Liberia is a country in West Africa, bordering Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire with a land mass of 111,370km² and a total coastline of 579km. It has a population of 5.193 million (2021) and GDP is estimated at US$8bn at the end of 2022.
Liberia's economy has grown at an average annual rate of 0.8% in the last four years and is ranked the 41st largest economy in Africa, ahead of Gambia.
GDP growth fell to an estimated 4.0% in 2022 from 5.0% in 2021, driven largely by growth in mining and construction on the supply side and increased infrastructure spending on the demand side. Inflation eased from 7.9% in 2021 to 7.4% in 2022 on a steady decline in domestic food prices. The fiscal deficit widened to an estimated 4.8% of GDP in 2022 from 2.4% in 2021 due to higher spending on infrastructure and wages. As of October 2022, public debt had increased to 54.6% of GDP from 53.2% in 2021, reflecting increased borrowing. The current account deficit narrowed to 17.4% of GDP in 2022 from 17.7% in 2021 thanks to a smaller trade deficit, as export receipts increased, driven by gold exports.
GDP is projected to grow 4.3% in 2023 and 4.8% in 2024, driven by expansion in mining, services, and agriculture. Inflation is projected to edge to 8.2% due to election-related speculation in 2023 but will ease to 6.5% in 2024 due to a stable exchange rate and calm after the election. Public debt is projected to rise to 55.3% of GDP in 2023 and 56.9% in 2024.
Liberia has the third-largest ship registry after Panama and the Marshall Islands, where boatowners who register under their liberal flags of convenience Liberia claims to have 4,400 vessels, or 12% of the world's oceangoing fleet, in its registry, which is headquartered in Virginia, in the US. However, few benefits flow through to the Liberian people or the economy, which continues to be vulnerable to external shocks, and whose infrastructure deficit continues to constrain development.
Sources: Who Owns Whom sector reports, CIA Factbook, African Development Bank, World Bank, Trading Economics, African Statistical Yearbook and IMF.