Liberia Socio-geographical Conditions

Ecological problems

A number of environmental problems in Liberia were exacerbated by fourteen years of civil war. Rainforests, especially in the southeast of the country, were cut down uncontrollably. By the arms purchases that were made with the profits from the timber trade, the term “was Bloodwood ” marked in accordance with the “blood diamonds”. The Sapo National Park was affected by deforestation as well as by the illegal settlement of several thousand people in the park who exploited the gold and diamond deposits there. In the area around the national park in Sinoe County, rainforest has been cleared by Golden Verolium Liberia (GVL) since 2010 in order to create palm oil plantations.

Other causes for the destruction of the landscape are mining, pollution from rubber production, the creation of large-scale palm oil plantations, soil erosion, the pollution of coastal waters and the like. for parts of the cities of Monrovia and Buchanan near the sea, threatening erosion of the coastline.

Monrovia has major ecological problems due to the reception of many refugees during the war and the general urbanization. The infrastructure – water supply, sewerage, roads, etc. – are only designed for about a third of the current population. Contamination of rivers, coastal waters and groundwater results in chronic outbreaks of cholera, malaria, typhoid and other diseases. Access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a problem across Liberia.

According to areacodesexplorer, Liberia is also affected by climate change. Harvests are lower due to changes in precipitation patterns, heat waves and stronger tropical storms. The rise in sea level leads to flooding in the coastal regions.

Socio-geographical conditions

Liberia is the oldest republic in Africa. Liberated American slaves, Americo-Liberians, settled the Atlantic coast in 1821-1847. They founded the republic in 1847, although the majority of it is inhabited by indigenous people. Today the proportion of Americo-Liberians is estimated at around 3%.

Liberia has one of the highest rates of population growth in the world. It peaked at 4.6% annual growth in 2006, but has since declined to 2.6%. From 1960 to 2012, the total Liberian population increased by 274%. A good half of the population lives in urban areas, a large part of them in and around Monrovia.


According to an estimate (2015), the capital Monrovia has 1.264 million residents, is by far the largest city in Liberia and is the center for administration, economy, finance and the media. Monrovia lies on the Atlantic Ocean and the southern estuary of the Saint Paul River. About 40 percent of the official urban area is taken up by the marshy mangrove forest of the Mesurado River.

The Freeport Monrovia is the country’s most important seaport. It is located on the west bank of the former Bushrod Island at the mouth of the Mesurado River in the Atlantic.

The original street network of the city of Monrovia was laid out based on the American model and consists of a checkerboard grid of streets. The permanently emerging outskirts of the city, on the other hand, have a modified road network, in the vicinity of the administrative centers and industrial areas there are paved roads, but the majority of the suburban roads are dirt roads and slopes. The increased urbanization pressure has created many slums known as shanty towns, the largest of which is the centrally located Westpoint in Monrovia, directly on the sea and at risk from flooding. Since 2008 there has been an upgrade initiative with the task of improving the living conditions in five densely populated slums in Monrovia to improve.

Other larger port cities in Liberia are Buchanan (over 50,000 residents), Harper (approx. 25,000 residents) and Greenville (over 16,000 residents).

Important cities inland are Ganta (approx. 50,000 residents), Gbarnga (approx. 60,000 residents), Kakata (almost 40,000 residents), Voinjama (almost 30,000 residents) and Zwedru (approx. 30,000 residents). Liberia is divided into 15 administrative districts (counties).

Apartment blocks in Sinkor, Monrovia

Traffic routes

The country’s most important road connection runs from Monrovia via Gbarnga and Zwedru to Harper in southeast Liberia. In Gbarnga a road branches off towards Voinjama in the northwest. A road in good condition connects Monrovia with Tubmanburg and the border with Sierra Leone. A road along the coast connects Monrovia with Roberts Field International Airport and Buchanan, 40 km away. Apart from these main routes, the roads are often in extremely poor condition, which worsens again during the rainy season (May to November)that many places are very difficult or no longer accessible by land. A map created by the World Food Program in 2011 provides an overview of the road conditions.

International ports are located in Monrovia and Buchanan. Smaller cargo ships run along the coast at irregular intervals to supply the port cities.

The railway line that connects the port of Monrovia with Bong Mine (iron ore, now very little and of low quality) was put back into operation after the war. The approximately 250-kilometer stretch from the port in Buchanan to the former Lamco iron ore mine in Yekepa in the Nimba Mountains has also been restored.