Does anyone have experience of working and living in Liberia?
April 27, 2012 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Working and living in Liberia

Hello Mefis,

I am looking for some adventure in Africa. I am in early 30s and have been offered a position in Liberia with a salary of USD2500. If I work for a year then the package gives me salary for 13 months. At the moment, the company is offering me health benefits. I have never been to Africa so I am curious how things are and if I should go for this offer.

- My first and foremost concern is living conditions and security. Yesterday, Charles Taylor was found guilty at The Hague and BBC reported riots in Liberian capital. I don't know about security in this country.
- How much does it cost to live a decent life? I understand that I can not expect fancy/upscale homes but with Liberian standard how much I will be shelling out a month?
- How is the healthcare system? Is there private healthcare that I can access if I need it?
- How is it to work with Liberian workforce? Mostly, I will working in marketing.

Thanks in advance.

P. S. - I am posting this message on behalf of a friend, so if he has any additional questions, will comment in the thread.
posted by zaxour to Travel & Transportation around Liberia (7 answers total)
Honestly, I would not accept a salary so low since if you need to get home for whatever reason in a hurry, it would not be affordable to do so on that salary. Unless you have significant savings elsewhere.

You need to find a trusted person on the ground who can advise about security and other matters. I wouldn't move anywhere without that.
posted by wingless_angel at 8:35 AM on April 27, 2012

Did you check what your countries travel advice to Liberia is? UK version.
posted by travelwithcats at 8:43 AM on April 27, 2012

I haven't been there in a couple of years, but it wasn't a particularly safe place then. Have him read the US State Dept travel page: When I traveled there, as a US govt employee I had to ride in an armored vehicle, obey a strict curfew in Monrovia, get advance clearance to leave the city, and stay or socialize in one of only two spots. That is by far the strictest security measures I've had to follow and have spent a good amount of time in the developing world.

I love Liberia - it's beautiful and I find the people lovely. But Monrovia is still very much still recovering from the war. People are desperate. Infrastructure is very poor. There isn't much if an expat life if he's after that.

That salary - is that per year? - seems VERY low for an expat.
posted by semacd at 8:50 AM on April 27, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for replies so far.

A quick correction,
Salary is USD 2500/ month and USD 32500 per year.
posted by zaxour at 8:57 AM on April 27, 2012

A friend of mine works in Angola as an expat. His compensation package includes: housing, security, a driver, a chef, international telephone service, a high-speed internet connection to his house, etc.

I would expect a similar type of compensation package as an expatriate in Liberia.
posted by dfriedman at 9:30 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

A friend of mine worked for Lawyers-without-borders in Liberia. She said it was often scary (outside Monrovia), and very very poverty-stricken.
She was shocked at the level of illiteracy - I think it's around 70%
Outside the city, there is almost no legal system - just tribal law.
I think you could probably find slightly 'friendlier' countries for your first experience in Africa.
posted by dbmcd at 2:32 PM on April 27, 2012

Disclaimer - I've never been to Liberia. I've been to a number of other west African nations however and a majority of the sub-Saharan African nations, one of which I now live in. I do have a good friend who used to be in Liberia as well.

From what I can gather about the country, if I were to visit, it would be one of the most insecure, poverty stricken, and foreigner-unfriendly places I would have ever visited. I say this having worked in places like Chad, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Somalia, Haiti, etc.. I have a pretty good grasp on what living conditions are like in some of the poorest and most insecure countries in the world, and even for those I haven't been to, I can make pretty educated guesses. And I have absolutely no desire to visit Liberia except for maybe a few days to explore the surfing, if I could manage it.

Further, as a point of reference, I'm pretty sure everyone upthread was assuming that you meant $2500 a month, as I did. $32,500 per annum would be an extremely low salary unless you were getting pretty much a full-ride expat package that included everything on the list dfriedman mentioned and then some. Even then, its comparably pretty low. Take Chad, for existence - horribly destitute place with a smattering of half-falling-apart hotels and a couple decent (by West African standards) restaurants. That is it. Period. And yet its capital city, Ndjamena - consistently rated as one of the top 3 most expensive places to live on the planet (Luanda, the capital of Angola, beat it for first place last year, coincidentally). Western expat life has to be imported to these places, in toto. I do better than 32,500, but even in Ndjamena there were restaurants that I couldn't afford to eat at and hotels that I couldn't afford to visit the swimming pool, let alone stay at.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:52 AM on May 8, 2012

« Older Help me help her.   |   well you can't and you won't and you don't stop Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.