Years of civil war have devastated the Liberian economy, which is today characterized by an extremely low growth rate and high unemployment rate and foreign and domestic debt burdens. In 2007, the real growth rate was estimated at 8.5% while the unemployment rate at 80%.
The socio-economic and political order was seriously affected by the civil war. Agriculture was greatly damaged, prices of goods rose, and unemployment dominated the work force. Likewise physical infrastructure was spoiled. In particular, because of the war, roads were destroyed and no maintenance was provided to the power supply system that underwent a serious deterioration process. Living standards collapsed and poverty widely spread particularly among the poorer sections of society.
In this context, diamond smuggling worsened. As a result, in 2001, the U.N. Security Council banned the exploration and export of diamonds, gold and timber to stop the corrupt use of these resources by the rebel groups and avoid further fueling of the conflict. In 2007, the UN Security Council abolished the ban in recognition of the progress made by the Government of Liberia in setting up controls and ensure those resources come from legitimate operations.
Today the economy of Liberia depends mainly on agriculture and export of iron, ore, rubber, diamond, gold and timber. In the agricultural sector, 70% of the population is involved in subsistence farming.