Signing ceremony of the national indicative program for EU development cooperation with Liberia for the period 2014-2020 by Amara Konneh (left), Liberian minister for finance and development planning, and Neven Mimica (right), European commissioner for international cooperation and development in the presence of Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Photo by: European Union
Liberia remains one of the most fragile states in West Africa even a decade after its civil war came to a close. While it has successfully established a working government, several issues need to be addressed to stabilize the situation there. The European Union notes that with additional reforms in public finance management, continued efforts in democratization and reconciliation, sustainable management of natural resources and good economic opportunities, conditions in the country could greatly improve over the next couple of decades. However, the extreme opposite is just as plausible should progress fail to be inclusive.
Last year’s Ebola crisis was a major setback to the country’s development. World Bank data shows a drop in projected real gross domestic product growth rates for 2014 as a direct result of the outbreak — from an initial 5.8 percent to just 2.5 percent. The World Health Organization has declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, but the country continues to suffer its lingering effects across a broad range of socio-economic areas. The challenge now lies in rebuilding the country’s economy and strengthening key public institutions and social service systems.
The government’s second poverty reduction strategy, called the Agenda for Transformation, aims to create wealth and increase inclusiveness throughout the Liberian population. Its priorities include solidifying peace, security and the rule of law; bolstering infrastructure and economic growth; fostering human development; and strengthening governance and public institutions. The European Union has aligned its latest national indicative program for Liberia with the government’s poverty reduction strategy in its bid to support national efforts toward building a more stable and inclusive Liberia, while also tempering the effects of the Ebola outbreak.