of heads of state perpetrating war crimes during times of political upheaval. Corruption is endemic and anti-corruption laws are loosely interpreted and enforced.3

Health

Since the end of the civil war, the health of Liberians has seen minor improvements. The country has taken steps to reduce the infant mortality rate, which is currently at 66 deaths per 1,000 live births.1 The current life expectancy is 64 years.2 Malaria is the leading cause of death in Liberia and the communicable disease rate remains very high. Diarrheal disease and tuberculosis are also quite common. Recently, there were several outbreaks of Ebola and hemorrhagic fever.3

Children

One issue that affects Liberian children is the practice of child prostitution. The girls involved are called ‘short-time girls’ and they are most commonly seen in the capital of Monrovia. There are hundreds of girls in Monrovia who are sold with the intention of providing for themselves and sometimes for their families. Liberia has not been able to conduct any official surveys on the state of child prostitution, and no official statistics are available. The unique aspect of this phenomenon in Liberia is that prostitution is not perpetrated by crime syndicates, but is encouraged by peers and extended family members.1 Despite this, 36% of children in Liberia are married by the time they are 18.2

Animals

With one of the wettest climates in West Africa, Liberia’s ecosystem consists mainly of lowland forests. Almost all of the forests are influenced by human activity. The country is home to the Diana monkey, Campbell’s monkey, and western red colobus. Civil conflict, mining, logging, and slash-and-burn farming are all threats to the habitats of the native species. The government has almost no protective programs in place to preserve the forests.1

Liberia

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