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.
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
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
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
Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017