Lessons for President Sirleaf and Cabinet: How to Build a Nation
By: Theodore Hodge
“There are books to teach you how to build a house, how to repair engines, how to write a book. But I have not seen a book on how to build a nation…” That is how Lee Kuan Yew begins his seminal work titled, “From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000”. Though the former Prime Minister of Singapore, the father of his nation, states the contrarian view, his seminal book turns out to be such a book: How to Build a Country
President Sirleaf’s Annual Address to the Nation Revisited
By: Theodore T. Hodge
After reading President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s annual address to the nation, I issued a scathing critique. I painstakingly pointed out the falsities of her claims, mainly on the subjects of Health and Education, two subjects to which she claims her administration attaches great priority. I challenged her on the grounds that she deliberately painted a rosy picture, giving the impression that conditions in the country are not that bad off under her able leadership.
A Marriage Between Promise and Pretense: Cabinet Retreat without Action Is Worthless
By Martin K. N. Kollie
Retreat for cabinet members and heads of public agencies is a regular phenomenon in almost many countries. During this time, key stakeholders within the Executive Branch of government meet to review government’s overall performance with specific focus on sectorial successes and challenges. In addition, forecasting of achievable development targets and operational goals is done. Unfortunately in Liberia, our cabinet ministers and heads of agencies are best known for setting undoable targets and projecting unrealistic plans. This false impression is taking us nowhere
Elected Officials Taking Bribes in the form of "Signing Bonuses"?
U.S. $1.2M Bribery Fees: World Bank & Global Witness Are Silent!
By J. Yanqui Zaza
The hottest news in Liberia, after the Ebola crisis and the recent senatorial elections, is, once again, corruption. This time, lower-paid employees such as police officers are not involved. Rather, they are well-paid Liberian lawmakers who sought additional payment that is beyond the legal form of bribery (i.e., consultancy fees paid to elected officials to increase investors’ profits).
Oil Company: Spent US $138m In 2012/13; No Report In 2013/14
By J. Yanqui Zaza
Liberia’s annual budgetary document, like any other budget, should fulfill at least the civil obligation in providing transparent, verifiable information to the public. This practice, used partly to gain public confidence, has been around for centuries. In fact it was the desire for transparency and accountability that gave birth to the idea of capitalism in 1602, according to Jacob Soll, a professor of history and accounting at the University of Southern California.
Amara Konneh must put up or shut up!
By John H. T. Stewart, Jr.
Very recently, Finance Ministry officials were involved in what from the outside would have appeared as a war of words between the Minister of Finance and two members of the House of Representatives who had openly called for the resignation of Finance Minister, Amara Konneh for repeated budgetary shortfalls resulting from poor financial forecasting.
President Sirleaf (R) and Governor Jones
Liberia’s Excess Cash Reserves Of $262 M: Cash Cow For Governor J. Mill Jones And President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
By: J. Yanqui Zaza
The Central Bank of Liberia has had two controversial issues since the 1999 law repealing the Act of the National Bank, and the Act creating the Central Bank of Liberia. The first revelation was about the excessive Board of Director fees, for example, $56,000 paid to Cllr Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh in 2002. The second is the current debate about the disbursement of loans to small-sized businesses, allegedly disbursed by the Chief Executive Governor, Dr. J. Mill Jones to prepare himself for the 2017 presidential election.
Liberia’s staggering macro-economic woes: tackle supply-side constraints
By Musa Dukuly (PhD)
Economic activities remarkably expanded in Liberia, averaging 7-8 percent growth rate over the last 5 years, but inherent supply-side risks are eroding the gains. Existing economic indicators of spiraling inflation, depreciating exchange rate and diverse fiscal constraints are imminent economic challenges requiring wide range of policy debates and discussions to elicit pragmatic solutions. Sustaining the growth calls for pragmatic policy actions from all strategic fronts to help mitigate ‘economic waste’ and redirect resources to productive sectors
Nigeria and Liberia’s Central Banks Thread Separate Paths on Micro-Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) Financing
By: Wonderr K. Freeman
The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL, herein after) and its Governor, Dr. Mills Jones, have been under pressure lately. Its microfinance and SME policy has come under heavy suspicion by the Liberia Senate and other Liberian technocrats. It’s not farfetched to say that most of the senators don’t quite understand that boring subject called economics – the bankers’ “bread and butter”. But senators surely do understand politics when they see it. And as far as they can see, the CBL’s Credit-to-Consumers-Direct MSME policy looks like politics, feels like politics and smells like politics – hence the senatorial inquest.
