Liberia. In February, the state and the business
community launched a joint forum to build Liberia and create
jobs. Seven years after the end of the civil war, 85 percent
of Liberians reported missing real jobs. According to
COUNTRYAAH, the international
steel group ArcelorMittal, which hopes to do good business
on Liberia's large iron deposits, undertook to invest
approximately SEK 10 billion in, among other things, a
railway, a new port and other infrastructure.
In October, a whole package of new laws aimed at
modernizing and regulating business was adopted to give
investors greater confidence in the country and strengthen
the economy. The legislative changes had been preceded by
consultations with both the local business community and the
World Bank. The package includes the establishment of a
special court for business disputes.
That the work of building up such a fundamentally
devastated country as Liberia takes time, which proved time
and again. 100,000 people are still estimated to be homeless
since the war. Remaining major shortcomings within the
police and judiciary slow down the recovery, Human Rights
Watch reported in September, and corruption has taken a deep
root in the administration. The state has found it difficult
to convict the members of the interim government in 2003–05
accused of extensive corruption. All charges against interim
president Gyude Bryant were dropped during the year.
In June, however, the current Minister of Information was
forced to repay the equivalent of approximately SEK 1.7
million, which he incurred by taking care of the salaries of
the Ministry's many "ghost employees", ie staff who did not
exist other than on paper.
The Paris Club, an association of donors, donated $ 1.2
billion of Liberia's foreign debt, citing the country's
ambitious economic policies. However, the state budget was
delayed by several months because Parliament was crippled by
a protracted boycott. The protests concerned a review of
constituencies ahead of the 2011 general elections, when the
distribution of mandates between provinces may change.
A UN report described Liberia as a "fragile building" and
warned of the risk of unrest in the elections. In November,
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf began preparing his own
reelection campaign by dismissing the entire government
except his coordination minister. In the late autumn, she
slowly began to resume the ministerial posts.