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Economy of Liberia

Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and its economy is extremely underdeveloped, largely due to the First Liberian Civil War in 1989-96. The civil war destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around Monrovia. The war also caused a brain drain and the loss of capital, as the civil war involved overthrowing the Americo-Liberian minority that ruled the country. Some returned during 1997, but many have not.

Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, but poor in human capital, infrastructure, and stability, Liberia has a fairly typical profile for Sub-Saharan African economies - the majority of the population is reliant on subsistence agriculture, while exports are dominated by raw commodities such as rubber and iron ore. Local manufacturing, such as it exists, is mainly foreign-owned.

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 depend on the implementation of sound macro- and micro-economic policies of the new government, including the encouragement of foreign investment.

Sectors

Liberia's business sector is largely controlled by foreigners mainly of Lebanese and Indian descent. There also are limited numbers of Chinese engaged in agriculture. The largest timber concession, Oriental Timber Corporation (OTC), is Indonesian owned. There also are significant numbers of West Africans engaged in cross-border trade. Legal monopolies are possible; for example, Cemenco holds a monopoly on cement production.

Forestry

Timber and rubber are Liberia's main export items since the end of the war. Liberia earns more than $100 million and more than $70 million annually from timber and rubber exports, respectively.

Mining and resources

Alluvial diamond and gold mining activities also account for some economic activity. In recent years (2005 - 2012), foreign investment from Arcelor Mittal Steel, BHP Biliton, and China Union is aiding the revitalization of the iron-ore mining sector.

Shipping flag of convenience

Liberia maintains an open maritime registry, meaning that owners of ships can register their vessels as Liberian with relatively few restrictions. This has meant that Liberian ship registration is usually understood as the employment of a flag of convenience. Liberia has the second-largest maritime registry in the world behind Panama, with 3,500 vessels registered under its flag accounting for 11% of ships worldwide.

Communications

Communications in Liberia refers to the press, radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet. There are six major newspapers in Liberia, and 45% of the population has a mobile phone service. Also, the radio stations in Liberia are abundant to the extend that there are over 70 radio stations in the entire country (Liberia). As for Montserrado County, there exist about 30 radio stations.

Energy

Formal electricity services are solely provided by the state-owned Liberia Electricity Corporation, which operates a small grid almost exclusively in the Greater Monrovia District. The vast majority of electric energy services is provided by small privately owned generators. At $0.54 per kWh, the electricity tariff in Liberia is among the highest in the world.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Economy Of Liberia"

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