Political and Security Update
After nearly eight months into office, President George M. Weah has for the first time addressed the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York after the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) closed its peacekeeping operations in Liberia after 15 years of operations. Since Liberia assumed security responsibilities in 2017, there has been no major security problems. The country’s security forces successfully provided security for the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections. President Weah commended the UN for its support for Liberia.
He told the world body of his ambitious economic manifesto, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which he said gives priority to the alleviation of poverty with focus on reducing the marginalization of the most vulnerable, creating a conducive atmosphere for middle and upper income Liberians to grow and prosper, and contribute to the country’s development.
The president promised to build a harmonious society, based on the goal of economic empowerment, especially for the underprivileged. The Pro-Poor Agenda is designed to give power to the people, promote economic diversification, protect sustainable peace and encourage good governance. The President appealed to Liberia’s friends, bilateral partners, and private investors to support this agenda.
The Liberian government says it is investing in Technical Vocational Education and Training programs to build entrepreneurial and marketable skill-sets of the country’s youthful population. Considering the importance and impact of infrastructure on social and economic development, the Liberian Government has identified investment in roads, energy and ports, as priority, and is therefore soliciting funding and other technical expertise to undertake projects in these sectors in pursuit of its goal to connect Liberia’s cities and towns, and power the economy. Investments in agriculture and value-addition activities are expected to provide jobs and income opportunities across the country.
Liberia’s economy is still struggling to recover fully from the effects of multiple shocks in recent years; namely, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak,
The resultant rise in the cost of living and limited employment opportunities continue to undermine the welfare of Liberians. According to the 2016 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES), more than half of the population (50.9%) is living in poverty. Poverty is more than two times higher in rural areas (71.6%) than in urban areas (31.5%) and is overall lower in Monrovia than in the rest of the country. Transfers and remittances have a low impact on poverty in Liberia: for the poorest and most vulnerable households, transfers are neither widely prevalent nor high enough value to address the needs of the poor.
The fiscal deficit widened to 5.2% of GDP in FY2018 compared to 4.8% of GDP in FY17, due to a significant
The medium term economic outlook is optimistic despite substantial downside risks. These include a further slump in commodity prices, incomplete structural and institutional reforms, and risky borrowing. The new Administration is expected to mitigate these risks by embarking on policy reforms that will promote economic diversification, improve the investment climate, promote domestic revenue mobilization and to ensure prudent borrowing strategy.
Last Updated: Oct 12, 2018