Illicit Financial Flows from Africa: A Wake up call for Major Stakeholders
By: C.Gyude Bedell
In 2012, African Ministers of Finance and Development Planning endorsed the establishment of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. Chaired by Thabo Mbeki with the aim of conducting wide range of consultation among major stakeholders, the panel is expected to design practical recommendations in order to mitigate the alarming rate of illicit flows.
Corruption & Bad Governance: Evolution and Typology since 2006
A Socio-criminological Analysis
By: James Thomas-Queh
No doubt, we all seem to have an idea of the problem – it is corruption, corruption and corruption. Unfortunately for this government and Liberia, this is the generalized perception that has been firmly installed since the alert was first given, long ago, by one of the government’s most famous watchdog agencies then, the General Auditing Commission, GAC. And eight years on, Cllr. Harry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman, Chairman of the ruling Unity Party, in his excellent July 26, 2013 oration or rather a manifesto to salvage the party and probably our democracy, served this vexing reminder to the attention of the Standard Bearer:
Governor Mills Jones Destroying Liberian Economy: IMF Raises Concern on Depleting Reserve
The Five Factors Causing High Inflation in Liberia
By: John S. Morlu, II
The current Minister of Finance of Liberia said he has a solution to the budget busting inflation problem facing Liberia. After the Minister of Finance's press conference on the rising inflation, on 18 September 2013, the New Republic reported that "(the Minister) used the occasion to disclose that in subsequent time the ministry will encourage tax payers to pay more of their taxes in LD, which according to him will be publish with detail later." First, Section 6 of Revenue Code 2000 (amended 2009) states that "tax may be assessed either in Liberian dollars or US dollars and may be paid in Liberian dollars or US dollars." Is the Minister saying Liberians are demanding more U.S. dollars just to pay taxes, when they law clearly says they can pay in Liberian dollars?
The Need For Class Action Against The Government Of Liberia, Companies & The World Bank,
By CLLR. Frederick A. B. Jayweh
The confession of Robert A. Sirleaf as to the role played by The World Bank in writing the Concessionary Oil Agreement (Block 13) in Liberia is quite interesting. The revelation and public confession of Robert A. Sirleaf appears to bring to light and to public attention the roles that multi-National Concessions have played and are playing to promote and protect their business and primary interests in poor nations, while assisting corrupt leaders in Africa including Liberia to drill the hole of poverty, disease, ...
World Bank Made $3.00 Billion Dollars In Profits In 3 Years, While African Countries (Its Clients) Got Poorer
By J. Yanqui Zaza
Harsh conditions in many African countries, many of which have been chronicled in news media and public reports, are not different from the narratives of the 10/16/2013 NY Times article called “Poverty And Stigma Give An Edge To Disease.” In this article, as well as in previous ones, the writer narrated the issues of corruption, incompetence and limited resources as the root causes of Africa’s plagues, including high infant mortality rate, poor education, etc. Also, the writers have and continue to discuss the generous efforts made by individuals, groups and, or international organizations such as the World Bank, but, nonetheless, conditions continue to deteriorate year after year.
We Speak Through The Constitution
We Speak Through The Constitution
By D. Garkpe Gedepoh
I pity those narrow-minded beneficiaries of President Sirleaf’s corrupt administration and those blind loyalists who lack the knowledge to understand the simple words that are written in the Liberian constitution, but instead rain accusations and ambiguously misinterpret patriotism as “irresponsible”. They say they won’t support the resignation of the president even though she has failed to properly govern the Liberian people and grossly violated the constitution, the supreme law of the land.
President Sirleaf/World Bank: Can Big Business Reduce Unemployment And Make Big Profits?
By J. Yanqui Zaza
Unemployment, the second man-made cancer to corruption, has many ways of showing its ugly effects. For example, in Zorzor, Lofa County, Liberia, it did not only prevent breadwinners from putting food on the table, but it also forces recipients of Western Union controlled number and government checks holders to travel far away to get cash, according to participants at a Committee Meeting. At that Zorzor District Meeting held in Liberia in January, 2013, during my visit, participants stated that a branch of Ecobank, one of the established banks in Lofa County, has closed its doors, due largely to the unemployed residents' inability to purchase goods and services
President Sirleaf/World Bank: Can We Fight Corruption, While Big Business Greases The Wheels Of Business?
