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  • Writer's pictureMarie S.

The relationship between Liberia and its neighbors

Liberia's relationships with its neighbors are crucial for its security and economic development. As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Liberia shares close ties with other West African countries. However, there have been some tensions between Liberia and its neighbors in recent years.



However, there have been some tensions between Liberia and its neighbors in recent years. For example, in 2020, Liberia closed its borders with Sierra Leone and Guinea due to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, causing tension between the countries. In addition, there have been disputes over cross-border trade, illegal migration, and natural resource management.


In terms of trade, Liberia has had various trade agreements with its neighbors, including the Mano River Union (MRU), which was established in 1973 to promote economic cooperation between Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Cote d'Ivoire. The MRU has implemented several initiatives aimed at promoting cross-border trade, including the creation of a free trade zone and a common market. However, the success of these initiatives has been limited due to issues such as corruption, poor infrastructure, and weak governance.


In addition, there have been concerns about the smuggling of natural resources and other goods across Liberia's borders with neighboring countries. This has implications for Liberia's economy, as the smuggling of goods can lead to a loss of revenue and undermine the country's efforts to promote trade and economic growth.


However, there have also been efforts to strengthen Liberia's relationships with its neighbors. For example, Liberia has worked with Sierra Leone and Guinea to address the Ebola outbreak that affected the region in 2014-2016. The three countries collaborated to share information and resources, and this cooperation helped to bring the outbreak under control.


According to the World Bank, Liberia's imports and exports with its neighbors in West Africa have been increasing in recent years. In 2019, Liberia's exports to West African countries totaled $121 million, while its imports from these countries amounted to $120 million. However, these figures are relatively small compared to Liberia's overall trade with the rest of the world.


According to the World Bank, Liberia's trade with its neighboring countries accounts for approximately 7% of its total trade, with Guinea being the largest trading partner. In terms of foreign direct investment, the majority of Liberia's FDI comes from its neighbors, particularly Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. According to the World Bank, in 2020, Liberia's top trading partners were primarily from the West African region. Its top export destinations were India, followed by Senegal, Guinea, and Ivory Coast. Its top import sources were China, followed by India, Senegal, and Ivory Coast.


The relationships between Liberia and its neighbors are important for the country's security and economic development. While there have been some tensions in recent years, there have also been efforts to promote cooperation and collaboration, and there is potential for increased trade and economic integration in the region.


However, despite these challenges, Liberia has worked to strengthen its relationships with its neighbors. The country has participated in regional peacekeeping operations and has taken steps to improve border security and cooperation. In 2017, Liberia and Sierra Leone signed a memorandum of understanding to improve border security and reduce the smuggling of goods and people across the border.



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