Vision: River Cess County shall be a united, secure, center of excellence in the delivery of social and infrastructure services in poverty reduction for all. Core values: Equal access to opportunities for all River Cess citizens Restoration of peace, security and the rule of law Transparent and effective governance Sustainable economic growth and job creation Preservation of natural resources and environmental protection.
River Cess was the twelfth county established in Liberia. The County derives its name from the Cestos (meaning “crawfish basket”) River. Cestos City, formerly known as River Cess City, is the headquarters of the County. The main livelihood activities today include palm oil production, hunting, food crops production and fishing. Acute and chronic malnutrition rates are alarmingly high. This in part could be explained by the geographical isolation of River Cess. Most households’ access to improved drinking water and health facilities is extremely limited.
The area underwent various political and territorial metamorphoses before becoming a County, starting in 1887 when the area was declared a district under Grand Bassa County. River Cess District extended from the Newcess River in the West to the Sankun River in the East. The first capital was Timbo City. In 1912, River Cess District was accorded the status of Statutory District and subsequently, assumed the status of Territory in 1955 with its headquarters relocated at River Cess City (now Cestos City).
County Abbreviation: RI
Superintendent: B. Rancy Ziankahn
Resident Population: 71,509
Districts: River Cess County has eight administrative districts: Dodain, Joe River, Fehn, Zarflahn, Nyunwein, Central River Cess, BearWor, and Sangbalor.
Race/Ethnicity: The Bassa-speaking people are in the majority, making up 96 % of the County’s population. Other ethnic groups in the County include the Kpelle (1%), the Kru (2%) and the Grebo (1%). Indigenous tribes make 99% of the population, dominated by Bassa (78%) and Kru (18%) tribes. Kru population is founding the districts of Yarnee and Timbo, mostly
involved in fishing activities. The Mandingo tribe is also represented by a small minority population near Cestos. Many Mandingos have adopted the Bassa culture, yet continue to speak their own language. Representations of Kissi, Gio and Krahn are also visible in the area but in a small minority.
Women and girls continue to have limited access to education, health services and judicial services, which has severely curtailed their participation in the formal economy. Women and girls have been missing out on opportunities and participation in management and decision-making on all levels of the society. This trend has contributed to feminization of poverty in the County, and in Liberia as a whole.
Hospitals: The entire County is served by only ten health care facilities (NRC Needs Assessment Survey, January 2007). Five of these facilities are located in Morweh District (Blowhen
Sayon, Gbeh Wodobli, Ziadue, Zammie and Zeegar Town), and the remaining five can be found in Timbo Statutory District (Bargbeh Town, Cestos City, Guewein, Neezuin
and Sawkon). The County does not have an assigned doctor, and most health workers are untrained or poorly-trained volunteers.
Resources: The main crops cultivated
during this time and their corresponding percentages are as follows: Rice (84%), Cassava (77%), and assorted vegetables (6%). The main crops produced for household consumption included rice, cassava, plantain/banana, vegetables, sweet
potatoes and corn. Cash crops included rubber (31%), coffee (4%), cacao (19%), coconuts (16%), sugarcane (7%), pineapple (13%), plantain/banana (50%), palm nuts/
oil (12%) and cola nuts (2%). One out of every four to five households in 2005 had a small section of land (0.5 – 1.0 acres) upon which cocoa or coffee trees were grown to provide cash income. Rice is grown mostly under rainfed conditions.
River Cess County has four principal rivers (Timbo, Cestos, Po and Sahnkuen) along with many smaller rivers that flow into the Atlantic Ocean, which provide breeding
grounds for the wide range of fish resources including large pelagic, small pelagic and demersal fish, shrimp and lobster. These varieties can be exploited for domestic,
regional, and international trade.
Employment: 90% of the households cultivate rice, and 70% grow cassava. Other crops include maize, yams, okra, sugarcane, and peanuts.
Rubber, cocoa, coffee, and palm oil
Land Area: River Cess has an area of 5,263.4 square kilometers and a coastline of 62 kilometers.
Location: The area is bound by the counties of Grand Bassa in the west, Nimba and Grand Gedeh in the
North, Sinoe in the Southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean in the South.