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What is the Liberian dollar (LRD)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $986,201,593 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $246. It grew by 5.51% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2010 is 3.70%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2009 is 150.92.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is also the head of state (in an executive role).

Currency Details

The Liberian Dollar (LRD) is the official currency of the Republic of Liberia since 1943. However, the United States Dollar is used along side the Liberian Dollar currency within the country.

The Liberian currency comprises banknotes and coins. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively L$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies.

The banknotes are in the denomination of $5.00, $10.00, $20.00, $50.00 and $100.00 while the coins are in $0.05, $0.10, $0.25, $0.50 and $1.00.

The short history of Liberian Dollar (LRD)

The country issued the first Liberian dollar (LRD) in 1847. In the same time copper 1 and 2 cents coins were issued as well. They were the only Liberian coins until a full coinage consisting of 1, 2, 10, 25 and 50 cents coins were introduced in 1896. 59 years later, In 1937, coins were issued in denominations of 1/2, 1 and 2 cents. These were augmented in 1960 with coins for 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents and 1 dollar. Five-dollar coins were issued in 1982 and 1985

In 1847, LRD wasn’t the main currency in Liberia. It was pegged to the US dollar at par and circulated alongside the US dollar until the West African pound adopted in 1935. The West African pound was pegged to sterling at that time period.

In 1997, Charles Taylor administration issued new series of banknotes.

What does it look like?

  • The five-dollar banknote carries on the front the portrait of Liberia’s 5th President, Edward J. Roye and the back carries the seal of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and women harvesting the staple food of Liberia, rice;
  • Ten-dollar banknote carries on the front the portrait of Liberia’s 1st President, Joseph J. Roberts and the back carries the seal of CBL and a rubber farmer on a rubber plantation;
  • The twenty-dollar banknote carries on the front the portrait of Liberia’s 18th President, William V.S. Tubman and the back carries the seal of CBL and a man on the farm;
  • The fifty-dollar bank note carries on the front the portrait of Liberia’s 20th President, Samuel K. Doe and the seal of CBL and a palm plantation;
  • And the hundred-dollar banknote carries on the front the portrait of Liberia’s 19th President, William R. Tolbert, Jr. and the back carries the seal of CBL and a typical Liberian business woman with her child in the market.

Ethnic Groups

indigenous African tribes 95% (including Kpelle, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, and Bella), Americo-Liberians 2.5% (descendants of immigrants from the US who had been slaves), Congo People 2.5% (descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean who had been slaves)

Population

3,225,837

Political Structure

Liberia is the only country that it’s constitution was drafted by Harvard University. The oldest Africa’s Republic Liberia was founded by freed US slaves in 1822, and gained its independence in 1847. Constitutionally, Liberia has a classical structure of republic with the three branches (executive, legislative, and judiciary). The President is elected by popular vote for a six-year term, can be re-elected for another six year term, but cannot hold office for more than two terms.

Last few years, the country continues to enjoy increasing level of stability and progress after 14 years of civil unrest, It has also taken a positive step in the direction of socio-political and economic stability; an internationally acclaimed presidential election was won in November by Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The current government aim to tackle corruption, revitalize the economy and restore basic infrastructure and services is a clear indication of rebuilding confidence and critical to attracting direct foreign investment in the country.

The Economic Overview

Agriculture – Products

rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber

Industries

rubber processing, palm oil processing, diamonds

Export Commodities:

diamonds, iron ore, rubber, timber, coffee, cocoa

Import Commodities:

fuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; rice

Imports – Partners

South Korea 30%, Italy 24%, Japan 15%, Germany 9%

The countries economy is based on free enterprise system. They have “Open Door Policy” to encourage investors and businessmen participate productively in the economy. The country is endowed with a tremendous natural resource potentials and excellent commercial opportunities.The “Open Door Policy” which permits the inflow and outflow of foreign capital and profits, continues to attract a number of large foreign investors mainly in the production of primary products for export. For several years the Liberian economy relied on the extractive sector. The macro economy has been improving since last year. Real GDP growth reached 7 percent in 2006, and inflation is in the single digits. Government has put cash management controls in place, has maintained a balanced budget, and has restored transparency to the budget process. Continued efforts to strengthen tax and customs administration have resulted in an 82% increase in revenues in the first five months of this budget year, compared to the same period a year ago. Having met most of the benchmarks on the February-September, 2006 IMF Staff Monitored Program, the IMF has agreed on a new Staff Monitored Program to year-end 2007 which will meet the standards required to move towards the HIPC Decision Point. With an estimated unemployment rate in the formal sector of approximately 80%, progress in the restoration of productive capacity and improving opportunities for livelihoods is critical.Liberia has a significant external debt problem. The end-2005 estimate of Liberia’s external debt is US.7 billion, equivalent to 3040 percent of exports on NPV basis.

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