By J. Yanqui Zaza
Corruption, as a vice President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf calls Liberia’s number one enemy, is back in the news. It was rampant before her presidency, but now, Liberia has become one of the most corrupt countries in the world. This notorious status came after we killed three Presidents (E. J. Roy on 2/11/1872; W.R. Tolbert on 4/12/1980 and S.K. Doe on 9/09/1990), sent the fourth (Charles Taylor) to the Hague, and prosecuted the fifth (Gudye Bryant), all in the name of fighting corruption.
President Sirleaf And World Bank/IMF: Debate Employment Policy; Don't Fuss Over The Rate Of Unemployment
By J. Yanqui Zaza
For over seven years Liberians, including President Sirleaf's advisers have discussed the rate of unemployment. Government says the rate of unemployment is 3.7%, indicating that the country's security is good. Critics say the rate of unemployment is 80%, implying that the country is sitting on a time bomb.
The WTO Farce and the IFM Conspiracy
By J. Yanqui Zaza
Thanks to Fasukoi for the interesting comment made by him about the relationship between local facilitators (elected officials) and the real criminal enterprise (big business/IMF). The statement as to why IMF would loan millions of dollars to President Sirleaf who has not accounted for billions of dollars donated to Liberia could be viewed as protecting an interest. I surmise the statement is based on his experience that any regular bank or lending institution would review the past activity of a loan applicant to determine the applicant's eligibility. However, the IMF is not a regular bank. It has other interest such as creating an economic and political environment for big business to make huge profit.
President Sirleaf And IMF: Rosy Economic Prediction Begets More Debt, But No Development
By J. Yanqui Zaza
The adage that says "Bad Habits Die H" is alive in Liberia. Fardor instance, corruption, for which Liberians fought a civil war to reduce, is not just back, but is rampant. Another bad habit, the practice of government officials to make rosy prediction, is also on the rise. Yes, rosy predictions, that usually gives rise to false hope, is once again encouraging public officials to borrow more money.
Liberia systematically breaking its own laws in oil, mineral, forest and land deals worth billions of dollars, new audit reveals
Global Witness welcomes a new audit recommending that the Liberian government take immediate action to address systematic gaps in compliance with laws on how its natural resources are allocated. The report, commissioned by LEITI, Liberia’s groundbreaking transparency initiative, revealed that laws had been broken in virtually every natural resource deal since 2009.
Exclusive: Resource deals audit overshadows Liberia anti-graft push - DAKAR (Reuters) - Almost all the $8 billion worth of resource contracts signed by Liberia since 2009 have violated its laws, according to a draft audit report commissioned by the government, casting doubt on anti-graft and good governance efforts under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has said the billions of dollars in foreign investment she has drawn since becoming Africa's first freely-elected female president in 2006 should help ordinary Liberians to climb out of poverty. In a continent often blighted by corruption and mismanagement, the Liberian government has promised greater openness in its dealings with foreign investors. The country's transparency watchdog LEITI - which is co-chaired by the Finance Ministry - itself commissioned the audit of deals involving oil, mining, agriculture and forestry in the West African country.
Services Stifle Economic Prosperity
(J. Yanqui Zaza)
Rumors emanating from Liberia indicate that certain parties are attempting
to revive Charles Taylor’s privatization plan. This idea to turn
over the control of utility companies, for example electricity, from government
to private owners might create more problems than it solves.
The IMF Advises
Liberia against Quick Fixed Solution to Liberia’s Economic Problems
(By Winsley S. Nanka)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised the interim government
of Charles Gyude Bryant that it is not in the interest of Liberia at this
time for the government to implement a quick fixed solution to Liberia’s
economic problems by adopting a full dollarization of the Liberian economy.
Dollarization is the process by which residents of a country “extensively
use the U.S. dollar alongside or instead of the domestic currency or as
the predominant or exclusive currency”.
Social Security Program: Is It Solvent?
(By J. Yanqui Zaza)
The debate concerning the solvency of the U.S. Social Security Program
raises a concern about the Liberian Social Security System. The concern
is beyond allegations such, as whether the government hasn't pay benefits
to retirees and that whether it is using the worker’s payroll deductions
as petty cash. Our country, since 1847, hasn’t invested in its skilled
workforce and infrastructure, incentives that entice good-paying corporations
in investing in a country.
AND AFL: A Rebirth For Better or For Worse?
