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Liberia Economy 1996

    • Overview:
      Civil war since 1990 has destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around Monrovia. Businessmen have fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them. Many will not return. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products, while local manufacturing, mainly foreign owned, had been small in scope. Political instability threatens prospects for economic reconstruction and repatriation of some 750,000 Liberian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. The political impasse between the interim government and rebel leader Charles TAYLOR has prevented restoration of normal economic life, including the re-establishment of a strong central government with effective economic development programs. The economy deteriorated further in 1994.

    • National product:
      GDP - purchasing power parity - $2.3 billion (1994 est.)

    • National product real growth rate:

    • National product per capita:
      $770 (1994 est.)

    • Inflation rate (consumer prices):

    • Unemployment rate:

    • Budget:

        $242.1 million

        $435.4 million, including capital expenditures of $29.5 million (1989 est.)

    • Exports:
      $505 million (f.o.b., 1989 est.)

        iron ore 61%, rubber 20%, timber 11%, coffee

        US, EC, Netherlands

    • Imports:
      $394 million (c.i.f., 1989 est.)

        mineral fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, rice and other foodstuffs

        US, EC, Japan, China, Netherlands, ECOWAS

    • External debt:
      $2.1 billion (September 1993 est.)

    • Industrial production:
      growth rate NA% (1993-94); much industrial damage caused by factional warfare

    • Electricity:

        330,000 kW

        440 million kWh

        consumption per capita:
        143 kWh (1993)

    • Industries:
      rubber processing, food processing, construction materials, furniture, palm oil processing, mining (iron ore, diamonds)

    • Agriculture:
      accounts for about 40% of GDP (including fishing and forestry); principal products - rubber, timber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava, palm oil, sugarcane, bananas, sheep, goats; not self-sufficient in food, imports 25% of rice consumption

    • Illicit drugs:
      increasingly a transshipment point for heroin and cocaine

    • Economic aid:

        US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $665 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $870 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $25 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $77 million

    • Currency:
      1 Liberian dollar (L$) = 100 cents

    • Exchange rates:
      Liberian dollars (L$) per US$1 - 1.00 (officially fixed rate since 1940); unofficial parallel exchange rate of US$1 - L$7 (January 1992), unofficial rate floats against the US dollar

    • Fiscal year:
      calendar year

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