Overview

  • 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 first round turnout of 75%.

    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. Mohammed, participated.

    Economic Overview

    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 however grew by 0.2%, reflecting the sluggish performance of agriculture and services sectors.  Headline inflation increased to double-digit, averaging 12.5%in 2017 compared to 8.5 percent in 2016 due to depreciation of the Liberia dollar, following the sharp decline in exports, the UNMIL drawdown and capital flight.

    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

  • World Bank Group (WBG) Engagement

    The World Bank in Liberia has commenced the process leading to the formulation of its new Country Partnership Framework (CPF), which will guide the intervention of the Bank in Liberia over the next five-to-seven years. The CPF will replace the Liberia Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) FY13-FY17 that has been supporting the government’s Agenda for Transformation (AfT) by contributing to sustained growth, poverty reduction and shared prosperity, while exiting fragility and building resilience. Key pillars included the following: (i) Economic Transformation; (ii) Human Development; and (iii) Governance and Public Sector Institutions. In December 2014, the CPS program was refocused to support the government’s post-Ebola Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan. As the CPS comes to an end, the Bank launched the preparation of the Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD), which identified constraints impeding poverty reduction. The SCD is the preparatory stage for the preparation of the Country Partnership Framework(CPF).   

    The WBG Portfolio in Liberia

    The World Bank portfolio in Liberia comprises of 13 active International Development Association (IDA) projects with a net commitment of $373.40 million. The 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.

    The WBG has in the pipeline projects ranging from Urban Development, Education, Public Financial Management, Agricultural Transformation, to Transport to improve the lives of both urban and rural inhabitants. They include the Liberia Education Quality Improvement Project (LEQIP) and Liberia: Getting to Best in Education, Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project II, Monrovia Urban Sanitation Infrastructure Project, Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) to enhance agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers and facilitate inclusive private sector investment in selected value chains. The Bank is also supporting Liberia through regional projects covering the health, fisheries and energy sectors.  

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

  • International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Liberia

    IFC investments and advisory services in Liberia will be targeted to achieve private sector development. As of December 2017, IFC investment in Liberia comprises of: (i) $18 million financing in four Liberia banks credit lines and Global Trade facility; (ii) $5 million in agriculture financing in the rubber and cocoa sectors; (iii) $9 million (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 rubber growers with long term financing to replant and improve existing operations. This fund will be invested through Liberian Banks and negotiation is progressing with these.  

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

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

  • Donor Coordination

    The WBG develops and implements its projects and programs 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 the governments of Great Britain (DfID), Sweden (Sida), Ireland (Irish Aid), Norway and Germany (KfW) and the World Bank. The LRTF is administered by the World Bank and supervised by an Oversight Committee comprising Government of Liberia, contributing donors, and the World Bank. 

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

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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

Apr 19, 2018

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Watch, listen and click through the latest videos, podcasts and slideshows highlighting the World Bank’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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The Doing Business report provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement. See where your country ranks.

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
German Embassy Compound
Tubman Boulevard, Oldest Congo Town
Monrovia, Liberia
+231-88-6-531-407
For general information and inquiries
Michael Nyumah Sahr
Communications Associate
+231-88-6-606-967
msahr@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
liberiaalert@worldbank.org