What should everyone know about Liberia

Liberia

Liberia has stabilized since the end of the devastating civil war in 2003. The government authorities were established, and increasing exports and foreign investments led to an economic upswing. In 2013 economic growth was almost nine percent. In 2014 and 2015, however, the West African country was hit by a decline in world market prices for raw materials and an Ebola epidemic.

The presidential elections between late 2017 and early 2018 resulted in a peaceful change of power. Although the country has achieved political stability, living conditions remain difficult for the majority of the population, especially in rural areas. The lack of access to health services and education as well as a lack of work for young people endanger the development of the country.
Over two thirds of Liberians live below the poverty line and over a third are considered undernourished. In 2017 Liberia was ranked 181 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI). The most important export products are rubber as well as gold, iron ore and diamonds. Despite the rich mineral deposits, the population hardly benefits from the income. The raw materials industry has so far only made a limited contribution to prosperity and sustainable development.

GIZ is active in Liberia on behalf of the German government, the European Union (EU) and other international donors. The work of the federal company has the following priorities:

  • Sustainable infrastructure
  • Environment and climate
  • Social Development
  • State and democracy
  • Protection of natural resources

Infrastructure: With a total area that is around a third the size of Germany, only around 600 kilometers of the roads in Liberia are paved and large parts of the country cannot be reached during the long rainy season. In order to improve the infrastructure, a road maintenance fund was introduced with support from GIZ. In the Ministry of Construction, planning competencies and the setting of priorities in the maintenance of roads were also promoted.

Energy: In addition, the expansion of the renewable energies and energy efficiency sector is supported. Liberia has enormous potential to meet all of its energy needs from the sun, rivers and biomass. In regional projects in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea - as a result of the project activities - around 135,000 people, 1,000 institutions and 2,200 companies had access to modern energy services and technologies by the end of 2018.

Health: Since the end of the Ebola epidemic, another project has been promoting the health system to improve both basic medical care and preparation for highly infectious diseases. The main focus of support is on laboratory diagnostics, disease reporting and the care of patients with highly contagious diseases. At the same time, women should have better chances of finding jobs in the healthcare sector.

Resource governance: GIZ uses a multi-stakeholder approach to advise on improving the framework for efficient and sustainable raw material extraction. A particular focus is on strengthening state regulatory bodies such as the mining ministry and the tax authority and the environmental protection authority to enforce tax, social and ecological requirements in the mining sector. Negative environmental impacts caused by industrial and small-scale mining are also to be reduced in cooperation with the environmental protection agency. Another focus is on helping civil society to actively demand accountability from companies and the state. The basis of the advice is the raw materials strategy of the African Union (Africa Mining Vision).

Environment and biodiversity: The project promotes the cross-border networking of ecosystems and protected areas between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. In Côte d’Ivoire, it supports communication on ecological networking; in Liberia, the Forest Development Authority (FDA) is supported in drawing up the management plan for the Grebo-Krahn National Park established at the end of 2017. In both countries, it promotes cross-border cooperation, skills and efficiency as well as the exchange of experience between local and national actors and the participation of women in decision-making processes.