The industry is insignificant and has never accounted for more than one fifth of gross domestic product (GDP). However, the sector grew by an average of just over 11 percent a year between 2004 and 2013, albeit from a very low level.
Prior to the war (1989–1996, 1999–2003), most consumer goods such as food, cigarettes and beer, clothing, furniture, soap, etc. were produced. Most industries were located in the capital Monrovia and were destroyed during the war. After a certain recovery, beer and other beverages and cement are mainly manufactured today. In addition, such things as paint, candles and mattresses are produced. Production is mainly hampered by the lack of electricity and other infrastructure as well as by skilled labor. There are few large factories – the largest one being a German-owned cement factory that had sixty employees in 2015.
The construction and civil engineering sector gained a boost after the war, when reconstruction work began. Primarily, roads and bridges, water and sewer lines, and electricity and telecommunications networks are repaired. In central Monrovia, house construction has also taken off.
The mining industry has been an important sector, but falling iron ore prices in the 1980s hit the country hard. The partially Swedish-owned mining company Lamco, which has been operating in Liberia since 1955, was discontinued in 1989. A few years after the war, mining began again, after agreements on new ventures were concluded with international companies such as the giant group ArcelorMittal, and in the early 2010s small amounts of iron ore could start again. exported.
It was thanks to large trade in raw materials such as iron ore and rubber that economic growth accelerated in Liberia. In 1974, foreign trade accounted for as much as 87 percent of GDP and then declined due to a slump in the world economy. During the Civil War, trade largely stopped, except for smuggling of gold and diamonds.
Legal exports have slowly resumed since the democratically elected government took office in 2006, but the deficit in both the trade and balance of payments is still large. In 2013, exports were dominated by iron ore, rubber and gold. Diamonds are also expected to be an important source of income. The first sale of diamonds after the demolition of the UN embargo took place in 2007 through a delivery that, according to the government, was worth US $ 200 million.
Foreign trade statistics have often been uncertain, as Liberian figures on exports to other countries are not at all consistent with how these countries report their imports from Liberia.
In 2015, Liberia became a full member of the WTO.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 368 million (2017)
US $ 998 million (2017)
– US $ 566 million (2017)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
49 percent (2018)
Main export goods
Largest trading partner
Germany, USA, South Africa, Japan, China
Tourism has the potential to become an important future industry in Liberia. Here is one of the best preserved rainforests in West Africa in the Sapo National Park, interesting historical remains from the released American slaves in the capital Monrovia as well as fine beaches and surfing beaches along the coast.
However, unrest in the country, not least during the war years, the Ebola epidemic, as well as bad roads and other infrastructure, lack of hotels and high crime rates, however, discourage tourists from visiting the country.
FACTS – TOURISM
US $ 46,000,000 (2015)
The share of tourist income from exports
8.9 percent (2015)
Unrest in the capital
The days before Christmas, violent protests erupt in Monrovia, as students express their displeasure that they have not been paid for holiday work. The situation has calmed down since the president guaranteed that the students will receive their money.
Johnson Sirleaf is named presidential candidate
She is running for the Unity Party (UP) in the October 2011 elections.
Modernization of the economy
Several laws are passed to modernize the economy and business and attract foreign investment into the country.
New law on freedom of information
This means that all public documents, with the exception of those relating to national security, are accessible to both journalists and other citizens. The law is the first of its kind in West Africa.
Criticism against police and courts
Human Rights Watch claims that there are so many shortcomings in the police and the judiciary that the whole reconstruction work and the fight to strengthen human rights are slowed down.
Pledge to write off debt
Liberia fulfills its commitments under the Debt Depreciation Program for Particularly Heavy Poor Countries (HIPC). With the support of the World Bank and the IMF , the country promises to have its entire foreign debt written off within the next few months. President Sirleaf Johnson assures that new loans will not exceed three percent of GDP and that all loans will be used for infrastructure projects.
The Minister of Information is forced to repay the equivalent of SEK 1.7 million which he has extracted from non-existing employees’ salary accounts.
Initiative for reconstruction
The state and business start a program to build up Liberia after the war and create new jobs.