Overview

  • Political and Security Update

    Liberia has commenced its voters’ registration exercise in preparation for the 2017 presidential and legislative elections. This exercise started on 1 February 2017 and is targeting over 2.5 million eligible voters. Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) has validated 21 political parties to participate in the October 2017 elections: contestants will be vying to replace President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who will be completing her second and final term of office, and to fill 73 seats in the House of Representatives. The ruling Unity Party (UP) is fighting for a third term of office with Vice President Joseph Boakai as its standard bearer.

    In December 2016, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for a final period until 30 March 2018. Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, UNMIL’s mandate includes the protection of civilians, advising Liberia on the reform of its justice and security institutions, and supporting the government to carry out the promotion, protection, and monitoring of human rights, as well as efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence and protect United Nations personnel, installations, and equipment.

    The Security Council also decided to reduce the Mission’s 1,240 military personnel to no more than 434, and its police strength to 310 personnel. It has called on the government to prioritize national reconciliation and economic recovery, combat corruption and promote efficiency and good governance. It is also stressing the need to prepare for 2017 elections and calling upon all parties to ensure that the elections are free, fair, peaceful and transparent, and included the full participation of women.

    Economic Overview

    Liberia’s economy has stagnated over the past three years, representing an average annual growth rate of 0% over the period 2014–2016. The country is struggling to recover from the twin shocks of the Ebola Virus Disease and a sharp decline in commodity prices. The public budget has been slashed by almost 15% amid increased inflationary pressures and the relatively fast depreciation of the local currency. Liberia is therefore at a critical stage in its peace building and development process, given the number of additional fiscal challenges it  has to grapple with in FY2017, such as taking full responsibility for peace and security following the UNMIL drawdown, funding the pending presidential elections, and allocating resources for investments required under the post-Ebola economic recovery plan.

    Prospects for growth are much better in 2017, however, as GDP is projected to grow by more than 2%. Gold production and improvements in services are likely to account for the improvement in the country’s economic performance. But, while there has been an uptick in iron ore and rubber prices since the last calendar quarter of 2016, there has not yet been a notable response within Liberia in supply. In terms of fiscal performance, for the first half of FY2016/17 core revenues (tax and non-tax revenues together) amounted to $205.2 million, which on an annualized basis, is 27% lower than the forecast. This suggests that unless revenue improve considerably in the second half of the fiscal year, the government may be faced with a substantial shortfall.

    Over the medium term, economic growth is expected to increase to 5.0% on average, due to a recovery in mining and improvements in infrastructure, particularly in energy and roads, and higher agricultural productivity. The fiscal position should also improve thanks to the authorities’ commitment toward domestic revenue mobilization and containing public spending. Resolution of the backlog of non-performing loans and improving bank profitability could support economic growth through increased credit, especially for small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

  • World Bank Group (WBG) Engagement

    The Liberia Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) FY13-FY17 has been supporting the government’s Agenda for Transformation (AfT) to contribute to sustained growth, poverty reduction and shared prosperity, while exiting fragility and building resilience. Key pillars are: (i) Economic Transformation; (ii) Human Development; and (iii) Governance and Public Sector Institutions. In December 2014, the CPS program was refocused to support Government’s post-Ebola Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan. As the CPS comes to an end, the Bank has launched the preparation of the new Systematic Country Diagnostic/Country Partnership Framework to replace the existing CPS. 

    WBG Portfolio in Liberia

    The World Bank portfolio in Liberia comprises 13 active projects with a net commitment of $398.45 million. The main focus of the portfolio is investing in infrastructure, especially roads, bridges, and energy, along with the 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.

    As a major donor in health care delivery services in Liberia, the WBG has the restructured Health Systems Strengthening Project (HSSP) Additional Financing in the pipeline. This project will improve the quality of primary and secondary health care services with a focus on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health. This is part of the government’s Investment Plan for Building a Resilient Health System in Liberia. The Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) Project is also coming on board to address cross-border dimensions of disease prevention and treatment as an area of focus. The Bank is providing support in close coordination and collaboration with other development partners.

    Another project in the pipeline includes the Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness revitalization Project (STAR-P) to enhance the agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers and facilitate inclusive private sector investment in selected value chains. Additionally, the development of a new landfill under the Urban Sanitation Project is being considered, including interventions in the Transport and Education sectors, Land Administration, Fisheries, and Poverty Reduction Support. 

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

  • International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Liberia

    IFC investments and advisory services in Liberia will be targeted to achieve private sector development. As of December 2016, IFC investment in Liberia comprised: (i) $37.3 million financing in four Liberian banks under the Ebola Emergency Liquidity Facility (EELF) and Global Trade Facility; (ii) $8.5 million in agriculture financing in the rubber and cocoa sectors; (iii) $20.2 million in the mining sector; (iv) and $13 million (out of $18.5 million) seed investment in the 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 rubber growers with long term financing to replant and improve existing operations. About $2.5m has been allocated to the Liberian Bank and negotiations are progressing with other banks.  

    Agriculture and financial services are two priority sectors for IFC Liberia. These sectors present viable and sustainable investment and employment opportunities. Extensive reforms 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.

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

  • Donor Coordination

    The CPS was developed and implemented in close coordination with development partners such as the African Development Bank (ADB), the European Union (EU), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Other donor partners are USAID/MCC, China, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United Nations.

    The WBG has been a major proponent of aid coordination through the LRTF, as well as the donor groups in public financial management, public sector reform, agriculture, social protection, energy and health. The LRTF is a multi-donor trust fund for infrastructure, which is supported by contributions from the European Union and Great Britain, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, Germany, and the World Bank.

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

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LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

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In Depth

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Africa's Pulse, No. 15, April 2017

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World Bank Africa Multimedia

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Doing Business in Liberia

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
+231-88-6-531-407

Michael Nyumah Sahr
Communications Associate
+231-88-6-606-967
The World Bank Liberia Country Office
German Embassy Compound
Tubman Boulevard, Oldest Congo Town
Monrovia, Liberia
msahr@worldbank.org
In Washington:
Sergiy Kulyk
Country Program Coordinator
+ 202-458-4068
1818 H Street NW
Washington DC 20433
USA
skulyk@worldbank.org