Liberia Population: 4,809,768


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Settlement of freed slaves from the US in what is today Liberia began in 1822; by 1847, the Americo-Liberians were able to establish a republic. William TUBMAN, president from 1944-71, did much to promote foreign investment and to bridge the economic, social, and political gaps between the descendants of the original settlers and the inhabitants of the interior. In 1980, a military coup led by Samuel DOE ushered in a decade of authoritarian rule. In December 1989, Charles TAYLOR launched a rebellion against DOE's regime that led to a prolonged civil war in which DOE was killed. A period of relative peace in 1997 allowed for an election that brought TAYLOR to power, but major fighting resumed in 2000. An August 2003 peace agreement ended the war and prompted the resignation of former president Charles TAYLOR, who was convicted by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague for his involvement in Sierra Leone's civil war. After two years of rule by a transitional government, democratic elections in late 2005 brought President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF to power. She subsequently won reelection in 2011 but was challenged to rebuild Liberia's economy, particularly following the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic, and to reconcile a nation still recovering from 14 years of fighting. Constitutional term limits barred President JOHNSON SIRLEAF from running for re-election. Legal challenges delayed the 2017 presidential runoff election, which was eventually won by George WEAH. In March 2018, the UN completed its 15-year peacekeeping mission in Liberia.

    Facing the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline is characterized by lagoons, mangrove swamps, and river-deposited sandbars; the inland grassy plateau supports limited agriculture
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone
Geographic coordinates: 6 30 N, 9 30 W
Area: total: 111,369 sq km
land: 96,320 sq km
water: 15,049 sq km

Size comparison: slightly larger than Virginia
Land Boundaries: total: 1,667 km border countries (3): Guinea 590 km, Cote d'Ivoire 778 km, Sierra Leone 299 km
Coastline: 579 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; dry winters with hot days and cool to cold nights; wet, cloudy summers with frequent heavy showers
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast
Natural resources: iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower
Land use: agricultural land: 28.1% (2011 est.) arable land: 5.2% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 2.1% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 20.8% (2011 est.) forest: 44.6% (2011 est.)
other: 27.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 30 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)
Current Environment Issues: tropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; hunting of endangered species for bushmeat; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage; pollution of rivers from industrial run-off; burning and dumping of household waste
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
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Nationality: noun: Liberian(s)
adjective: Liberian
Ethnic groups: Kpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, Krahn 4%, Vai 4%, Mandingo 3.2%, Gbandi 3%, Mende 1.3%, Sapo 1.3%, other Liberian 1.7%, other African 1.4%, non-African .1% (2008 est.)
Languages: English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence
Religions: Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.5% (2008 est.)
Population: 4,809,768 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.72% (male 1,062,766 /female 1,040,211)
15-24 years: 19.9% (male 478,041 /female 478,999)
25-54 years: 30.1% (male 711,963 /female 735,878)
55-64 years: 3.43% (male 84,474 /female 80,410)
65 years and over: 2.85% (male 67,229 /female 69,797) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 83.2 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 77.6 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 5.5 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 18.1 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 17.8 years
male: 17.6 years
female: 18.1 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.59% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 37.9 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -4.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 51.2% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 3.41% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 1.418 million MONROVIA (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2018 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth: 19.2 years (2013 est.) note: median age at first birth among women 25-29
Maternal mortality rate: 725 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 50.6 deaths/1,000 live births male: 55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 46 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 63.8 years male: 61.6 years
female: 66 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 31.2% (2016)
Physicians density: 0.04 physicians/1,000 population (2015)
Hospital bed density: 0.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 88.6% of population
rural: 62.6% of population
total: 75.6% of population

