Liberia, the land of the free, is unique in several aspects. It is a land of many stories with several of them untold. It is a land of hope and great opportunities ... but it is also a land of pain, poverty and despair.
The Republic of Liberia is located along the western coast of Africa and borders the Republic of Sierra Leone to the west, the Republic of Guinea to the north and the Republic of Ivory Coast to the east.
The Republic of Liberia is very unique in the sense that, it was founded mostly by "free borns" and freed slaves from America (The Americo-Liberians). The Settlement of freed slaves from the US in what is today Liberia began in 1822. By 1847, the settlement had developed into a Republic. (NB. There were several local communities living in the interior parts of the country before the arrival of the Freed Slaves from America).
The Republic of Liberia has a total land area of about 111,369sq.km (with about 579km of coastline).Just about 3.4% of this total land area remains arable (land good for farming). Liberia has a total population of about 4.8 million people (as of Jan. 2018) with the population growth rate around 2.7%. About 49% of the total population of Liberia lives in urban areas in major cities and towns such as Harbel, Buchanan, Greenville, Zwedru, Robertsport, Monrovia (the capital of Liberia. Monrovia contains about 900,000 people).
The Republic of Liberia just like its neighboring countries is a culturally rich country consisting of a beautiful blend of several ethnic and racial groups living together. Kpelle the most populous ethnic group make up about 20.3% of the total population. Followed by Bassa (about 13% of the total population), Grebo ( about 10%), Gio (about 8% of the total population), Mano (about 7.9%), Kru (about 6%), Lorma (about 5.1%), Kissi (about 4.8%), Gola (about 4.4%). Other groups together make up the remaining 20.1% of the total population.
Liberia is a predominantly Christian nation with about 85.6% of the population being Christians. Muslims form about 12.2% of the total population. Traditional believers and other religious groups form the remaining 2.2% of the total population.
Although English is the official language, just about 20% of the population do speak and understand English. Besides English, there are several other languages spoken in Liberia today, including some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence.
The Republic of Liberia just like its neighboring countries is blessed with abundance of Natural resources including iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, hydropower, etc.
However, despite the abundance of Natural resources, Liberia remains one of the poorest countries in Africa today. Liberia's shaky economy depends heavily on foreign assistance. Several Conflicts especially the two Civil wars between 1989 and 1996 and also between 1999 and 2003, poor governance, mismanagement, etc., destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around Monrovia the capital of Liberia. Many local and foreign businesses fled the country taking capital and expertise with them. However, with the end of fighting, the return of peace, and the installation of a democratically-elected government in 2006, several of these companies and investors have returned to the country helping rebuild Liberia for the better.
Liberia has a literacy rate of just 60.8% for the entire population with the female literacy rate hovering around 56.8%. In other words, quality education which helps a lot in building strong economies, is something very lacking in Liberia today. Children of school-going age are often seen along the streets of major towns and cities hawking and petty trading. Most rural communities lack proper educational facilities.
Lack of well-equipped hospitals, health centers, etc. remain a major problem in Liberia today. Most rural and sub-urban areas lack health facilities and most hospitals and health centers in the urban areas are not well-equipped. Lack of good drinking water and water for domestic purposes remain a major problem in Liberia today. Also, improper sewage disposals (especially in and around big cities and towns) remain a major health issue in Liberia today.
HIV/AIDS continues to wreak havoc in Liberia today. In fact, the National AIDS Commission of Liberia has reported an increase in the number of persons living with HIV in Liberia from about 33,000 persons (in 2010) to 43,200 persons (in 2017) with HIV/AIDS adults prevalence rate hovering around 2.1% (used to be 1.5% in 2009). Besides HIV/AIDS, the deadly ebola (please note: Liberia is now Ebola-Free), malaria, etc. continue to threaten several lives in Liberia today.
Rampant deforestation of the tropical rain forest, pollution of the coastal waters (from industrial and agricultural runoffs and also raw sewage), soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, etc. remains some of the major environmental issues facing Liberia today.
Just like in most other African countries, corruption and poor governance continues to threaten several lives and properties in Liberia today.