Political and Security Update
Senator George M. Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) was elected Liberia’s president after defeating Vice President Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party (UP) in the December 26, 2017 run-off election. Senator Weah won 61.5% of the vote, while VP Boakai won 38.5%, with a turnout of 55.8% of registered voters, compared to a
The 54th National Legislature has been formally seated. Seventy-three members of the House of Representatives were elected during the October 10, 2017 elections. The election of President Weah and his Vice President, both of whom were senators, created a void in the Senate. The process leading to the Senatorial By-Elections has started. The President’s Inaugural Address called for an end to corruption and appears to remain very consistent in pushing for a pro-poor governance agenda to address poverty.
In his first State of the Nation Address, President Weah clearly stated the key priorities for his government: (i) improve public sector transparency and efficiency, (ii) creating environment for transparent and honest businesses, (iii) filling in infrastructure gaps in particular connecting the Southeast through the coastal road, and (iv) creating jobs for youth.
The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) ended its mandate after nearly 15 years of stay in Liberia. The mission supported the transition from war to peace. On March 22, 2018, an official ceremony was held in Monrovia which concluded UNMIL’s stay in Liberia. President George M. Weah and the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J.
Liberia’s economy is showing signs of modest recovery in 2017, amid significant fiscal and external imbalances. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2017 is estimated at 2.5% compared to a deceleration of 1.6% in 2016 and zero percent growth in 2015. The incipient recovery is driven largely by improved performance of the mining sector, which grew by 29%, following an uptick in global commodity prices during the first quarter of 2017. The non-mining sector
In FY2017, fiscal pressures increased due to declining domestic revenues and high non-discretionary expenditures. Total revenues and grants for FY2017 fell short of the approved budget by 9% compared to a shortfall of 4% in FY16 due to a lower domestic revenue mobilization, arising from the lull in economic activities. While the international trade taxes fell short of target by 11%, direct tax and non-tax revenues fell short of target by 29.1% and 57%respectively. The government mitigated the full impact of the revenue shock by introducing new revenue measures during the year; namely, the increase in the General Sales Tax (GST) rate from 7% to 10%and petroleum storage surcharge of US$.30 per gallon. On the expenditure side, the government cut spending on goods and services, subsidies, transfers, and domestically-financed investment. These measures combined with augmented financial support from donor partners helped to contain the overall budget deficit to 7.4% of GDP.
The medium-term growth prospects remain positive, although substantial downside risks remain. GDP’s growth is projected to recover to an annual average growth rate of 3.8%over the period 2018-2020. The recovery is expected to be driven largely by the agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors, as the economy begins to reap the benefits of improved access to road transport network and cheaper sources of electricity. The mining sector is projected to recover rather slowly, in tandem with the recovery in global commodity prices. Inflation is projected to decline from 11.5% in 2018 to 9.5%by 2020. Additionally, in line with projected improvements in the economy over the period 2018-2020, poverty is expected to fall from 50.5% in 2018 to 48.6 in 2020.
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018