urban: 11.4% of population
rural: 37.4% of population
total: 24.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 28% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 5.9% of population (2015 est.)
total: 16.9% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 72% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 94.1% of population (2015 est.)
total: 83.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.4% (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 40,000 (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 2,500 (2017 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 9.9% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 15.3% (2013)
Education expenditures: 3.8% of GDP (2017)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 47.6%
male: 62.4%
female: 32.8% (2015 est.) Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 2.3% male: 2.4% female: 2.2% (2016 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Liberia
conventional short form: Liberia
etymology: name derives from the Latin word "liber" meaning "free"; so named because the nation was created as a homeland for liberated African-American slaves
Government type: presidential republic
Capital: name: Monrovia
geographic coordinates: 6 18 N, 10 48 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: named after James Monroe (1758-1831), the fifth president of the United States and supporter of the colonization of Liberia by freed slaves; one of two national capitals named for a US president, the other is Washington, D.C.
Administrative divisions: 15 counties; Bomi, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Lofa, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba, River Cess, River Gee, Sinoe
Independence: 26 July 1847
National holiday: Independence Day, 26 July (1847)
Constitution: history: previous 1847 (at independence); latest drafted 19 October 1983, revised version adopted by referendum 3 July 1984, effective 6 January 1986 amendments: proposed by agreement of at least two-thirds of both National Assembly houses or by petition of at least 10,000 citizens; passage requires at least two-thirds majority approval of both houses and approval in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of registered voters; amended 2011 (2018)
Legal system: mixed legal system of common law (based on Anglo-American law) and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President George WEAH (since 22 January 2018); Vice President Jewel HOWARD-TAYLOR (since 22 January 2018); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President George WEAH (since 22 January 2018); Vice President Jewel HOWARD-TAYLOR (since 22 January 2018)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 10 October 2017 with a run-off on 26 December 2017); the runoff originally scheduled for 7 November 2017 was delayed due to allegations of fraud in the first round, which the Supreme Court dismissed

election results: George WEAH elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - George WEAH (Coalition for Democratic Change) 38.4%, Joseph BOAKAI (UP) 28.8%, Charles BRUMSKINE (LP) 9.6%, Prince JOHNSON (MDR) 8.2%, Alexander B. CUMMINGS (ANC) 7.2%, other 7.8%; percentage of vote in second round - George WEAH 61.5%, Joseph BOAKAI 38.5%
Legislative branch: description: bicameral National Assembly consists of: The Liberian Senate (30 seats; members directly elected in 15 2-seat districts by simple majority vote to serve 9-year staggered terms; each district elects 1 senator and elects the second senator 3 years later, followed by a 6-year hiatus, after which the first Senate seat is up for election) House of Representatives (73 seats; members directly elected in single-seat districts by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms; eligible for a second term)

elections: Senate - last held on 20 December 2014 (originally scheduled for 14 October 2014 but postponed due to Ebola-virus epidemic; next to be held in October 2020); by-elections to fill the senate seats vacated by WEAH and HOWARD-TAYLOR was held on 31 July 2018 House of Representatives - last held on 10 October 2017 (next to be held in October 2023)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - CDC 29.8%, UP 10.3%, LP 11.5%, NPP 6.1%, PUP 4.9%, ANC 4.2%, NDC 1.3%, other 7.6%, independent 24.3%; seats by party - UP 4, CDC 2, LP 2, ANC 1, NDC 1, NPP 1, PUP 1, independent 3; composition - men 27, women 3, percent of women 10% House of Representatives - percent of vote by party/coalition - Coalition for Democratic Change 15.6%, UP 14%, LP 8.7%, ANC 6.1%, PUP 5.9%, ALP 5.1%, MDR 3.4%, other 41.2%; seats by coalition/party - Coalition for Democratic Change 21, UP 20, PUP 5, LP 3, ALP 3, MDR 2, independent 13, other 6; composition - men 64, women 9, percent of women 12.3%; total Parliament percent of women 11.7%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 4 associate justices); note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction for all constitutional cases judge selection and term of office: chief justice and associate justices appointed by the president of Liberia with consent of the Senate; judges can serve until age 70

subordinate courts: judicial circuit courts; special courts, including criminal, civil, labor, traffic; magistrate and traditional or customary courts
Political parties and leaders: Alliance for Peace and Democracy or APD [Marcus S. G. DAHN] All Liberian Party or ALP [Benoi UREY] Alternative National Congress or ANC [Orishil GOULD] Coalition for Democratic Change [George WEAH] (includes CDC, NPP, and LPDP)Congress for Democratic Change or CDC [George WEAH] Liberia Destiny Party or LDP [Nathaniel BARNES] Liberia National Union or LINU [Nathaniel BLAMA] Liberia Transformation Party or LTP [Julius SUKU] Liberian People Democratic Party or LPDP [Alex J. TYLER] Liberian People's Party or LPP Liberty Party or LP [J. Fonati KOFFA] Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR [Prince Y. JOHNSON] Movement for Economic Empowerment [J. Mill JONES, Dr.] Movement for Progressive Change or MPC [Simeon FREEMAN] National Democratic Coalition or NDC [Dew MAYSON] National Democratic Party of Liberia or NDPL [D. Nyandeh SIEH] National Patriotic Party or NPP [Jewel HOWARD TAYLOR] National Reformist Party or NRP [Maximillian T. W. DIABE] National Union for Democratic Progress or NUDP [Victor BARNEY] People's Unification Party or PUP [Isobe GBORKORKOLLIE] Unity Party or UP [Varney SHERMAN] United People's Party [MacDonald WENTO] Victory for Change Party [Marcus R. JONES]
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
National symbol(s): white star;
national colors: red, white, blue
National anthem: name: All Hail, Liberia Hail!
lyrics/music: Daniel Bashiel WARNER/Olmstead LUCA

note: lyrics adopted 1847, music adopted 1860; the anthem's author later became the third president of Liberia
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador George PATTEN (since 11 January 2019)
chancery: 5201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 723-0437
FAX: [1] (202) 723-0436
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Christine A. ELDER (since 23 June 2016)
embassy: U.S. Embassy, 502 Benson Street, Monrovia
mailing address: P.O. Box 98, Monrovia
telephone: [231] 77-677-7000
FAX: [231] 77-677-7370
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Liberia is a low-income country that relies heavily on foreign assistance and remittances from the diaspora. It is richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture. Its principal exports are iron ore, rubber, diamonds, and gold. Palm oil and cocoa are emerging as new export products. The government has attempted to revive raw timber extraction and is encouraging oil exploration. In the 1990s and early 2000s, civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially infrastructure in and around the capital. Much of the conflict was fueled by control over Liberia’s natural resources. With the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically elected government in 2006, businesses that had fled the country began to return. The country achieved high growth during the period 2010-13 due to favorable world prices for its commodities. However, during the 2014-2015 Ebola crisis, the economy declined and many foreign-owned businesses departed with their capital and expertise. The epidemic forced the government to divert scarce resources to combat the spread of the virus, reducing funds available for needed public investment. The cost of addressing the Ebola epidemic coincided with decreased economic activity reducing government revenue, although higher donor support significantly offset this loss. During the same period, global commodities prices for key exports fell and have yet to recover to pre-Ebola levels. In 2017, gold was a key driver of growth, as a new mining project began its first full year of production; iron ore exports are also increased as Arcelor Mittal opened new mines at Mount Gangra. The completion of the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydroelectric Dam increased electricity production to support ongoing and future economic activity, although electricity tariffs remain high relative to other countries in the region and transmission infrastructure is limited. Presidential and legislative elections in October 2017 generated election-related spending pressures. Revitalizing the economy in the future will depend on economic diversification, increasing investment and trade, higher global commodity prices, sustained foreign aid and remittances, development of infrastructure and institutions, combating corruption, and maintaining political stability and security.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $6.112 billion (2017 est.) $5.965 billion (2016 est.) $6.064 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $3.285 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.5% (2017 est.) -1.6% (2016 est.) 0% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,300 (2017 est.) $1,300 (2016 est.) $1,300 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: NA% (2017) -21.9% of GDP (2016 est.) 1.9% of GDP (2016 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 128.8% (2016 est.) government consumption: 16.7% (2016 est.) investment in fixed capital: 19.5% (2016 est.) investment in inventories: 6.7% (2016 est.) exports of goods and services: 17.5% (2016 est.) imports of goods and services: -89.2% (2016 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 34% (2017 est.) industry: 13.8% (2017 est.) services: 52.2% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (manioc, tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
Industries: mining (iron ore and gold), rubber processing, palm oil processing, diamonds
Industrial production growth rate: 9% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 1.677 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 70%
industry: 8%
services: 22% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 2.8% (2014 est.)
Population below poverty line: 54.1% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 32 (2014) 38.2 (2007)
Budget: revenues: 553.6 million (2017 est.)
expenditures: 693.8 million (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 16.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -4.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 34.4% of GDP (2017 est.) 28.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 12.4% (2017 est.) 8.8% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$627 million (2017 est.) -$464 million (2016 est.)
Exports: $260.6 million (2017 est.) $169.8 million (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities: rubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
Exports - partners: Germany 36.2%, Switzerland 14.2%, UAE 8.8%, US 6.8%, Indonesia 4.7% (2017)
Imports: $1.166 billion (2017 est.) $1.296 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
Imports - partners: Singapore 29.8%, China 24.4%, South Korea 17.5%, Japan 9.4% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $459.8 million (31 December 2017 est.) $528.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external: $1.036 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $938.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $17.01 billion (31 December 2015 est.) $16.56 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $201 million (31 December 2013 est.) $201 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: n/a
Exchange rates: Liberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar - 109.4 (2017 est.) 93.4 (2016 est.) 93.4 (2015 est.) 85.3 (2014 est.) 83.893 (2013 est.)
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Electricity - production: 300 million kWh (2016 est.) note: according to a 2014 household survey, only 4.5% of Liberians use Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) power, 4.9% use a community generator, 4.4% have their own generator, 3.9% use vehicle batteries, and 0.8% use other sources of electricity, and 81.3% have no access to electricity; LEC accounts for roughly 70 million kWh of ouput.
Electricity - consumption: 279 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 151,000 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 57% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 43% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 8,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 8,181 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 1.163 million Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 3,117,002
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 66 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: the limited services available are found almost exclusively in the capital, Monrovia; fixed-line service stagnant and extremely limited; telephone coverage extended to a number of other towns and rural areas by four mobile-cellular network operators; almost entirely wireless telecommunications market; mobile market penetration is low compared to others in the region; number of operators avoid paying dues and operate despite regulations (2018)

