Liberian President George Weah has called his challenger in the presidential race, Joseph Boakai, to congratulate him on his victory.
In an address to the nation he said “the Liberian people have spoken and we have heard their voice”.
The opposition candidate holds an unassailable lead of 28,000 votes with nearly all ballots counted.
A former football star, President Weah has been in power since 2018. He will step down in January.
He came into the job on a wave of enthusiasm, especially from younger voters, having won that election – also against Mr Boakai – by a large margin.
But a perception that he had failed to tackle corruption, rising prices and continued economic difficulties tarnished his image.
Mr Weah was magnanimous in defeat, beginning his five-minute address by saying he had “the utmost respect for the democratic process that has defined our nation”, adding that he had spoken to Mr Boakai who he called the “president-elect”.
Earlier the electoral commission announced that Mr Boakai, a 78-year-old political veteran had 50.89% of the votes, while President Weah had 49.11%.
The president referred to the closeness of the race saying it “reveals a deep division within our country” and called on Liberians to “work together to find common ground… unity is paramount for mama Liberia”.
A long period of civil war in which an estimated 250,000 people died ended just 20 years ago.