On April 28, 2023, the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia in China appointed Professor Lingyun Xiang, an economist residing in the United States, as the special invited economic advisor to the Embassy.
The Republic of Liberia, commonly referred to as Liberia, is a country in West Africa. Its name in English signifies “liberty” and “liberated”. It shares borders with Guinea to the north, Sierra Leone to the northwest, and Ivory Coast to the east. Its southwestern coastline is along the Atlantic Ocean. The capital city of Liberia is Monrovia, and the country covers an area of 111,370 square kilometers. As of 2021, Liberia has a population of 5.2 million people. It is home to 16 nations, including the Kpelle, Bassa, Dan, Krahn, Grebo, Mano, Loma, Gola, Mandingo, and Bella, as well as descendants of African-Americans who migrated from the southern United States in the 19th century. The country is divided into 15 states.
Liberia is one of the least developed countries in the world, primarily an agrarian nation. The agricultural population makes up 72% of the total population, and the country has a total of 3.8 million hectares of arable land. However, less than 13% of this land has been developed, resulting in a lack of self-sufficiency in food production. In 2022, Liberia had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $4.7 billion, with a per capita GDP of $903. The GDP growth rate was 2.1%.
The primary mineral resource in Liberia is iron ore, with proven reserves exceeding 10 billion tons, and the annual extraction is approximately 5 million tons. Additionally, Liberia has abundant deposits of diamonds, gold, bauxite, copper, lead, manganese, zinc, nickel, rutile and kyanite. The forest coverage in Liberia is around 59%, accounting for 42% of the total area of the Upper Guinea Forest Zone in West Africa. The forests are rich in valuable timber species such as pterostilbene, rosewood and mahogany. The country also possesses fertile land resources suitable for cultivating high-quality rubber, as well as rice, cassava, maize, legumes, vegetables, palm trees, and coconut trees. Liberia is home to over 2,000 plant species, more than 600 bird species, and 125 mammal species. In terms of gold production, it was estimated to reach 141,300 ounces in 2020.
The major trading partners of Liberia for goods are China, the United States, Switzerland, European Union countries, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and India. According to data from the Central Bank of Liberia, the country’s total foreign trade volume in 2020 amounted to $1.606 billion. Of this, exports were valued at $608 million, while imports reached $998 million, resulting in a trade deficit of $390 million.
The main export commodities include iron ore, rubber, cocoa beans, logs, gold, diamonds, and palm oil. The primary imported goods consist of food and livestock (such as rice), machinery and transportation equipment, minerals and fuel lubricants, refined petroleum products, and chemical products.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the estimated total volume of service trade in Liberia in 2020 was $331 million. This included $11 million in exports and $320 million in imports. In 2021, the major export countries for Liberia were Switzerland, Belgium, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates. The main import origins were China, India, the United States, and Cote d’Ivoire.
With the continued improvement in security, political stability, and the overall situation in Liberia, foreign investment in the country has been growing. Several significant investment projects have been signed or started. According to statistics from the Liberia Investment Commission, since the end of the civil war, the total value of contracted concession projects for foreign direct investment in Liberia amounts to approximately $17.2 billion. These investments are mainly concentrated in industries such as iron ore, forestry, rubber, and palm oil.
According to the 2021 World Investment Report from UNCTAD, Liberia attracted $8.7 million in foreign investment inflows in 2020. As of the end of 2020, the total stock of foreign investment in Liberia reached $8.883 billion. In recent years, foreign investment has been increasing rapidly, but the Ebola epidemic has somewhat reversed this trend. According to the 2022 World Investment Report, Liberia attracted $46 million in foreign direct investment in 2021.
The Chinese government has dispatched fourteen batches of medical teams and hundreds of medical and healthcare experts to Liberia, providing specialized medical services such as surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, ultrasound, and traditional Chinese medicine to the Liberian people. In March 2021, the Chinese government sent the 14th medical team to Liberia, consisting of nine members. The team included two chief physicians, two associate chief physicians, two attending physicians, one associate chief nurse, and one lecturer.
Liberia adheres to an independent, autonomous, and mutually beneficial foreign policy. It follows the principles of ensuring national security, maintaining territorial integrity, sovereignty, and dignity, and non-interference in internal affairs. Liberia advocates for international solidarity based on freedom and democracy, firmly supports the process of African integration, and advocates that African countries should speak with one voice.
