Liberia continues to enjoy a stable and democratic government since the conflict ended in 2003. Since then, it has organized two presidential and legislative elections, including a Special Senatorial Election held in December 2014. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is now completing the second and final six-year term which ends in 2017. Presidential and Legislative elections are to take place in October 2017 and the newly elected government will be inaugurated in January 2018.

While multinational peacekeeping force is still deployed in Liberia, the United Nations has lifted the suspension placed on the drawdown of peacekeepers from Liberia. The Security Council, in resolutions 2190 (2014) and 2215 (2015) set June 30, 2016 as the deadline for the Liberian Government to fully assume its complete security responsibilities from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Until mid-2014, Liberia was on stable path in implementing its ambitious medium-term development strategy, the Agenda for Transformation. However, the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, which was first reported in March 2014, lasted close to 16 months and resulted in a death toll of about 4000 persons. The outbreak also began destroying the fabric of Liberia’s economic and service delivery system.

Economic Overview

The Ebola crisis has eroded some of the important gains that Liberia has made in reducing poverty and vulnerability. The Liberian economy has been hit hard by the Ebola epidemic and the related health crisis. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth which was estimated at 8.7% in 2013 and projected at 6% for 2014 before the crisis was estimated to be less than 1%. Rubber production and exports, which had already slowed reflecting lower international prices, were also affected by the quarantines and curfews implemented because of the Ebola crisis. Growth in manufacturing continued to be constrained by inadequate electricity and the generally weak business environment. The epidemic resulted in disruption of production processes across several sectors. Household incomes have suffered from the substantial loss of wage jobs and self-employment. In addition, the fear associated with the outbreak has considerably slowed down economic activities; large concession companies have suspended their investment plans and relocated a number of their expatriate staff to other countries.

Liberia’s GDP growth forecast of 2-3% for 2015, is attributable mainly to resumption of activities in the agriculture, construction and general services sectors. The traditional drivers of economic growth in the economy, namely iron ore and rubber are projected to decline in terms of contribution to GDP, because of falling commodity prices and low output.   Agriculture sector registered negative contribution to GDP, despite modest increase rice production during the year 2015. Services sector is the key driver of economic recovery in 2015, particularly construction (both road and residential), retail and distribution services.

The Ebola outbreak is however expected to have a substantial impact on Liberia’s economy over the medium term. Expenditures directly related to the crisis and additional social protection expenditure policy will result in pushing up the fiscal deficit to 10% of GDP in FY15 and subsequently projected to ease down to 5.4 % in FY16. On the other hand, the slow-down in production as well as delays in investments in key concessions in mining and agriculture caused by the Ebola outbreak will lead to lower exports and increased trade deficit in the medium term. An effective implementation of Liberia’s Post-Ebola Economic Recovery Plan is critical to mitigating the twin effects of the EVD and the declining global commodity prices, on the economy in the medium term. 

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2015

World Bank Group (WBG) Engagement

The Liberia Country Partnership Strategy FY13-FY17 (CPS) supports the government’s Agenda for Transformation (AfT), Liberia’s five-year development strategy, and contribute to sustained growth, poverty reduction and shared prosperity, while exiting fragility and building resilience. The CPS is aligned with the AfT and it focuses on three pillars: Economic Transformation, Human Development, Governance and Public Sector Institutions. The International Development Association (IDA) allocation for the lending program for the CPS period is expected to be about $308 million.

The WBG Portfolio in Liberia

The Liberian portfolio has grown to 15 projects with a net commitment of $486.69 million as of June 30, 2015. The main focus of the portfolio is on investing in infrastructure, especially roads, bridges and energy, along with development of the human and institutional capacity necessary to deliver results in these sectors. In addition, the WBG continues working with the government to diversify agriculture, improve service delivery in education, health and social protection and strengthen public financial management and governance mechanisms. Out of the amount, $77.5 million has been disbursed during FY15.

In response to the Ebola epidemic, the WBG mobilized significant grant resources from the IDA Crisis Response Window – $177 million for the Ebola Emergency Response Project (EERP). EERP has been supporting the delivery of essential health services since the height of the Ebola outbreak, providing essential drugs, infection prevention and control materials, and hazard pay (risk premium for Ebola) to the health sector workers. Going forward, the project will also support critical activities of the country’s Investment Plan for Building a Resilient Health System in Liberia in recovering essential health services and building a resilient health system.