domestic: fixed-line less than 1 per 100; mobile-cellular subscription base growing and teledensity approached 66 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code - 231; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
Broadcast media: 8 private and 1 government-owned TV station; satellite TV service available; 1 state-owned radio station; approximately 20 independent radio stations broadcasting in Monrovia, with approximately 80 more local stations operating in other areas; transmissions of 4 international (including the British Broadcasting Corporation and Radio France Internationale) broadcasters are available (2019)
Internet country code: .lr
Internet users: total: 314,717
percent of population: 7.3% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 29 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 2
(2017) over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 27
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2013)
under 914 m: 14 (2013)
Pipelines: 4 km oil (2013)
Railways: total 429 km
(2008) standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
narrow gauge: 84 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)

note: most sections of the railways inoperable due to damage sustained during the civil wars from 1980 to 2003, but many are being rebuilt
Roadways: total 10,600 km
(2018) paved: 657 km (2018)
unpaved: 9,943 km (2018)
Merchant marine: total 3,321

by type: bulk carrier 1086, container ship 834, general cargo 130, oil tanker 723, other 548 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Buchanan, Monrovia
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Military branches: Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL): Army, Navy, Air Force (2014)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Military expenditures: 0.62% of GDP (2016) 0.66% of GDP (2015) 0.71% of GDP (2014) 0.78% of GDP (2013) 0.87% of GDP (2012)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: as the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) continues to drawdown prior to the 1 March 2018 closure date, the peacekeeping force is being reduced to 434 soldiers and two police units; some Liberian refugees still remain in Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Ghana; Liberia shelters 8,804 Ivoirian refugees, as of 2019
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 8,623 (Cote d'Ivoire) (2019)
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin and South American cocaine for the European and US markets; corruption, criminal activity, arms-dealing, and diamond trade provide significant potential for money laundering, but the lack of well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a major money-laundering center
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