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, Liberia has a population of 4.819 million (2018). 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.