Slow but steady improvement

Liberia is celebrating 10 years of political stability with two democratic elections since the end of the war in 2003.

Monrovia, Liberia

  • Liberians are a proud people and generally optimistic about the future, despite being frustrated by a lack of jobs, an education system in tatters, the high cost of energy, and corruption. Many initiatives are in place to tackle these problems, including school-building projects and teacher training partnerships with, for example, USAID, and a $200 million rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydro Electric power plant.
  • Real GDP growth reached 8.9% in 2012, an estimated 7.7% in 2013 and is expected to come in around 5.4% this year, according to African Economic Outlook. Export of natural resources together with foreign direct investment drive the economy, making it vulnerable to price shocks and mismanagement.
  • Two prominent composite indexes help illustrate where Liberia is now relative to the rest of the world, but also how far it has come.
  • On the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which measures a country’s development by combining life expectancy, education and income, Liberia ranks near the bottom, 174 out of 185. However, it has improved two percent per year since 2000, according to the 2013 index, one of only 14 countries to do so.
  • The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, measures countries on 10 economic freedoms from property rights to entrepreneurship. Liberia ranks 138 out of 165 countries on this year’s list, one place behind China. However, since 2009 Liberia has improved in seven out of 10 freedoms, with the biggest improvements coming in business, trade and investment freedom and freedom from corruption.