Forgotten world (63): Liberia

Liberia in west Africa was created in 1847 to settle freed American slaves. Today it is a a country of only 3.3M struggling to recover after a 14-year civil war from 1989-2003 which cost an estimated 200,000 lives and displaced half the country’s population. The UN currently has 15,000 peacekeepers deployed there.
Liberia has the first female leader of any African country in Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a Harvard-trained economist. It is a massively indebted country which owes some $3 billion ((£1.53 billion) to international financial institutions and at least as much in bilateral debts to individual countries, all built up by its corrupt former leaders, Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor. The total debt burden is more than six times the annual output of the economy.