(By James Thomas-Queh)
Firestone and the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) - are two entities that
have marked the social, economic and political history of Liberia, and
also the Liberian -US relationship. Therefore their very synchronised
and publicised reactivation is not a coincidence. What is more, it is
our generation that brought both entities to the political spotlight from
the 1970s. And like today, both entities were established at the beginning
of the 20th century when Liberia was on her knees; though, they also perished
with her at the end of the same century.
(Abdoulaye W. Dukulé)
The African Union (AU) held its annual Summit in Abuja and celebrated
its fourth anniversary on the last weekend of January 2005 and looked
at some crucial issues. The war in Sudan that had been termed “a
genocide” by much of the world, including Former US Secretary of
State Colin Powell before the Arab solidarity reduced it to a “humanitarian
crisis” has become a contentious matter that divided the Union in
two groups: the Arab countries sided with the government of Sudan while
the Sub-Saharan nations shyly agreed to a formula “calling on the
international community to send troops …
Bryant’s Interim Government Spent US 8.6 Million Dollars Without
(By Winsley S. Nanka)
The Gyude Bryant-led Transitional Interim Government of Liberia spent US 8.6 million dollars between February and June 2004 without budgetary approval by the Transitional National Assembly of Liberia. In addition, the amount spent was not allocated in the government of Liberia’s
budget for the fiscal period. According to the report
released by the United Nations Panel of Experts on
Liberia dated December 6, 2004, the Ministry of Finance
allowed excess expenditures of [US] 8.6 million
dollars without supplementary budget prepared nor
any approval by the Transitional National Assembly
1.5 Million Dollars Foreign Exchange Reserve Missing at the Central Bank of Liberia
(By Winsley S. Nanka)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) declared that in 2003 the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) failed to account for a $1.5 million decline in the foreign exchange reserve of Liberia. The foreign exchange reserve declined in 2003 from $1.8 million to $300,000. The central bank’s authorities told the IMF during its recent visit to Liberia that there was “no foreign exchange reserve transactions by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) in 2003.”
Whatever Happened to the Watchdogs of Government
(By Ezekiel Pajibo)
Two recent announcements have got me thinking about the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the current Liberia transitional process and the re-creation of the new Liberian state. (In this piece, NGO is in reference to local Liberian non-governmental organizations.) The first has to do with the November 30, 2003 announcement by the Ministry of Finance of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation that is visiting Liberia from December 1-14, 2003. Among the list of names, i.e. stakeholders that the delegation is to meet, not one Liberian NGO was mentioned. I have yet to hear any protest from the Liberian NGO sector on this totally unacceptable practice
LUBI Bank and Central Bank of Liberia: Will it be Business as Usual?
After 150 years, can a political system built on patronage and nepotism avoid these practices? Promising to do away with these practices is one thing, and doing it is another. Every government since the founding of Liberia has promised to eradicate corruption but the story is always the same - more corruption. When will this end - patronage and nepotism? To fight corruption requires the will and commitment to change things. Since Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant came to power, he too has promised to fight corruption and monopolies in Liberia.
War Against Corruption: A Big Job for the General Accounting Office (GAO)
Are we experiencing too much theft? Yes. So let's get a guard dog - a General Accounting Office (GAO). We don't mean the "gbagbati" one in place now that comprises state auditors that steal. These guys put on expensive suits and hold shinning attaché cases. They roam the dusty roads, from cities to towns to even villages. Instead of reports, their shinning attaché cases are filled with raw cash by the time they return to Monrovia. That's when the party begins. They hit Dualla and New Kru Town, and take over the bars. They take off the coats, loosen the ties, flaunt money, chatter the bars
Willie Belleh Must Resign from Interim Government
The recent revelation by The Perspective magazine that Willie Belleh, Director of the Cabinet and the Chief of Staff to Liberian Interim Leader Charles Gyude Bryant, and the other officers at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) lucratively rewarded themselves in the midst of the abject poverty in Liberia is appalling and unconscionable.
All the President's Men: A Case of Massive Corruption?
Elie E. Saleeby, Governor of CBL and Chairman of CBL Board
Liberia is considered one of the world's poorest countries - many say the world's outright poorest - where under the dictatorship of Charles Taylor, government employees such as police officers, soldiers, teachers and clerks have not been paid for well over a year. It is difficult to comprehend, but we are told that the average salary is less than $25.00 (twenty five dollars) per month - not enough for a bag of rice, the nation's staple. Conditions have been so devastating that the average family cannot afford to fully feed itself. For many, sending their kids to school is a luxury they cannot afford.