To ensure strategic interventions in stabilizing the economy and spurring rapid economic and social recovery, the government developed the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan (ESRP). In support of the government’s ESRP, the WBG committed to refocus the existing investment program outlined in the CPS and additional health, water and sanitation, and social cash transfer projects were added to support the ESRP program.

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2015

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Liberia

IFC’s investments and advisory services are targeted to achieve private sector development in delivering the agreed Country Partnership Strategy FY13-FY17 (CPS). As at July 2015, IFC investment comprises: 

  • $37.3 million financing in four Liberian banks under Ebola Emergency Liquidity Facility (EELF) and Global Trade Facility
  • $8.6 million in agriculture financing  in the rubber and cocoa sectors
  • $24 million in the mining sector
  • $13 mission (out of $18.5 million) seed investment in West Africa Venture Fund (WAVF) for private equity investment to small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

In January 2015, the WBG Board approved a $25 million Rubber Renovation Program (RRP) to support small and medium Liberian growers with long term financing to replant and improve existing operations.

The priority sectors for new IFC investments during the CPS period will be agribusiness, energy & infrastructure, financial services and mining. The priority sectors present viable and sustainable investment opportunities that are consistent with Pillar II of the Liberian government’s AfT and development partners’ focus on sustainable employment creation. Extensive reform activities of the past six years have made the priority sectors more investment ready. IFC’s on-the-ground presence since June 2007 has enabled it to scale up activities with discussions ongoing on a number of potential investments in agribusiness, power and financial services.

IFC, through its investment and advisory services plans to focus on:

  • Supporting private sector led investments that deliver transformational impact in power generation through partnership with an IPP under a joint WBG framework to power sector development in Liberia and IFC’s “Power in Fragile and Conflict-affected States” initiative.
  • Strengthening Financial Markets: IFC has provided EELF and trade lines to four local banks and will continue to strengthen the Liberian financial sector and explore opportunities, working with new banks under the RRF financing and injection of equity/tier 2 capital into the banking sector.
  • Supporting the West Africa Venture Fund: In recognition of capital constraints of SMEs, IFC set up West Africa Venture Fund (WAVF) for Liberia and Sierra Leone, to provide risk capital and advisory services to SMEs. WAVF with an initial investment of $13.5 million and a technical assistance grants fund of $2 million split evenly between both countries is managed by a Fund Manager, Unique Capital Ventures. The average investment size is $100,000 - $500,000. To date, the fund has committed more than $5 million in equity investments in 13 companies. This includes in heavy equipment rental, logistics, bakery and small processing operations. In October 2014, Cordaid, a Dutch based NGO, invested additional US$4.5 million in WAVF increasing total fund under management US$18 million. This would enable the fund reach more SMEs in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
  • Continued support for SMEs: IFC will work with local banks to provide needed financing for SMEs. In June 2014 IFC worked with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to launch a Collateral Registry, which will enhance access to affordable capital for SMEs by encouraging use of movable assets as collateral. IFC advisory services continues to focus its efforts in Liberia on supporting the growth of smaller businesses and on helping the country improve its investment climate.

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2015

Donor Coordination

The Country Partnership Strategy FY13-FY17 (CPS) reflects the World Bank Group's (WBG) commitment to exploit synergies internally, to generate the maximum development impact through innovative solutions, and externally to leverage WBG knowledge and technical expertise through other partners' resources. The CPS was developed and is being implemented in close coordination with development partners such as the African Development Bank (ADB), the European Union (EU), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The WBG also strategically partnered with the United Nations (UN) in the preparation of United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) that is a more focused UN collective response to national priorities and is being implemented based on the "Delivering as One" concept. All development partners’ strategies are aligned with the Agenda for Transformation.

The government continues to strengthen the aid management outfit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in addition to strengthening aid coordination mechanisms to support the Agenda for Transformation.

The WBG has been a major proponent of aid coordination through the multi-donor Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF), as well as the donor groups in public financial management, public sector reform, agriculture, social protection, energy and health. Active donors with presence in Liberia include the United Nations family, the African Development Bank, the European Union, USAID/MCC, China, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and Ireland.



Last Updated: Sep 30, 2015


Liberia: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments