flag Liberia Liberia: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Liberia's economy was still recovering from the recession caused by the Ebola virus, falling commodity prices and the gradual withdrawal of the United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNMIL) when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. After two years of recession, GDP growth recovered to 3.6% in 2021, and it is expected to further strengthen to 4.7% in 2022 and 4.9% in 2023 (IMF). Economic growth will be driven by external demand for products from agricultural (rubber, rubberwood, cocoa, palm oil) and mining (iron, gold, diamonds) sectors (Coface).

In 2021, Liberia’s economic growth returned to positive territory, and public finances started to improve. The authorities pursued the reform program supported by the four-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement approved by the IMF in December 2019. Budget deficit decreased from -3.7 % GDP in 2020 to -3% GDP in 2021, and is expected to further decline to -2.5% GDP in 2022, thanks to improved mining revenues and spending restraint commitments under the ECF (Coface). Public debt also narrowed from an estimated 61.9% GDP in 2020 to 56.6% GDP in 2021, and it is forecast to further decline to 54.8% GDP in 2022 before rising to 55% GDP in 2023 (IMF). Public debt is mainly external and almost exclusively multilateral and concessional, reducing the risk of debt distress (Coface). Inflation dropped from 17% in 2020 to 5.9% in 2021, but it is expected to pick up again to 11.8% in 2022 due to high commodity prices (IMF). It is forecast to decline to 9.6% in 2023 (IMF). Although they will remain low, foreign exchange reserves should increase slightly, allowing the Liberian dollar to continue stabilising after a two-decade period of depreciation (Coface). The Liberian authorities remain committed to the reform program agreed with the IMF and aiming at restoring macroeconomic stability, promoting sustainable and inclusive growth and addressing weaknesses in governance. President George Weah's 'Pro-Poor' programme aims to address the lack of infrastructure, promote access to basic public services and fight corruption, but it has been delayed due to a lack of funding. Among the priorities are poverty reduction, job creation, infrastructure improvement and agricultural development to increase food production.

Liberia remains a poor country, with a high unemployment rate (reliable figures are not available, but the World Bank modeled ILO estimate is 4% for 2020), precarious employment and strong social tensions. It is among the five poorest country in the world, with 85% of the population without formal employment and 84% of the population living on less than USD 1.25 a day. According to the World Bank, only 25% of the population has access to safe drinking water. Liberia also has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates. Finally, disarmed fighters from previous conflicts have not yet been fully able to integrate into the civil society and could be tempted to form or join regional militias. According to the World Bank, due to the pandemic the population living below the national poverty line has increased from 55.5% in 2019 to 68.9%, meaning that an additional 526,000 Liberians are at risk of falling into poverty.

 
Main Indicators 20202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 3.04e3.513.904.184.23
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -3.05.03.74.25.1
GDP per Capita (USD) 600677735769761
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 58.753.255.156.258.5
Inflation Rate (%) 17.07.86.98.75.1
Current Account (billions USD) -0.50-0.62-0.64-0.69-0.68
Current Account (in % of GDP) -16.4-17.7-16.3-16.5-16.2

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data


 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Liberian Dollar (LRD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 138.39145.05192.191.251.28

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

Main Sectors of Industry

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 42.6 10.1 47.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 42.6 11.7 49.7
Value Added (Annual % Change) 5.3 0.6 -12.1

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 2,165,3302,226,9932,193,679

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 77.49%77.28%77.08%
Men activity rate 81.51%81.11%80.74%
Women activity rate 73.48%73.44%73.42%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
49,2/100
World Rank:
164
Regional Rank:
42

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Partly Free
Political Freedom:
3/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
98/180

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Allafrica, Liberia News
Liberia Newspapers online
BBC profile
Useful Resources
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Ministry of Mines and Energy
Ministry of Agriculture
Central Bank
 
 

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Latest Update: October 2022

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