As a result of the civil war, the French Embassy was evacuated in August 1990. Its closure was announced in September 1996.
The Liberian President, Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, made an official visit to France in March 2006 during which the President of the French Republic announced the reopening of a French diplomatic representation in Liberia. A French ambassador was appointed in March 2007.
President Johnson Sirleaf was received by President Hollande on 7 November 2012.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan headed the Liberian delegation at the Élysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa held in Paris on 6-7 December 2013.
Since 2012 and the reactivation of the mining sector, bilateral trade between France and Liberia has been showing a structural deficit due to our imports of iron ore.
2015 saw a decline in our trade, affected by the slowdown in economic growth following the Ebola outbreak and the mining sector crisis, and a decrease in our deficit from €29.3 million in 2014 to €13.4 million in 2015. French purchases from Liberia consist for more than 85% of iron ore and 14.3% of agricultural products and forestry, fishery and aquaculture products. French sales consist mainly of pharmaceutical products, mechanical equipment, electrical and electronic equipment, and agri-food products.
French companies are present in rubber and palm oil plantations (Bolloré through the Salala Rubber Corporation and the Société Internationale de Plantations d’Hévéas (SIPH), Michelin through MOPP (Maryland Oil Palm Plantation) and CRC (Cavalla Rubber Corporation)), and in the mining sector through ArcelorMittal. Total is active in fuel distribution with 25 service stations. The Bolloré company has been established in Liberia for 50 years through the Union Maritime Commerciale Corporation (UMARCO) brand.
As Liberia’s stability is crucial for the region, French cooperation’s priority is to support reform of the security sector, particularly the training of its police force. France is also present in the health sector. The Alliance Française branch in Monrovia closed in 2014.
A debt-reduction and development contract (C2D) of €3.9 million was signed on 16 August 2012 for a duration of five years (2012-2016). Resources are allocated to Liberia’s Health Sector Pool Fund to support the National Health and Social Welfare Policy and Plan 2011-2021.