Opposition leaders in Taylor’s Ring of Corruption?
, along with Chairman Gyude Bryant, UN Special representative in Liberia Jacques Klein and other publications received some documents that throw light on how the meager resources of the nation were distributed among a few people. Readers would read for example that the Chairman of the Central Bank of Liberia took home some US$13,000.00 (Thirteen Thousand US dollars a month).
Corruption at the Central Bank of Liberia
As Liberians, it is incumbent on all of us to assist you in achieving the goals associated with your job responsibilities. In this light, we solicit your attention to a few problems that need immediate consideration. The resolution of these issues will ensure that such practices are abolished immediately, never repeated, and yield good governance.
Secretive Deloitte Audit in Liberia Raises Allegations of Irresponsible Corporate Behaviour and Conflict of Interest (Global Witness)
A secretive agreement signed between the government of Liberia and the auditing firm Deloitte & Touche (i) is drawing criticism from Global Witness and other international organisations. Global Witness, the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), and the UN Panel of Experts on Liberia are critical of the murky nature of the new agreement, whose draft terms of reference state that all information, including notes and final assessments, are the sole property of the government of Liberia and cannot be shared without direct approval (ii). Such behaviour raises concerns that this is an attempt by the government of Liberia to use the reputation of Deloitte and Touche as a cover for continued illicit activities
Liberia: The World's Worst Country in 2003
The annual world survey by the London based Economist Magazine, The World in 2003 has predicted that Liberia would be "the world's worst place to live in 2003". According to the Economist's Intelligence Unit survey, even "by African standards", Liberia is "set to get worse".
Local Authorities Against Privatisation Of Essential Services in Africa
African Local authorities officials attending a one day meeting in Paris have warned against the privatisation of essential services such as water, electricity, transport and other social amenities saying the move risked compounding poverty levels that African governments were struggling to reduce.
Gripped by Fear and Opportunism
The Liberian economic crisis is being compounded by a synergy of fear and opportunism. The general climate of fear in the country, nurtured by constant acts of political repression and rebel warlordism, has provided a platform and pretext for economic opportunism. Agents of profiteering designs have found in this climate a much needed alibi to subject the economy and people to instant exchange rate fluctuations and price extortions.
Liberia in a Vicious Political Industrial System
Liberians are being sacrificed in a kind of political industrial system in which their lives are viewed by political-ego chasers as mere raw materials consumable in the process of manufacturing and safeguarding state power. Just as in a typical economic industrial manufacturing process, where certain goods are used up as intermediate inputs to produce others, in the Liberian political manufacturing system the lives and wellbeing of human beings are treated as intermediate, disposable raw materials.
]The Free Trade Hypocrisy
In pursuance of global economic liberalization governments of the developed capitalist countries and the major international economic institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), have been pressuring developing countries to desist from economic intervention and allow global markets to determine their national policies.
The Poor Credit
Performance of Commercial Banks
A country's financial system, including its banking institutions,
is the oil that greases the engines of its economic growth. Banks
provide the vital function of mobilizing savings from those who
have it and allocating such savings to those who wish to borrow
to invest in economic development. When these two cardinal functions
are not effectively provided by a country's banking institutions,
then its economic performance is seriously hampered. Since suffering
the destruction of civil war, Liberia's commercial banks have
not been fully revitalized to a point where they can adequately
perform these tasks.
The AGOA: Another Dictated
The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), initiated by the
Clinton Administration and enacted into law last year by the
U.S. Congress, will soon have its first major institutional establishment
when foreign, trade, and finance ministers from 35 African countries
convene in Washington D.C. in October to launch a US/Sub-Saharan
African Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (AllAfrica.com,
The Human and Economic
Plight of a Nation
Liberia continues to endure vast human and economic destruction
under a Taylor factor forced upon it eleven years ago in the
form of a false revolution that promised national progress but
now delivers untold suffering and anarchy. The fact is that the
Taylor regime has long recognized its own inutility to the Liberian
nation, and yet, like previous regimes, it remains recalcitrant
in refusing to abandon its grip on state power.
How Effective is Our Monetary
Policy under Taylor?
More than a decade now, especially since Charles Taylor became
president three years ago, Liberia has been without a direct
monetary policy. Why is the Liberian economy still denied the
most potent macroeconomic policy option available to it? Can
there ever be an effective monetary policy under this regime?
