Liberia: Country and Foreign Investment
This page was last updated on 10 April 2021.
There are no laws that discriminate against foreign persons or entities wishing to do business in Liberia. Foreign corporations and maritime entities can operate in Liberia directly on authorization by the Minister of Foreign Affairs or indirectly through local agents, who may be individuals, partnerships, or corporate entities.
Subject to compliance with the country’s immigration and labour laws, foreign citizens resident in Liberia may establish businesses in Liberia. The business must abide by the provisions of the Business Corporation Act (BCA) and the rules and regulations of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. It must also register with the latter organisation and obtain a business licence before opening for business.
Over 3,200 vessels with a gross tonnage of more than 100 million are registered under the Liberian flag, making it the second largest maritime tax haven in the world. Many corporations are registered under Liberian law as non-resident domestic corporations (offshore companies). Since they are not permitted to do business in Liberia, Liberian offshore companies are not subject to Liberian tax. They are not regulated by the Ministry of Commerce, nor are they subject to any Liberian business regulations.
Apart from these formalities, Liberia’s business climate is intended to attract foreign investment and spur economic growth and development. Through the liberal Investment Incentive Code, Liberia offers several benefits, including exemption from custom duties, income tax and stamp duty to new and expanding businesses for approved projects in areas such as manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining. Other potential areas for investment incentives include building, transport and communication. Approved investment projects may also be eligible for support in securing loans and guaranteeing credit by the Central Bank.
There are no statutory foreign exchange controls in Liberia, and funds may generally be freely remitted into and out of the country.
The Prevention of Money Laundering Law of 2002 gives effect to international requirements in respect of due diligence, record keeping, report of suspicious conduct, the offence of laundering the proceeds of criminal conduct and international cooperation in identifying, freezing and confiscating the proceeds of criminal conduct in another jurisdiction.
The Electronic Transactions Law of 2002 regulates electronic trade; currently there are no explicit data protection laws in force in Liberia. A firm that bases a server in the country is in danger of creating a permanent establishment in tax terms. Additionally, many internet activities if conducted by a Liberian corporation, would require a business licence, only available to a resident entity.
The freeport of Monrovia, together with the port of Buchanan, are amongst the most modern ports on the west coast of Africa; they are regular ports of call for major steamship lines operating between Europe, the US and the Far East. There are direct scheduled flights from both Europe and the US to Roberts International Airport on the outskirts of Monrovia. Airmail services are good and international courier services are well established.