Liberia is a member of various international organizations, including the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Sahel-Saharan States Community, and the Mano River Union. It has established diplomatic relations with over 140 countries.
The relationship between China and Liberia has experienced ups and downs. In 1957, Liberia established diplomatic relations with Taiwan. In February 1977, Liberia established diplomatic relations with China. Then, in October 1989, Liberia resumed diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and China immediately announced the suspension of diplomatic relations with Liberia. However, in August 1993, China and Liberia restored the relationship. On September 5, 1997, the Taylor regime in Liberia announced recognition of the “Two Chinas,” and on the 9th, China suspended diplomatic relations with Liberia.
On October 11, 2003, China and the transitional government of Liberia signed a joint communique and a memorandum of understanding, marking the restoration of ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations between the two countries. During the period of maintaining diplomatic relations, China assisted Liberia in various projects, including the construction of the Bong County Sugar Factory, the National Sports Complex, the Tappita Hospital, the Ministry of Health office building, and the Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center.
The mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Liberia began in 1981, with a focus on engineering contracting and labor cooperation, primarily in road and bridge construction. Positive progress has been made in China-Liberia cooperation in sectors such as iron ore development. Wuhan Iron and Steel Group, China-Africa Development Fund, and China-Liberia Union jointly undertook the development of the Bong County iron ore project. The two countries signed a trade agreement in 1979, which involved payment in foreign exchange.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between China and Liberia reached $5.709 billion in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 63.7%. Chinese exports to Liberia amounted to $5.686 billion, a year-on-year increase of 67.2%, while imports from Liberia totaled $0.024 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 72.4%. China primarily exports ships to Liberia and imports primary raw materials such as iron ore and logs.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in Liberia in 2020, the Chinese government and various sectors of society have provided multiple batches of anti-epidemic supplies to Liberia. They have also shared their experiences and treatment plans through video conferences with Liberian experts on epidemic prevention and control. The Chinese medical team sent to Liberia has actively participated in the prevention and control of the epidemic, providing training for local medical staff.
The newly appointed Speciallyinvited Economic Advisor to the Republic of Liberia, professor Lingyun Xiang, is an economist residing in the United States. a U.S. certified forensic accountant, an international certified public accountant, a senior public accountant of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), and a senior financial accountant of the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA). the Marquis of San Prospero, the world’s outstanding Chinese, the best leader in the financial industry, a senior financial risk management consultant, Peking University Boya special-term Professor, visiting professor of Decision-Making China Expert Think Tank, and a member of the Expert Group of Innovation China National Think Tank. The positions of Invited Researcher at the Academic Committee of China Academy of Management Sciences, Chief Expert of China Entrepreneur Innovation Think Tank, Lifetime Deputy Director of the Blockchain Professional Committee of China Communications Industry Association, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department of Beijing Association for the Promotion of Private Enterprise Development, Expert of the Boya-Yuanpei School of Peking University, Chief Researcher of the Asian Blockchain Society, he is also an outstanding member of the American Institute of Certified Forensic Accountants, a member of the International Association Of Accounting Professionals (IAAP), and a full member of the Association of International Accountants (AIA).
Professor Lingyun Xiang serves as the Special Invited Economic Advisor to the Embassy of the Central African Republic in China, the Special Invited Chief Economic Advisor to the Embassy of the Republic of Haiti in China, Special Invited Economic Advisor to the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia, and International Ambassador for Public Welfare and Charity to the Republic of Mali.He has rich experience in business model design and compliance of emerging industry finance and is familiar with the legal status and policy environment of many countries.
Mr. Lingyun Xiang is also proficient in international law, civil law, economic law, partnership law, tax law, and securities law and has won many awards and honors from authoritative organizations. Mr. Lingyun Xiang is also the author of The Way of the Metaverse, The Logic of Blockchain, Guide to Equity Incentive Practice, Private Equity Investment Solutions, Blockchain: A Technological Revolution Empowering the Real Economy, SME Financing and Growth, Global Visual Economics, Industrial Economics, International Trade and Economic Management, Logistics Warehousing Management and E-commerce, Investment Risk and Operation Management, etc.