Liberia’s cities were mainly established during the 19th century after the resettlement of freed black slaves from America. The cities are major contributors to the economy of the country with the largest and the capital being Monrovia. The cities have been on a downward trend for a long time due to political instability in the country. Agriculture and trade are the major economic activities carried out by the residents of these cities. Currently, the cities are under infrastructural development to steer them forward and expand the economy of Liberia following the ravages of wars in the country.
The Four Biggest Cities In Liberia
Monrovia is the largest city and capital of Liberia located within Montserrado County along the Atlantic coast and has a population of 939,524 on latitude/longitude 6.301 / -10.797. Monrovia was established in 1822 by the American Colonisation Society as a settlement for the black slaves from America. The returned black American former slaves were the significant control over the cultural and political spheres of the city drawing heavy influence from the Americans. Indigenous Liberians settled in the city after the Second World War to exploit job opportunities. The city has been part of the Liberian Civil Wars which have left damages as well as slowed down the development of the city. Monrovia has the largest artificial port in West Africa and has a trade-based economy. Monrovia has been listed as one of the world’s poorest cities with 80% of its population lacking a steady income.
Gbarnga is the second most populous city in Liberia with a population of 45,835 on latitude/longitude 6.995/-9.471. Gbarnga serves as the administrative capital of Bong County. The city served as a battle front for the National Patriotic Front of Liberia during the First Liberian Civil War. The city is the leading educational center in Liberia with learning institutions such as the Cuttington University and the St. Martin’s Catholic High School. The major activities in the town are mainly based on poultry farming which forms the major items of trade. The city has a rubber factory for processing latex into crumb rubber.
Kakata has a population of 33,945 and serves as the capital of Margibi County on latitude/longitude 6.531 / -10.354. The city is located within the rubber cultivation belt. The city’s economy is primarily based on rubber production, subsistence rice farming and diamond prospecting. The city has several academic institutions including the Booker Washington Institute established in 1929 and the Kakata Teacher’s Training Institute. Other social facilities within the town include the C.H. Rennie Hospital, communication centers such as the Radio Kakata and Atlantic radio. The city is an important trading market with traders from various cities of Liberia exchanging their produce here.
Bensonville is the capital of Montserrado County with a population of 33,188 on latitude/longitude 6.447 / -10.613. Bensonville is an important commercial center and serves as the marketplace for the surrounding agricultural areas. The city formerly existed as a production area for rice, furniture, paints and processed fish until the activities were disrupted by the civil war in the ’90s. The city’s growth is largely influenced by its closeness to Monrovia.
Problems Facing Liberian Cities
Most of the cities in Liberia have been listed among the poorest in the world. The slow development is largely influenced by the 14-year civil war in Liberia as well as corruption, economic mismanagement, large national debts, and poor infrastructural development. Other important Liberian cities include Harper, Voinjama, Buchanan, Zwedru, New Yekepa and Greenville.