Globalization and the Future
of Liberian Economic Policy
Two sets of forces have combined in the last decade to challenge
the Liberian society and economy. One of these forces was the
outbreak of civil war in the early 1990s, resulting in national
political chaos that culminated ironically in the enthronement
of the major warlord (the repercussions of which Liberians are
still suffering). The other set of forces that have concurrently
challenged Liberia is the increasing global dominance of the
liberal economic policy vision which reemerged in the early 1970s
after nearly twenty-five years of relatively strong state economic
intervention (1950-1973), and has since gained growing momentum
under the thesis of globalization.
Liberia Excluded from Canadian
Government Debt Relief
The Canadian federal government, through Finance Minister Paul
Martin, announced a moratorium on debt payments from all heavily
indebted poor countries (HIPCs) owing Canada. The minister was
delivering on an initiative he launched during meetings of the
World Bank and IMF in Prague last September, at which he publicly
requested that all creditor governments suspend debt interest
payments from poor countries.
The Arguments of "The Rice
Import Liberalization Agenda in Liberia"
The need for economic research and analysis as prerequisite for
policy decisions is an elementary and obvious fact, which we
should waste no time to debate. And yet, some people have superfluously
stressed this need for policy research, as if others were not
aware of it.
Debate on Self-sufficiency in Rice Production
As Geepu Tiepoh notes, I am an advocate of free trade and make
no apologies for that. I do not believe that free trade is a
panacea for all economic problems. Nor do I think that free trade
is without its difficulties.
and Political Chaos: Future of Liberia's Economic Policy
Liberians should be mindful of two important forces that now
affect both their present economic reality and the future of
their economic development policies. Huge external debt overhang
and increasing domestic political paralysis have now combined
to not only prevent current development opportunities but also
endanger the domestic autonomy and direction of economic policy
in Liberia. In the present context of global economic adjustment,
excessive external debt always entails the danger of the imposition
of international policy prescriptions that often overlook critical
domestic economic, social, and human development concerns.
Blinded by Free Trade and Comparative
In his reaction to my recent article, "The Rice Import Liberalization
Agenda in Liberia: Some Critical Policy Issues", Harry Greaves,
Jr. has clearly evaded the crucial arguments of the article and
focused instead on preaching rhetoric about comparative advantage,
free trade and globalization. In asking the question, "What's
the Case for Self-Sufficiency in Rice Production?", Greaves
asserted that the article was based on "the false premise"
that Liberia should be self-sufficient in rice production.
Case for Self-Sufficiency in Rice Production?
The whole basis of Geepu Nah Tiepoh's article in the April/June
2000 issue of The Perspective rests on the false premise that
a desirable policy goal should be self-sufficiency in rice production
for Liberia. In this, as in countless other renditions I have
read and heard, there is a lot of emotion-laden cant, hype and
theology about the need for Liberia to be self-sufficient in
rice, but nary a reasoned argument based in quantitative analysis
to support this position.
The Rice Import
Liberalization Agenda in Liberia: Some Critical Policy Issues
In the January/March 1998 issue of this magazine, we had predicted
that under the current rule of global capital, where a country's
access to international finance is largely determined by its
having "sound" macroeconomic and structural balances,
post-war Liberia would have to adhere to the demands of global
capital by instituting "appropriate" macroeconomic
and structural adjustment. Well, our prognosis has come true.
In fact, just as we were making this prediction, the government
of Liberia was embarking upon an International Monetary Fund
(IMF) staff-monitored program (SMP) of economic and financial
policies designed to enforce discipline and reforms in the economy.
Debt and Adjustment
under the New Globalization Consensus: Can Africa Still Resist?
Recently, various activist groups backed by hundreds of supporters
converged on Washington D.C. to protest against the policies
of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
The groups accused the two Bretton Woods financial institutions
and the World Trade Organization (WTO) of pursuing policies that
promote global economic injustice predicated on enriching wealthy
nations, placing corporate profitability over social and environmental
concerns, and increasing poverty in developing countries.
Capital and Development
in Liberia: Some Critical Issues
Behind the cloud over the issue of lack of development in Liberia,
different attitudes emerge towards the role of international
capital in domestic development. There are those who, unaware
of the current dynamics of international capital, and in their
honest desire to identify the appropriate forces for national
development, are quick to point to the importance of global finance
and investment capital in the development process.
