Liberia. According to Countryaah.com, Liberia population in 2020 is estimated at 5,057,692. Liberia was one of the countries in West Africa that was most severely affected by the ebola outbreak that began in February. At the end of the year, more than 17,000 people were reported to have been infected with Ebola fever, and about 000 people had died in the disease whose outbreak was described as the worst ever. At least 3,000 Liberians were reported among the deceased. During the year, the government received massive criticism for its handling of the epidemic. The authorities found it difficult to reach out with information about the disease and many people initially believed that the problem was magnified or that the disease did not exist at all. Misunderstood rumors of the spread of disease and widespread suspicion against the authorities made the relief work more difficult.
In July, many of the country’s schools were forced to strike again, and most of the borders vis-à-vis neighboring countries were also closed. In August, the West Point slum area in the capital, Monrovia, was quarantined after residents attacked a clinic where people suspected of being infected with Ebola fever were forcibly isolated to prevent the spread of infection. At the end of August, the quarantine in West Point was lifted and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced that the country was in extraordinary distress. During the year, the president was criticized partly for failing to cope with the sudden emergence in the country well enough and partly for not working effectively against the widespread corruption – a challenge the president had previously assured that she would address.
In addition to far-reaching social consequences, the country’s economy was very negatively affected by the epidemic and food prices shot up. The Liberian economy had advanced significantly in previous years, thanks in large part to increased exports and foreign investment. Before the outbreak of ebola fever, growth for 2014 was projected to be 5.9%, but due to an economic downturn, the growth forecast instead was 2.5%.
In October, Johnson Sirleaf announced that the Senate election that would have been held later that month was postponed due to the outbreak of Ebola fever. In November, information came out that the spread of the disease was slowing down.
In the autumn, the independent newspaper FrontPage Africa was praised by the organization Reporters Without Borders (RUG) for its investigative journalism. As late as last year, the newspaper was forced to close down after its editor-in-chief Rodney Sieh was jailed. RUG was one of the organizations that criticized the court’s decision to ban the publication of the newspaper and argued that it constituted an unacceptable violation of the freedom of expression.