Liberia is a country situated in the West Africa and it is officially called as Republic of Liberia. On the east it is bordered by Cote d’Ivoire, on the north by Guinea and on the west by Sierra Leone. The terrain of the country has 3 areas. On the coast line, the terrain is mostly beaches and mangrove swamps, on the immediate interior are semi-deciduous shrub lands and on the interior the terrain is tropical forests. The country has 40% rain forest of the whole West Africa. The total area is 111, 369 km2 and has a total estimated population of 3.7 million as 2011. The climate is hot equatorial with a rainy season from May to October and on the remaining year, the country experience severe harmattan winds.
The population of Liberia is composed of 16 ethnic groups. The largest ethnic group is Kpelle from western and central Liberia. Americo-Liberians make up the 5% of the total population and they are the descendants of the slaves that migrated in Liberia during 1820. There are also few numbers of Indians, Lebanese and other nationals of West African nations and they comprise some of the business community. Owning a land is only limited to the Liberians according to their constitution.
The official language of Liberia is English but there are 31 native languages spoken by the Liberians. They also speak different dialects known as Liberian English. The most dominant religion is Christianity which comprises about 85.5% of the total population. The Muslim community is about 12.2% and most of them come from the ethnic group of Vai and Mandingo.0.5% of the Liberians still practice the traditional religion and about 1.5% has no religion. The Constitution allows the people to exercise freedom of religion and it is being respected by the government.
Government and Politics
The Liberian government is a unitary constitutional republic patterned to the US government. It has 3 branches that are co-equal. These 3 branches are the executive branch which is led by the president, the legislative branch which comprises the bicameral legislature and the judicial branch headed by the Supreme Court. The president as well as the vice-president is elected by the majority vote of the people in a two-round system. The current president is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the vice president is Joseph Boakai.
Liberia is known for its iron-mining, rubber and academic institutions. The economy of Liberia was destroyed largely by the civil war that occurred for 14 years from 1989 and 2003. Before the civil war, the economy of Liberia is dependent on natural fiber export and iron ore mining. Between 1970’s and 1980’s, the earnings in iron ore mining is over half of the total earnings in export. However, during 1980 coup d’état, the growth rate of economy slowed down because of the political turmoil in the country as well as the world market demand for iron ore significantly dropped. Now, despite the downturn in global economy, Liberia’s economy is growing slowly. The IMF or the International Monetary Fund predicted that there will be strong growth in GDP this 2012.