Pitfalls Of The Liberian
Economy: What Is Liberia's Choice of Economic Management?
- Like other badly run third world economies, the Liberian economic
problems are traced to a set of interrelated problems that are
amazingly taught in every day business school; in this case,
diversify the economy to avert potential stagnation arising from
over-reliance on one or too few primary export products...
A Frame Work For Change And Renewal
We are but six months away from that which will mark the twenty-year
period of the tumultuous events of April 1980 when our nation
had the first real opportunity for change. The constraints imposed
by one hundred, fifty years of power and privilege monopolization
were broken, providing the basis for a fundamental altering of
the framework of economic, political and social systems that
had been shaped over those many years of settler domination.
Taylor, U.S. Dollar
And Public Ignorance
A little over two years ago, Charles Taylor was campaigning for
the presidency in Liberia and making promises of all sorts and
to lend credibility to his many promises, he procured rice from
the Republic of Taiwan and distributed it amongst his constituency.
Confounding even his critics, Taylor made himself over in a crowded
field of presidential wannabes and projected an image as the
one person who had a sustained connection to the ordinary household
in Liberia. Outhustling, out-maneuvering and double crossing
even some of his fiercest opponents, Taylor managed to do the
imponderable, bringing most Liberians into his cheering line
and virtually assured himself as a drop of goodness in a sea
Through Power Protection Or Human and Socioeconomic Development:
Which Way Liberia?
It becomes increasingly clear that the Taylor administration,
like other Liberian governments of the past, has chosen a Machiavellian-type
view and approach to national security over one based on democratization,
human protection, and socioeconomic needs satisfaction. The prevailing
tendency has been towards protecting and entrenching state power
structures through instrumentalist means as opposed to promoting
broader and longer-term national security goals through popular
and legitimate provision of human and socioeconomic welfare.
This turn of events is quite unfortunate because Liberian history
is replete with lessons pointing to the disastrous consequences
of putting state security interests above basic human and socioeconomic
security. It is true that the Liberian state requires security
The Hubbub Over Foreign
Aid: Facing The Sobering Reality
Recent pronouncements by officials of the Liberian government,
including President Taylor, indicate that the government is disappointed
with the current level of foreign aid to Liberia. Two months
after submitting the government's National Reconstruction Program
to an international donor conference in Paris last April, Liberia's
Finance Minister chastised the African Development Bank (ADB),
at its recent Annual Conference, for not being "responsive
to Africa's needs", noting specifically that the Bank has
failed to come to Liberia's aid (The Inquirer, Vol. 7, No. 95).
Upon returning home from a trip to Nigeria and Burkina Faso early
July, President Taylor too accused the international community
of turning its back on Liberia, saying all that the country is
getting from non-African nations is promises (Liberian Daily
News Bulletin, Star Radio, July 6).
Debt And Adjustment
In The Liberian Economy: Some Policy Implications
As Liberia emerges from the ravages of war, her
economy wobbles under debt and monetary crises which threaten
the country with further economic uncertainty and poverty. The
threat comes not only from the direct impact of the crises but
also from the policy options that are available for resolving
them. In an increasingly competitive world capital market, where
a country's access to foreign capital is largely determined by
its ability to maintain 'appropriate' macroeconomic and structural
balances, it is certain that Liberia, which has recently emerged
out of war with no significant domestic capital sources, and
whose debt and monetary conditions are debased, will have to
adhere to the demands of global capital by instituting some macroeconomic
and structural adjustment.
The Liberian Economy:
The Path From Loot To Develop (Part I)
A careful analysis of the nature of military conflicts
occurring in most African countries points to a disturbing irony:
Whereas these conflicts are often waged over the control and
distribution of the available economic and power resources, the
national economies that nurture these resources are often destroyed
during the conflicts; they are looted of their very life-sustaining
fibres, and denied much needed development opportunities during
The Liberian Economy:
The Path From Loot To Develop (Part II)
In the previous issue, I offered a descriptive analysis of the
dismal state of the Liberian economy, as caused by corrupt management
policies in the 1980s and compounded by a civil conflict in which
"warlords" plundered the natural resources of the land.
In this sequel, I will provide a brief perspective on some possible
strategies for post-war economic recovery and development in
Liberia. Given the space constraint, the analysis will be devoid
of detailed specifications but will provide a broad view on the
debate about Liberia's economic future. In separate issues, I
hope to discuss the themes mentioned here in greater depth.