Liberia: Country and Foreign Investment
Economy and Currency
This page was last updated on 9 April 2021.
Liberia has spent more than a decade recovering from a devastating civil war and its aftermath. From 2014 to 2016, the Ebola virus also took its toll. Nevertheless (excepting the worldwide disruption of Covid), steady economic progress has been made. The gold, diamond and especially iron ore mining industries have revived, and mineral extraction accounted for 11% the national GDP in 2013.
Other exports included raw materials such as timber, rubber, uncut diamonds, coffee and cocoa. There is oil and gas present though petroleum extraction remains underdeveloped. Applications for licensing for exploration have been made over the past year.
The local commercial economy remains dominated by foreigners, mainly Lebanese. Liberia's success story, however, has been its shipping and corporate registry, which after some problems in the 1980s is now rapidly growing back to its former prominence. Currently it is the world's second largest maritime registry with a reputation for safety, security and compliance with international environmental protection requirements.
Emerging from the civil war, the Liberian economy entered a sustained period of healthy growth, being little affected by the credit crunch of 2008-9. In the last decade, two deadly viruses, Ebola and Coronavirus, have caused significant loss of life and stalled the economy. Post-Covid, however, the prospects look good.
The local currency is the Liberian dollar, which is currently (April 2021) worth US$173. International trade is conducted in the US dollar.